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Features

Tris DeRoma/Monitor
NMSU’s Agricultural Extension Office is really big on a concept called “Xeriscaping.” “Xeros” is Greek for dry. Designing a garden around the xeriscape method can cut water bills in half, if not more.

Green thumbs moving to Los Alamos often get a shock. Not only is the soil difficult to work with, but the water situation is a little tough, too.
One can go all winter without a drop and a very expensive water bill, and then suddenly wake up to a deluge when the spring arrives. It can destroy all the hard work of nursing that flower or vegetable garden through yet another tough year. With the lowest annual precipitation count of six inches and a high of 30(!) inches, New Mexico is indeed a land of contrasts.
So.. what to do? The New Mexico State University Los Alamos County Cooperative Extension Office suggests the key to lessening water bills and frustrations is to just go with the flow. Instead of planting Touch Me Nots, Black-Eyed Susans and Spiderworts, try for something a little closer to home, plants native to New Mexico that are just as pretty and can thrive on little to no water.
For vegetable gardening, a little research into how the Native Americans thrived up here on the Pajarito Plateau can go a long way. They did it on just a little water and very little work. The Three Sisters technique has been used by the pueblo indians for centuries. They discovered that planting beans, squash and corn together results in a garden that’s virtually maintenance free, even in the driest and toughest of conditions.

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