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2015 Year-End Report

Now that the 2015 gardening season is coming to an end, I would like to take this
opportunity to thank you for your financial support and to send you a year-end report so you
can see what your donation helped us accomplish.
2015 was a very productive year. We expanded the gardens by 1/2 acre, had a record
harvest and we passed the 70,000 pound mark for the first time. Two graphs are provided
below. The first graph shows our harvest totals from 2010 - 2015. The second compares our
major crops from 2012 -2015. Thanks to a long growing season, a good fruit crop and many
generous property owners who donated land and allowed us to glean fruit from their
orchards, this year's harvest was 70,034 pounds...and the season is not over yet. We still
have several hundred pounds of broccoli and cauliflower to harvest between now and

What went well

1. Long growing season: Our first hard frost did not occur until the 1st week of
November. That is approximately two weeks longer than usual.
2. Increase in volunteer hours: Besides Seed2Need volunteers (Sandoval County
Master Gardeners and the general public), we hosted nine Eagle scout projects - three to
plant the gardens, five to glean fruit and one to clean up the gardens at the end of
season. In addition, we received help from several Corporate volunteer groups such as
Heads Up Landscaping and CarMax, three large church groups, boy and girl scout troops,
and students from Bosque School and Albuquerque Academy. We sincerely appreciated
the help.
3. Squash bug Control: In 2014, we planted squash and cucumbers twice and every
seedling was killed by squash bugs before it was 1" tall. In years past, we have tried
several ways to control squash bugs - companion planting, trap crops, diatomaceous

earth, pesticide - but nothing has worked. This year, instead of trying to control the
squash bugs, we focused on preventing them from reaching the plants. We covered all
of the squash and cucumbers with row cover and did not remove it until the plants were
full grown. Of course, squash bugs eventually moved in and killed the plants but not
before we harvested over 14,000 pounds of squash and cucumbers.
In 2016, we plan to take this one step further. In July, we will plant squash and
cucumbers in a second garden on a different piece of property and cover the plants with
row cover. By the time squash bugs kill the plants in garden #1, the second garden
should be ready to harvest.
4. Herbicide damage. In 2014, we spread manure on one garden and the plant growth in
that garden showed signs of herbicide damage. We sent plant samples to NMSU and
they confirmed our suspicions. Further research pointed to herbicide damage caused by
using manure from animals that ate hay harvested off of a pasture treated with a broad
leaf herbicide such as picloram, clopyralid and aminopyralid. For more information see
An article published by Clemson University reported that spreading activated charcoal on
a contaminated field would deactivate the herbicide so this spring we spread activated
charcoal on this garden and it seemed to work. We had very few plants that showed
signs of herbicide damage. The ones that did were on the outside edges of the garden
so it is likely that we simply missed a few spots.
What did not go well / New learning opportunities
1. Tomato Size/Harvest. Despite having a longer growing season and a record overall
harvest, the 2015 tomato crop was disappointing. Our total tomato harvest was
approximately 30% less than in 2013 and 2014, the tomatoes were smaller and there
were fewer tomatoes on the vines. At this point, the cause is unknown. Potential
causes and solutions will be researched this winter...a new learning opportunity.
Preparations for 2016
For Seed2Need volunteers, this project has become a year-round endeavor. We have a
young Eagle scout candidate and his team of volunteers coming November 14 to clean up
the gardens and put equipment away for the winter. We start ordering seed and gardening
supplies in January, prune fruit trees in February and start the tomato and chile seed at the
end of March. In April, we till, reinstall the irrigation system, transplant seedlings and lay
plastic mulch. In May we plant and the cycle starts all over again.
One of our volunteers, a retired teacher, compared May to going back to school in the
becomes a time to catch up with old friends. That is what I love about this project. It
sprouts lasting friendships as well as vegetables.
Thanks again for supporting Seed2Need and for helping us provide fresh fruits and
vegetables to the families in our community facing food insecurity. Your participation and
support is greatly appreciated.

We will be looking forward to another record

breaking garden season in 2016.
Best wishes for a joyful holiday season,
The Board of Directors and the volunteers of