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2014 Year-End Report

Now that the gardening season has come to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to
thank everyone who made 2014 a productive year and to provide you with a year-end
Two graphs are provided below. The first graph compares our harvests from 2010 - 2014.
The second compares our major crops from 2012 -2014. Thanks to a long growing season, a
heavy apple crop and many generous property owners who allowed us to glean fruit from
their orchards, this year's harvest was 63,768 pounds bringing the total pounds donated

over the past five years to almost 1/4 million pounds.

What went well

1. Harvest: 2014 was our second largest harvest, surpassed only by 2012. This year, we
had a record harvest of tomatoes (29,837 pounds), green chile (5,601 pounds) and fruit
gleaned from local orchards (25,899 pounds).
2. Increase in Volunteer Hours: We had higher volunteer turnout this year. Volunteers
contributed over 4000 hours planting, maintaining and harvesting the gardens and
gleaning fruit from local orchards. Besides Seed2Need volunteers (Sandoval County
Master Gardeners and the general public), we hosted six Eagle scout projects - three to
plant the gardens, one to glean fruit and two to clean up the gardens at the end of
season. In addition, we received help from several Corporate volunteer groups such as
Jiffy Lube, Smith's grocery stores, Heads Up Landscaping and CarMax, from church
groups, boy and girl scout troops, Los Ranchos 4-H and students from Bosque School,
Albuquerque Academy, UNM Sustainable Studies and Kappa Omicron Nu, a nutrition and
family studies honor society at the University of New Mexico We sincerely appreciate all
of the volunteer hours worked to provide fresh produce to less fortunate families in our


Control of Root Knot Nematodes: In 2013, root knot nematodes killed most of the
tomato plants in one of our three gardens. Root-knot nematodes are tiny parasitic
worms that form galls or knots on the plant roots which block the flow of nutrients to the
plant. The pest is found worldwide but thrives in the sandy soils common to New Mexico.
Thousands of root-knot eggs or worms may be present in one tablespoon of soil. Internet
research came across a study in Texas that used a biological fungicide called Actinovate
to control nematodes. We added fertilizer injectors to the irrigation systems at all 3
gardens, injected Actinovate into the drip irrigation system 2 weeks before planting, at
planting and 2 weeks after planting. When we pulled up our tomato plants this fall, very
few plants showed signs of root knot nematode damage. For more information on this
Texas study see

2013 - galls and knots on the tomato plant

roots caused by root knot nematodes

2014 - healthy root system on tomato

plants grown in the same field after
applying Actinovate

4. Control of Broad Leaf Weeds: In 2013, we had a heavy infestation of pigweed

(Amaranth) following the summer monsoon season. We were concerned that this would
lead to pigweed sprouting next to our tomato plants this spring. Because we cover all
2200 of our tomato plants with row cover and do not uncover them until the 1st week of
July, this gives the pigweed time to reach 5' tall and 1-2" in diameter before the

tomatoes can be weeded. Pigweed this size can easily choke out
and kill the tomato seedlings.
Internet research led us to a study at Iowa State University that
found corn gluten to be 87-99% effective in controlling broad
leaf weeds. It also adds 10% nitrogen to the soil. We found 40#
bags of corn gluten at a local nursery and sprinkled it around the
tomato seedlings as they were planted. When the tomato plants
were uncovered in July, there was very little pigweed. For more
information on this study see

Young volunteer sprinkling

corn gluten around each
tomato seedling during
5. Codling Moth Control: This year we purchased an orchard sprayer and sprayed the
fruit trees to reduce codling moth damage. While researching pesticides effective for
controlling codling moths, we found a table that listed pesticides based on their toxicity
to bees.
To reduce our impact on the pollinators, we sprayed the orchard with a pesticide called
Intrepid. Intrepid was effective. We had very little codling moth damage. Intrepid is
expensive and difficult to find locally. However, less pesticide is required per gallon
making the cost less prohibitive.
6. Infrastructure: We built a garden shed so we could store all equipment and supplies
on site (see photo below). We also purchased a single bottom plow for the tractor.
In addition, we installed a pallet scale and purchased forks for the tractor so we can
move and weigh produce by the pallet rather than by the individual crate. This saved
time and back breaking labor. It also allowed us to load produce onto the food pantry

trucks with the tractor.

2013 - two 80+ year-old 2014

- using
the tractor
and forks to move
wagon to move produce from
and weigh
one end
Note the new
garden to the other. Onegarden
wagon shed
of tomatoes
in the background and the pallet
weighs approximately 400
below the tractor forks.

What did not go well / New learning opportunities

1. Herbicide damage. After we spread manure in one corner of the garden, plant growth
in that corner showed signs of herbicide damage. We sent plant samples to NMSU and
this 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 will deactivate the herbicide.
We will do additional research over the winter and we will probably treat the garden with
activated charcoal this spring.
2. Squash bugs. This spring squash bugs killed most of our cucurbit crops (cucumbers,
squash and melons) before the plants were 2" tall. This reduced our total harvest by
approximately 10,000 pounds. The only cucurbit crops that survived the season were
covered with row cover until the 1st week of August.
Over the years we have tried a variety of ways to control squash bugs, e.g. examining
every leaf, killing the squash bugs and smashing their clusters of eggs, planting
companion plants that are purported to repel squash bugs, torching the squash bugs
when the infestation gets out of hand and trap cropping (planting a crop that attracts the
squash bugs to encourage them to stay away from the other cucurbit crops). So far, the
score is Squash Bugs 5, Seed2Need 0. Nothing we have tried has been effective.
If we decide to grow cucurbit crops next year, we will plant them under row cover and
leave them covered until late summer. Besides protecting the young plants, row cover
provides a nice, white background that makes the squash bugs easy to spot and kill.
3. Blossom end rot. Our tomato crop was heavily hit by blossom end rot this year despite
spraying the foliage with gypsum (NMSU's recommendation was to spray the foliage with
a mixture of 1/4 c. gypsum per gallon of water.). We will research other solutions over
the winter.

4. Bacterial Blight on the green bean crop. In 2015, we will look for a variety of green
beans that is resistant to Bacterial blight.

Plans for 2015

We are already planning the 2015 gardens. We have a seed starting workshop scheduled in
mid-March, and we will be planting 30 more bare-root fruit trees this spring.
We will be speaking to other civic and community service groups over the winter to recruit
more help gleaning fruit from local orchards.
We are looking forward to another
successful garden season.
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
Best wishes for a joyful holiday season!