Another Albuquerque Question: Dec/Jan Planting?

abqpalms(Albuquerque, NM)December 20, 2005

Hi Folks -

Another Albuquerque, NM-related question...sorry for all of the Albuquerque questions...we just don't have a New Mexico-specific forum like you friends in Arizona and Texas!

This may sound crazy, but I am wondering if any folks can lend insight. Are there are fruits, veggies, or herbs that can/should be planted in ABQ Height's zone 7b climate around this time - Dec/Jan? I know to plant in winter is insanity for most plants, trees, etc. However, I am getting the itch to plant something, and I was wondering if there were ANY fruits or veggies that wanted a winter planting.

Any suggestions? Or is the suggestion - wait until March?

Thanks all!

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In Albuquerque, winter planting is fine for all but some heat-loving plants. Commercial landscaping goes on year-round in Albuquerque, as opposed to colder places like Denver or Taos.

This issue is a matter of frozen soil (pretty rare here, but worthless to plant in when it happens!), soil temperatures, air temperatures (Abq has many more hours above 32F than below 32F in the coldest month), climate (ours is fairly stable, with a few big swings from warm to cold, but nothing like the great plains), and the actual plant species in question.

Landscape plants that are warm season / prefer to grow in hotter weather like cacti, live oak, desert willow or mesquite, might have some problems if not done VERY carefully in cold weather. Cool season plants are different, though. They often prefer Dec-Jan planting far over being planted in June. Some plants that do well here w/ winter planting are the native and adapted junipers, pines, deciduous oaks, lavender, and Artemisia spp. Even some yuccas, Nolina, etc. take to winter planting just fine. Frost at night for several hours hurts dormant, new plantings very little, unless they are tender ones that often won't like it here, anyway.

Vegetables need to have a certain soil temperature to get growing and producing, though again, cool season vegetables do fine when the soil gets into the 40's F---think February or March in Abq for peas, lettuce, carrots and the like. Beans and corn really need to be planted once frost danger is mostly past (avg March 30-April 15 in Abq), while tomatoes, melons, etc need no frost and lots of warmth (mid April to early May). I bet the Bernalillo County extension or the NMSU website have more info.

BTW, Albuq statistically has its coldest weather from mid-Dec to mid-Jan, then we start warming, while most of the US mid-section (Colo, Okla, Iowa, etc) often keeps cooling until they get their coldeset weather in early February.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2005 at 1:46PM
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ok, here's my thoughts. I'm a transplant from Illinois, but also a Master gardener there...and was wondering what I can plant now also. Keep in mind the high winds and blowing sand that seem to occur each spring until about May....this can be destructive to unprotected vegetation. But, this time of year, if one were to construct a simple cold frame, they could plant cool season crops such as cabbage, lettuce, etc now, and be able to harvest some stuff until the weather warms up and the spring winds die down...

    Bookmark   December 29, 2005 at 11:58PM
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abq_bob(USDA 5a/SS 2A)

I usually save my "Cool Weather" planting until Mid-Late February. Things like Peas, nasturtiums, sweet-peas, any ipomoea, etc. A lot of these "hard-coat" seeds benefit from the frequent warm-cold-warm cycles we go through in late Winter/early Spring. (beware that some of these can also be quite invasive in our mild climante, successfully re-seeding to a fault).

Also just about any seed pack that says they can be planted "as soon as the soil can be worked" can be planted very early here in ABQ. And if you didn't get your "fall bulbs" in yet, you can get them in now and usually they won't know the difference.

I'm just getting ready to do some "Spring Clean-Up" now, like cutting out dead vines, trimming dormant bushes and fruit trees, pulling dead annuals, collecting seed pods, etc. If the weather stays warm I might even have to mow the lawn :P hehe.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 2:34PM
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