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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Rain clouds anyone?

Gardening in the Ghetto: Rain clouds anyone?: "I just took some pictures of the sky outside of my house. It looks like we may be in for some much needed rain!"

Rain clouds anyone?

I just took some pictures of the sky outside of my house. It looks like we may be in for some much needed rain!






Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rain! Please rain!

I just took some pictures of what appears to be rain clouds, lets hope! Until then, conserve water and mulch, mulch, mulch! Did I mention mulching?






Gardening in the Ghetto: Battling Aphids organically

Gardening in the Ghetto: Battling Aphids organically: "I recently noticed some Aphids on my Japanese Eggplant. I quickly removed them from the plant's leaves only to find more Aphids on the ..."

Battling Aphids organically

File:Snodgrass Aphis pomi.jpg




I recently noticed some Aphids on my Japanese Eggplant. I quickly removed them from the plant's leaves only to find more Aphids on the plant the next day. Upon further discovery, both my husband and I notice additional Aphid infestation on the large pear tree in our front yard. My mother-in-law confirmed the aphid infestation by informing us that the bunches of dried, brown, curled, leaves were a result of the nasty little green bugs.



She instructed us to hose down the pear tree and then spray it with a solution of two drops dish washing liquid, one teaspoon baking soda, one teaspoon cooking oil, and water. I haven't made up the solution yet but I did make up a simpler solution of 1/3 parts white, distilled vinegar and water in a spray bottle. I sprayed my eggplant and tomato plants with this solution and it appeared to kill the Aphids instantly. I've also consulted with a companion planting book which recommended planting Anise and Basil near tomatoes. This makes sense since the Aphids are only attacking the planting pot without the Basil. There is no infestation in the pot with the basil, tomatoes, and chili peppers.



Anyone who has every dealt with Aphids knows that they can wreck havoc on a vegetable garden by feeding off live plants. Ladybugs are also an effective way to rid your garden or green house of pests.  

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Goofy Bird, pollinators, and mulching

Gardening in the Ghetto: Goofy Bird, pollinators, and mulching: "Our garden has a new protector! Mr. Goofy Bird! Mr. Goofy Bird, hovers over my Humming Bird Garden and fends off unwanted pests who destroy ..."

Goofy Bird, pollinators, and mulching

Our garden has a new protector! Mr. Goofy Bird! Mr. Goofy Bird, hovers over my Humming Bird Garden and fends off unwanted pests who destroy flowers. No, not really, but he sure looks cute! 



Flowers play an important roll in our eco-system because they attract pollinators like bees Humming Birds. This is why it is important to limit the usage of harmful pesticides which can deter and harm and or kill helpful pollinators. In some countries, like China for example, fruit crops like apples need to pollinated by hand because the use of pesticides.



Temperatures in the Albuquerque Metro area have risen significantly and there's no sign of rain. Master gardeners at the Bernalillo County Extension have advised that gardeners place at least one and one half inches of mulch around garden plants. Mulch helps retain moisture around plants. 


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Free day at the Rio Grande Zoo

Gardening in the Ghetto: Free day at the Rio Grande Zoo: "Rio Grande Zoo : 'KPEK- 100.3 The Peak - 90's, 2k, and Today!' Click on the link to obtain a free pass for admission from 6:00am-10:00am."

Free day at the Rio Grande Zoo

Rio Grande Zoo: "KPEK- 100.3 The Peak - 90's, 2k, and Today!"

Click on the link to obtain a free pass for admission from 6:00am-10:00am.

Gardening in the Ghetto: Extreme couponing in ABQ: Might not be as "extreme...

Gardening in the Ghetto: Extreme couponing in ABQ: Might not be as "extreme...: "After spending hours of research, (I'm not exaggerating), I've come to the realization that Albuquerque residents may not be able to benefit..."

Extreme couponing in ABQ: Might not be as "extreme"

After spending hours of research, (I'm not exaggerating), I've come to the realization that Albuquerque residents may not be able to benefit from the "extreme" savings that shoppers on the show "Extreme Couponing" get. For those of you who aren't familiar with the show, shopper from different states show off their couponing expertise at the cash register. The majority of the shoppers save 80-90% on groceries for there families. Many of the shoppers are able to get a large percentage of their groceries for free. This sounds great but I've encountered several roadblocks to savings.

Most stores do not allow customers to double up on coupons and the majority of the coupons I've clipped from weekly circulars state that only one coupon per item is allowed. I also called the Albuquerque Journal and asked if I could have any surplus circulars. The customer service person stated that I would have to purchase an additional subscription if I wanted additional circulars.

However there is light at the end of the coupon tunnel. Albertsons is allowing double savings on manufacture coupons up to and including 50 cents and triple savings on manufacture coupons up to and including 33 cents coupons through 6/28. Smith's patrons can use their Smiths cards and coupons for additional savings. Co-op shoppers can obtain a membership for $15 per year and benefit from a multitude of savings. The Co-op regularly discounts specific items every week. Patrons are allowed to use manufacture and or store coupons for additional savings.

I also consulted with a friend of mine who's as close to an "extreme couponer" as you're going to get. Julene Sisnernos Ponte is a busy mother of three who's amassed three storage cabinets full of discounted and free, shampoos, lotions, toothbrushes, cereals, pastas, and paper goods. Much of the savings comes from coupons  and manufacturer rebates. Julene's husband also subscribes to a website called Hotcoupons.com where subscribers can print manufacturer coupons and check local store sales.

"My husband and I keep a lookout for the after season sales. You can get 90% off seasonal clothes, paper plates, napkins. No one (in  my family) cares if they're using orange and black plates especially if they cost only 25 cents!", says Julene.

The West Side coupon diva also recommends stocking up on school supplies when they go on sale. While Julene is skeptical of the savings seen on "Extreme Couponing" she does claim to walk out of a grocery store with four or five bags of groceries after only spending $15. 

My recommendations:
  • Organize clipped coupons in an accordion style folder. (you can purchase one at the Dollar Store)
  • Check weekly grocery sales and match coupons with savings.
  • Set a realistic budget for you and your family each week.
  • Make a grocery list of items that you ablsolutely need and stick to it.
  • Avoid or limit processed or pre-made foods.
  • Cut down on your consumption of meat, have one vegetarian day per week.
  • Take a pocket calculator with you on your shopping trips so that you can keep track of what you're spending.
  • If you shop at a Co-op buy more items in bulk, like cereal, soaps, dried soups.
On a personal note, the most cost effective measures that work for me are sticking with my grocery list and cutting down on my family's consumption of meat. Planning meals for the week also helps when shopping for groceries. If you have any additional successful grocery saving tips please feel free to share them on my blog.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: New this week

Gardening in the Ghetto: New this week: "First, I hope that everyone had a relaxing, inexpensive 'green', Father's Day. I'd also like to thank all of you who show interest in this b..."

New this week

First, I hope that everyone had a relaxing, inexpensive "green", Father's Day. I'd also like to thank all of you who show interest in this blog. Your comments are welcome. Once again thanks for your support!

This week I'm looking at more gardens and ways to save money on your grocery bill. A show called "Extreme Couponing" sparked my interest in re-organizing my own coupons and paying closer attention to how much I'm saving my family at the cash register. I've also been following a couple of community coalitions and will be reporting on any events they may have. I am still interested in starting a community garden in my area. I've contacted the Mayor's office twice and have't heard back from anyone.

Stay posted and happy gardening!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Cheap, free, and "green" things to do on Father's ...

Gardening in the Ghetto: Cheap, free, and "green" things to do on Father's ...: "Father's Day is tomorrow, Sun., June 19, and many of us are scratching our heads wondering what we're going to do for Dad. I've listed a few..."

Cheap, free, and "green" things to do on Father's Day

Father's Day is tomorrow, Sun., June 19, and many of us are scratching our heads wondering what we're going to do for Dad. I've listed a few events in this posting ranging from free events to inexpensive brunches. I hope you find this posting useful.

Free and "green" for whole family! Take your Dad to "Art in the Park", from 10:00a.m.-4:00p.m., at La Entrada Park in Corrales. The event offers art, sculpture, pottery, quilts, fiber arts, gourds, jewelry, metal work, photography. Make and take youth workshops.

Free for Dads! Take a secnic drive up to Santa Fe and visit the Santa Fe Children's Museum from 12:00p.m.-5:00p.m. Dads get in free. There will be gift making workshops all day. For more information call: 505-989-83-59.

Free for whole family! Also in Santa Fe, the Summer Solstice Labyrinth, from 1:00p.m.-3:00p.m. at the Milner Plaza. For more information call: 505-476-1200.

Brunch The Ugly Tie Contest at El Pinto Restaurant. Bring in Dad's ugliest tie and Dad get's half off on any entry. Brunch prices range from $10.99 to $14.99. El Pinto is located at: 10500 4th Street, ABQ. Call 505-898-1771 for reservations.

Brunch Is your Dad a rocker at heart? If so take him to The Hard Rock at Isleta. Brunch is $10.95 and includes coffee, soda or tea. Senior citizens receive a 13% discount. For driving directions call: 1-877-475-3827.

Free and "green" for whole family! There are also a number of beautiful parks you where you can enjoy a picnic lunch. To find a park in your area go to: http://www.cabq.gov/gis/park.php  Please remember there are fire restrictions in open spaces. Check the City of Albuquerque website for more information and updates or call 311.

Happy Father's Day!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Rally highlights insensitivity by APD and media

Gardening in the Ghetto: Rally highlights insensitivity by APD and media: "On Tues., June 14, families, friends and supporters of the fifteen people who've been fatally shot by Albuquerque Police Department officers..."

Rally highlights insensitivity by APD and media

On Tues., June 14, families, friends and supporters of the fifteen people who've been fatally shot by Albuquerque Police Department officers, gathered in a rally to call attention to the inaction of Police Chief Ray Schultz and Mayor Berry. The rally was held from 4:00p.m. to 6:00p.m. in the Albuquerque Civic Plaza. Family members of the victims also spoke out against the inaccurate reports generated by the popular media outlets and the callous treatment of victims families by APD.

"APD will never know what they took from my family," said Eric Gomez, the brother of Alan Gomez who was shot by an APD officer while holding a spoon. Alan Gomez also suffered from mental illness. Gomez went on to detail the reaction of the officers after his brother was shot.

"The officers locked me and my girlfriend in the back of a police car for four hours. They laughed and told jokes, portraying my brother as a criminal while having their donuts and coffee. This is something that the media didn't mention," said Gomez.

A report generated by local news station KOAT states that Alan Gomez was convicted on aggravated battery of a household member charges and arrested for driving while intoxicated. Online court records state that the both aggravated battery and DWI were dismissed and charges were dropped.

Andreas Valdez, a spokesperson for Vecinos Unidos, warned rally attendees about the complacency of their elected officials.

"Beware of your mayor, police chief and city council members because they are part of the problem," he exclaimed.

Valdez also called for the resignation of Police Chief Ray Schultz and criticized the District Attorney's office for not addressing the issue of police brutality.

"There is an inherent conflict of interest with DA's and police officers because the police officers help them prosecute their cases," he explained.

"There needs to be an independent prosecutor to prosecute (these police brutality cases)," said Valdez.

Fred Casaus, the father of Jerry Perea, 38, who was stunned to death with a Tazer by an APD officer also criticized the misinformation reported by the media. A report generated by KOAT quoted Police Chief Schultz saying that Perea was "very large and overweight". Schultz also insinuated that Perea may have had a heart attack or health problems due to his size which may have contributed to his death after being stunned. Casaus stated that his son was approximately five feet ten inches tall and medium build.

"They (APD officers involved) said that my son was trying to injure them with a large crucifix," he said while pulling out a six inch, wooden crucifix from his breast pocket.

"I realize that a policeman's job is dangerous. I wouldn't want it. But if they had any conscious at all they would realize what they do to families (when they kill someone)," he sighed.

In a separate interview, after the rally Casaus was asked if any reporter in any of the news outlets that reported his son's shooting had seen the cross. "No" he said silently.

The rally was initiated by Albuquerque Families and Friends Against Police Abuse, ANSWER NM (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), and Vecinos Unidos. For more information on future rallies call: 505-268-2488.








Gardening in the Ghetto: ABQ gas station goes green: a garden in an unusual...

Gardening in the Ghetto: ABQ gas station goes green: a garden in an unusual...: "A gas station manager has brought his love of gardening to work with him. It all started when Muhammad Molai, gas station manager for the Ra..."

ABQ gas station goes green: a garden in an unusual place

A gas station manager has brought his love of gardening to work with him. It all started when Muhammad Molai, gas station manager for the Ram gas station on Central and Wyoming, decided to deter people from loitering and vandalizing the pay phone in front of the gas station. Muhammad and his son, Khabbab installed large, wooden, flower boxes around the gas station booth and planted Snapdragons and other native grasses a month ago. After the planted was finished the boxes were painted red to match the gas station.

"I love gardening but I don't have the time to do it at home. You see me here all the time," laughed Muhammad.

The Molai's have also planted several Russian Sage bushes along the front corner of the gas station. He plans to plant more flowers and bushes in the future.

"The flowers make (the station) look more clean and green," explains Muhammad.

Muhammad is funding the "green" project himself, with his own money for the benefit of the gas station.




Monday, June 13, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Rally to stop police brutality

Gardening in the Ghetto: Rally to stop police brutality: "A rally to stop police brutality and murder will take place at the Civic Plaza in Albuquerque on Tues., tomorrow, at 4:00pm. The rally has b..."

Gardening in the Ghetto: Rally to stop police brutality

Gardening in the Ghetto: Rally to stop police brutality: "A rally to stop police brutality and murder will take place at the Civic Plaza in Albuquerque on Tues., tomorrow, at 4:00pm. The rally has b..."

Rally to stop police brutality

A rally to stop police brutality and murder will take place at the Civic Plaza in Albuquerque on Tues., tomorrow, at 4:00pm. The rally has been organized by the Albuquerque faction of the national coalition called Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER). The rally was organized in response to the onslaught of police shootings in the Albuquerque metro area. According to Albuquerque based coalition Copwatch, there have been 15 fatal police shootings in Albuquerque in 2011. Albuquerque Copwatch will also be present at the rally. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: A burst of alpine color

Gardening in the Ghetto: A burst of alpine color: "Gene and Barbara Decker are onto something good. A kaleidoscopic of yellows, purples, and pinks adorn a small, triangular shaped patch in th..."

A burst of alpine color

Gene and Barbara Decker are onto something good. A kaleidoscopic of yellows, purples, and pinks adorn a small, triangular shaped patch in their front yard. It looks as if the Decker's have painstakingly planted daisies, tea roses, larkspur, chrysanthemum, and asters to imitate an mini Alpine meadow. However, Barbara Decker makes the planting of the posies sound easy.

"I planted the larkspur a long time ago. They just come up where they want to (after) I shake the seeds out (of dried flowers)," she explains.

Not only is the Decker's garden appealing to the eye it's also appealing to the water department.

"We try no to water more than two or three times per week," says Gene Decker.

The right center of the front yard is planted in Fescue grass, which is drought tolerant, easy to seed and thrives in cooler climates.





Next.....a flower garden where you least expect it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Searching for unique, funky, beautiful gardens in ...

Gardening in the Ghetto: Searching for unique, funky, beautiful gardens in ...: "As stated in a previous blog post, I'm searching for unique, funky, and beautiful gardens in my ghetto. I feel that there is a need to show ..."

Searching for unique, funky, beautiful gardens in my ghetto

As stated in a previous blog post, I'm searching for unique, funky, and beautiful gardens in my ghetto. I feel that there is a need to show case the gardening skills of those who live in economically depressed areas because more often economically advantaged areas are showcased. Rarely are beautiful gardens, great restaurants, business and unique artists showcased in economically depressed areas. Instead we are bombarded with police shootouts, drug use, and crime.

I've been driving around my neighborhood looking at gardens and I've narrowed it down to a few. Unfortunately the heat and the smoke from the Willow fire has somewhat limited my mobility. My goal is to finish interviewing and picture taking by tomorrow (Friday) evening. Until then I'll be toting extra water bottles and eye drops in order to combat the haze and the heat. Stay posted and happy gardening!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Pictures of ABQ sky at 7:35pm

Gardening in the Ghetto: Pictures of ABQ sky at 7:35pm: "I attempted to take a picture of the sun at sunset. I caught a glimpse of a red, haze covered sun for a moment then lost it to a thick blank..."

Pictures of ABQ sky at 7:35pm

I attempted to take a picture of the sun at sunset. I caught a glimpse of a red, haze covered sun for a moment then lost it to a thick blanket of haze. I waited for half an hour hoping the sun would reappear only to be forced to go inside with burning eyes.



Gardening in the Ghetto: Green Pages Article

Gardening in the Ghetto: Green Pages Article: "Readers who are interested in learning more about helping garden plants beat the heat can read my article, 'Retaining water in the high dese..."

Green Pages Article

Readers who are interested in learning more about helping garden plants beat the heat can read my article, "Retaining water in the high desert", on page 15 in The Independent newspaper. Copies of The Independent can be purchased at Wal Mart and any Independent kiosk in the East Mountains.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Unique gardens in the ghetto

Gardening in the Ghetto: Unique gardens in the ghetto: "I was impressed by the uniqueness and various styles of gardens in my neighborhood, while driving around the bock several times during nap t..."

Unique gardens in the ghetto

I was impressed by the uniqueness and various styles of gardens in my neighborhood, while driving around the bock several times during nap time. My next article will cover unique gardens of economically depressed areas and gardens where you least expect them. Stay posted and happy gardening!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Oh hazy day

Gardening in the Ghetto: Oh hazy day: "Late last night I smelled a fire burning. I wasn't sure if it was burning garbage, wood or someone's house. After going outside to investiga..."

Oh hazy day

Late last night I smelled a fire burning. I wasn't sure if it was burning garbage, wood or someone's house. After going outside to investigate I turned on the news (around 11:00pm) to discover that the haze in the sky was due to a wildfire burning in Arizona. Local news stations have recommended that people with respiratory problems stay indoors and refrain from using swamp coolers.

I think that this is sound advice to everyone with or without respiratory problems. The air is dryer and hotter than usual and the haze is making my eyes burn and my throat feel dryer than usual and I don't have respiratory problems. It must be extremely uncomfortable for people with asthma, and severe allergies.

Most wildfires are caused by some's careless actions like throwing a burning cigarette out a car window or failing to properly put out a campfire. Most of New Mexico has had severe fire warnings for the last couple of months. On Memorial Day open fires and grills were forbidden however saw several residences in my neighborhood using charcoal grills.

The quality of the air we breath is equally as important as the quality of water we drink. So lets be responsible and make conscious decisions to reduce pollutants. Drive less, Albuquerque has a decent bus system that services most of the city and costs a mere $2.00 for a day pass. Some residents are riding their bikes to work instead of driving or taking the bus, even better your're killing two birds with one stone, reducing air pollution and getting some exercise! Take a walk! If you live in an area where there are a lot of local business walk to the business where you need to do your shopping. You're killing three birds with three stones this way by getting exercise, reducing pollution, and supporting local businesses. Please note I am using the phrase "killing two" and "three birds" as a euphemism. I like birds and I would prefer not to kill them.

I understand that today is National Doughnut Day. If you've done at least one these this week to help preserve our air quality then by all means reward yourself with a doughnut.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gardening in the Ghetto: Humming bird garden out buzz competitors

Gardening in the Ghetto: Humming bird garden out buzz competitors: "Well it seems like the Humming Bird Garden Variety pack of flowers beat out the competition in my garden. The majority of voters voted for t..."

Humming bird garden out buzz competitors

Well it seems like the Humming Bird Garden Variety pack of flowers beat out the competition in my garden. The majority of voters voted for the variety pack instead of the Hollyhocks and Asters. In response to the voting results I've planted a small section of my front yard with the popular flowers. I'm still trying to nurse the Snapdragons back to peak shape but they are still looking a little peaked. The mulch around the base of the flowers is helping retain the moisture. So, I've decided to give the Snapdragons one more chance. However, I don't foresee the weather getting any cooler and the past few days have been in the low nineties. If they can't pull it together by the end of June they'll end up in my compost pile, which isn't a bad way to end up. The nutrients from the Snapdragons will nurture other flowers and plants in my garden.

My next big projects include amending the soil in my backyard for my vegetable plants and building a more sustainable compost bin. I spoke with master gardener Jim Brooks from the East Mountains who owns a business in Albuquerque called Soilutions. Brooks gave me a lot of helpful advice on compost bins and helped me come up with a couple of solutions that would deter my dogs from rummaging in my compost. I've caught one of my dogs rummaging in my compost twice this week. My husband assures me that these are not isolated incidents. Brooks suggested digging a large hole in the ground, placing the compost in it and covering the hole with a large piece of wire mesh. A couple of rocks would secure the mesh covering. According to Brooks, one of his customers had a similar problem with his dogs and used the same method. The customer discovered that this method of composting was very efficient because the hole insulated the compost and the dogs stayed away from the pile because they didn't like the feel of the mesh underneath their feet. Hummmm, kind of sounds like a cattle guard, interesting.

I have my work cut out for me this weekend. My husband and I purchased two bags of organic compost from Home Depot recently. However, I'll probably need to purchase more compost to work in with what I have. According to Brooks, most people have to purchase additional compost in addition to the compost their households produce. I'll also need to purchase some wire mesh unless I can find some for free on craigslist. I'm still concerned with my dogs peeing on my compost pile but Brooks assured me that dog urine does not harm compost. I could see him smiling over the phone when he told me this.