September’s Equinox

I took this at last week’s farm market. That’s Daniel Carmona of Cerro Vista Farm, up near Questa. These flowers are all so typical of fall, a season that’s only a couple of days away as I write (Fall Equinox on the 22nd). I bought some great broccoli from his booth. I tried growing my own the first season I was here (3 summers ago now) and had to battle the cabbage moths for what little I was able to harvest. That ended my attempts. Easier to just buy it from Daniel.

There’s more variety of flowers in this shot of Kathy Moen’s booth. She has zinnias, cosmos and gladiolas, among other things. Her farm is near the Hwy. 68 down from Taos to Espanola, somewhere about half way. So she has a lower elevation advantage when that first night of freezing temperatures arrives here in Taos at 7,000  feet. I talked to a friend on the phone last week in Ketchum, Idaho, and he reported that they were going to have their first frosty night and he had picked all his marigolds and some tender garden fruits and vegetables. I’m happy to be gardening here in Taos where we can hope for a longer season. Gotta watch the weather news for low temps ahead though, starting about now.

I didn’t keep track of whose grapes these were at the farm market last week but I had to take a photo. Nothing says fall like picking grapes. Fifteen years ago I might have been doing just that this time of year. I was living in Sonoma County, California, on a spacious property next to a large vineyard. There were also some old vines on our place and some years those of us living there (and friends) came together in an effort to pick all the grapes and press them into juice. Not every year, mind you, could we muster the will. It was a big commitment of time and energy, but the reward of fresh juice was the payoff. Made for great sensory memories. We also did apples some years I recall.

Which brings me to the topic of Chamisa. It’s a plant very much like the wild sage that is indigenous here and they tend to grow in the same places. But sage never has a showy blooming period like Chamisa. She waits for late summer/early fall and throws up a yellow that is a joy to see. This clump was photographed along Maestas Road, the one I live on, but it could have been taken about anywhere along a road these days.

And where there’s Chamisa you’ll likely see these small purple daisy-like wild flowers. They’re called “purple asters.” If you wanted an area of wildflowers near your house this would be a good time to add the seeds to your mix. These were blooming near my driveway. Also you could consider getting a garden version of the same plant at the nursery in the spring. I had a neighbor in Ketchum, Idaho, who had large plants that also bloomed in the fall with purple flowers that looked similar. Just when other flowers are starting to fade they make a great fall show of color.

An heirloom tomato from Living Light Farm



First Farm Market Day

Today was a perfect day for the opening of the farm market season here in Taos. I got there later than was ideal and missed out completely on the greens that the folks from Talpa Gardens had for sale. They were just standing around visiting with friends and congratulating themselves on selling out their produce by 10 AM. The market opens at 9 AM, so that took no time. Looking around I noticed they did have much competition. There were few vendors offering produce. It’s early.

I also had in mind to look for some nice heirloom tomatoes and found these in the photo above. They were grown at Rancho Arco Iris farm in Dixon. I apologize to the woman in the photo for not catching her first name, but I’m offering a link to the farm’s site. I bought two of her tomato plants, a cherry type and a regular sized red one. Seeing it’s half way through the month of May it would be early to set them out now. Most garden types here seem to agree that for tender plants and seeds it’s wise to wait for June 1st. But I have “walls of water” to put them inside, so I think I’ll be OK. Also I’m a computer weather junkie so I usually am aware if there’s going to be a night time freeze so I’ll have a chance to cover them, which is easy to do. Last year this time I believe I waited and that worked out great. I had tomatoes in early August.

These tomato starts from Living Light Farm in Arroyo Seco were a little bit more expensive, $3.50 each, but there was a lot of variety and they also had little flats of lettuce mix and other things to get your garden started early. Their booth was very popular.

My favorite vendor of the day was this woman selling her sprouts. I LOVE sunflower sprouts and hers were very fresh and inviting. I got a small bag, a mix of what she was offering just because it all looked so wonderful. I will definitely plan to buy my sunflower sprouts from her every week. Didn’t get her name but I will be checking back with her and will correct that in an upcoming blog.

Everyone loves lilacs and there was some tension around Taos when we had our cold weather recently, that it might have killed the lilac buds. Perhaps it did in some places but I took this photo in the historic district last Sunday. Stopped to take in the smell and figured a photo was in order.

Also on Sunday I had lunch at the Hanuman temple and ran into my good friend, Fred Bloomfield, also known as Ram to me. Some people were addressing him as Swami, so I’ll mention that as well. He likes to spend time in India in the ashram where the spiritual teacher of Ram Das and others found enlightenment. I first met him in Ketchum, Idaho, the town I moved here from. I think he was taking a break from Taos at the time and also likely doing some driving back and forth. He was very welcoming to me when I first moved here and his friendship the past year has helped me feel at home. Yeah Ram!