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  • Writer's pictureBette Allen, MD

Visit the Community Garden at the Bernalillo Community Museum!

Since 2023 Sandoval Extension Master Gardeners have been happy be part of a transformative community garden project for the Bernalillo Community Museum.

The original museum building was built in the 1940’s. The current museum opened in 2019. The central courtyard includes adobe walls that are many years old and give a sense of history to the Garden. This project had been planned for many months and became a reality after Los Ranchos Lavender in the Village awarded a $5000 grant to fund the community garden.

Last year many volunteer hours were devoted to the process of developing and implementing the garden design. This process included investigating plants traditionally used in this area and finding those suitable for our current (and future) climate. Site preparation included clearing debris and assessing the quality of the soil. As the soil was mostly hard clay, rocks, and sand, we utilized both traditional and modern methods. There are a variety of garden styles: a waffle garden, a spiral herb garden, row gardens, raised beds, trellising, pollinator beds, and inground plantings. Mountains of compost and and wood mulch were spread to help hold moisture and contribute to future soil building. Watering has been accomplished by a combination of waterwise drip irrigation and hand watering. Note that aside from those in the raised beds, the majority of plants are drought tolerant and will need minimal water after they are established Come visit and be inspired!

Before installation – lots of sun, dry soil, old adobe wall:

During installation of raised beds, waffle garden, spiral garden:

After installation of raised beds with flowers and vegetables, spiral herb garden, waffle garden with vegetables, native plant areas:

The new Community Garden! Take a peek:

The Community Garden now enlivens the courtyard at the museum with a variety of native and drought tolerant plants, medicinal and edible plants traditionally used in this area. The Garden provides examples of several ways to garden in the desert. There are in-ground beds planted with native and drought tolerant plants and seeds, raised beds with vegetables and pollinator plants, a traditional waffle garden, and a spiral garden filled with herbs.

This year we plan to include more medicinal and edible plants, dye plants and other favorites requested by our community. We also plan to increase the variety of vegetables and herbs. The museum also plans to have classes on medicinal and edible plants, curanderismo, natural dyes, seed saving and more. The garden provides an area for relaxation and contemplation also serves as a site for community education.

The Bernalillo Community Museum is located at 118 Calle Malinche in Bernalillo, NM 87004. Please check their website for information on upcoming events.

Supporting Organizations for this project include:


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