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  • Writer's pictureBette Allen, MD

Visit the New Community Garden at the Bernalillo Community Museum!

I've been happy to be a part of a transformative community garden project for the

Bernalillo Community Museum. With my passion for sustainable desert landscapes

and medicinal plants, it was rewarding to work with the museum staff as a Sandoval

Extension Master Gardener volunteer.

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 this community garden. Since the beginning of the summer many volunteer hours have been 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 is 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. In the future we plan to include more medicinal and edible plants, dye plants and other favorites requested by our community.

The Garden will provide an area for relaxation and contemplation will also and serve as a site for community education. Classes are planned in medicinal and edible plants, curanderismo, natural dyes, seed saving and more.

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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