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NMSU to host winter greens field day at Alcalde Jan. 19

ALCALDE – Passive heating in low-cost high tunnels, also commonly referred to as hoop houses, allows growers to produce winter greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce during the winter months in northern New Mexico.

Man picking green plants
David Archuleta, farm and ranch supervisor at NMSU’s Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde, picks spinach during a study on growing winter greens in hoop houses. A workshop Friday, Jan. 19, at the science center will inform producers about the findings of the study. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences researchers will update the public on research results at a field day from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, at the Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde.

The event is free and open to the public, and will include a tour of the hoop houses. Refreshments will be provided. For more information, or directions, contact the Alcalde center at 505-852-4241.

"We invite people to come and see the kind of growth possible during the winter in these unheated structures," said Steve Guldan, an agronomist in NMSU's Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the center's superintendent.

"We’ve seen that cool season crops can do well despite the low temperatures and short days. We keep experimenting with different crops, varieties and management practices to see how winter production can be maximized," said Robert Heyduck, NMSU senior research specialist.

Del Jiménez, NMSU Extension agriculture specialist with the Rural Agricultural Improvement and Public Affairs Project, will discuss the construction and durability of the hoop houses; Heyduck, and Ivette Guzmán, NMSU Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences horticulturalist, will give an overview of crop and temperature results to-date.

The Alcalde staff requests that visitors not bring dogs onto the farm property unless they are assistance dogs.