Writer: D'Lyn Ford
ALBUQUERQUE - Growers can learn techniques to improve greenhouse production and diversify their products at a free, one-day workshop that New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service will offer Feb. 6 in Santa Fe.
"The season for greenhouse growers is coming up and we want to help producers learn about alternative greenhouse programs before they begin planting," said Del Jimenez, agriculture specialist with NMSU's Rural Agricultural Improvement and Public Affairs Project (RAIPAP).
RAIPAP held a workshop last November on construction of greenhouses and cold frames. The new workshop is a follow-up course to teach growers who plan to use greenhouses this year about the best crops and techniques for greenhouse growing, Jimenez said.
The greenhouse growing season begins in late February, two months ahead of conventional planting in May, Jimenez said.
RAIPAP has been teaching northern growers to build and operate greenhouses and cold frames to extend the season, which is typically limited to a five-month period from May to September. Growers can plant greenhouse crops when weather is still cold, allowing them to get their products to market sooner at higher prices. They can also keep producing into late fall, extending the season to about nine months, from March to November, Jimenez said.
On Feb. 6, Extension specialists will teach about vegetables, fruits, and herbs. They will also talk about integrated pest management, benefits of solar greenhouses and use of the metric system for measuring fertilizer and insecticide solutions, Jimenez said.
Ross Bird, a producer from Estancia, will discuss his success with greenhouse ornamentals, and Brett Bakker, chief inspector with the New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission, will review laws and regulations for organic greenhouse production.
Free written materials will be distributed at the workshop, to be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Santa Fe Cooperative Extension Complex at the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds, 3229 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe.
For more information, call Jimenez at (505) 852-2668, or Pat Torres at (505) 471-4711.
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