Fall: the Desert’s Second Spring

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In many regions around the country harvest and fall can be used interchangeably. Pumpkins signal the end of the growing season as their vines yellow and begin to crunch underfoot. Leaves fall from deciduous trees, and a chill cools the air. 
 
Here in the desert of New Mexico, however, we live a second spring rather than a fall experienced like the rest of the country. Shorts are still a necessary wardrobe piece in the 80 degree weather and pink, yellow, and red mums burst into bloom on front porches around town. 
 
Mums are not the only plant that do well in the ground during New Mexico falls. In fact, now is the perfect time to plant a winter garden. A winter garden is the ideal time to plant lettuce, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbages, kale, and swiss chard. Many of these seeds have a very short germination rate and sprout quickly in the pleasant fall temperatures and require far less watering than the long summer season plants. 
 
To begin your winter garden: 
 
Prepare your soil by removing any stones, clumps of dirt, and unwanted plants. 
 
Mark off your rows or patches with colorful and fun markers made from stones or paint sticks. 
 
Sow seeds according to the directions on their packages.
 
Water in the seeds with a hand watering can. Repeat watering daily until sprouts are well established with a secondary set of leaves. 
 
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