about me

RAIN10

giantveggiegardener—An artisan farmer’s journey

tomatoes on tableTo see my current posts go to: giantveggiegardener.com and you will be able to follow all my posts.

I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico USA where the growing season is short, the altitude is 7000 feet high and the soil is very alkaline, miserably hard and lacking organic materials. It is now in Zone 6A growing season after being in Zone 5 for years. Growing vegetables here is a challenge. I am also a Master Gardener who practices organic growing methods.

I’ve become a Jr. homesteader of sorts being as sustainable as is comfortable. I have goats down in the barn as friends and keep chickens for eggs. I became a topbar beekeeper to have pollinators and honey. I grow heirloom tomatoes and other vegetables on my micro-farm that I sell at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. As a hobby I grow giant pumpkins and other giant vegetables.

zinnas and japonica cornI call myself an ‘artisan farmer’ because I like to create beauty in the gardens combining art, flowers and vegetables and because my gardens are not big enough to be called a farm but too large to be an urban garden. My vegetable gardens total 4000 square feet. I grow unusual varieties of vegetables. My reasoning is why grow something I can buy in the grocery store. I like all aspects of vegetable gardening from growing to harvesting to preserving to cooking.

I belong to two gardening organizations here in Santa Fe, NM. One is the Santa Fe Master Gardeners Association and the other is Home Grown New Mexico.

view looking out to front gateWelcome to my journey, an artisan farmer’s journey, where I share my 25 years of growing experience, knowledge and each garden season’s challenges and joys as they unfold.

34 comments on “about me

  1. Justin says:

    Wow! That thing is amazing. I wonder how on earth you grew that thing which is about 40 times bigger than anything I’ve ever grown!? Hercules is a good name for it.

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    • Hi-Amazingly I only use seaweed and fish emulsion for fertilizer. The variety of pumpkin is called Atlantic Giant and mine is actually small. The world record is 1725 lbs! But where I live it was the second largest in the state of New Mexico. Next year I hope to beat the current record of 404 lbs with a 500 lber. I will track the growth of this years pumpkins and tell how I grow them on this blog so stayed tuned…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jannine,
    Just wanted you to know how much I admire your site. What an awesome gardener you are! keep up the good work- I look forward to more posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jeanne simonoff says:

    dear jannine, great website/blog. your gardens and gardening are amazing.

    i also saw your glass blowing and it is spectactular. your art works are beyond belief.

    rock on, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jan says:

    Hey, Jannine. Love the blog. Attractive, fun and good information. I need to be your next door neighbor. Thanks for archiving all your hard work. Keep it up. Jan

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  5. Susi says:

    Jannine,
    Thank you for sharing so much wonderful information in such a nice, well arganized, and understandable way.

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  6. andrew says:

    Hi Jannine,

    Just wanted to say your blog is great as a very new giant veg grower i have learnt so much from you.
    all the very best
    Andrew

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  7. Hi, nice to meet you !

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  8. REN says:

    You have the touch

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  9. gene solyntjes says:

    Hello Jannine,

    I had been given this blogsite and realize it is exactly what I am seeking. WE are north of you ( Las Vegas), but my first attempt at growing veggies in our new greenhouse , while successful, pales by comparison to your success, and I salute your excellence . There is undoubtedly an incredible amount of info, apparently all of potential value to me, and I shall be using this site a lot.

    Thank you for creating this blog.

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  10. mac says:

    Nice to meet a local master gardener with a garden blog.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences in desert veggie growing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pam Grob says:

    Hi Jannine:
    Loved your talk at the evening MG and thank you so much for sharing your blog. It is awesome! There is so much information for new gardeners.

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  12. Hey there!

    I’ve recently been trying to start getting to a point where I grow a large amount of my own food at my off grid home… It’s booster knowing that their are other New Mexicans growing the way you do out their!! I’m south of Santa Fe in a “6B” growing zone… I know it’s gonna be tough at first, but am sure it will be worth it in the end! Hardest part I’m foreseeing is getting the ground nutritious for proper plant growth?

    Hope all grows well! ;-D

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    • Hi!
      When first starting a garden bed, to help our bad soil, get truckloads of old horse manure to mix with your native soil and dig deeply the first season or two.(Afterwards mix into the top 6 inches only so the beneficial microbes can regenerate). I mix between 1/3 to 1/2 horse manure to native soil when starting a new garden. It is best to do this in the fall so it can break down over winter but I have done it in spring too. Thereafter keep adding more manure every year-that is the key to making good soil. I wait for a good rain (HA!) and then run out the next day and rent one of those heavy duty rotillers to break up the soil and mix in the horse manure. I live on very rocky ground and had to pick ax part of it as the rototiller wouldn’t break through it though in some parts. Good luck, this first part is the hardest, then it will get easier.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Fellow Gardener Dave says:

    Jannine,
    Just read your blog, very impressive indeed. I have been gardening here in Santa Fe for 5 years now, every year my veggie garden gets a little bigger, It is a great hobby!

    I have been having a little trouble with one of my tomatoe plants and was wondering if you might have some advice for me. The leaves on my black Krim started curling up or rolling up about two or three weeks ago. At the time I thought it was the heat wave we are in, but now it is looking a little sicker, and some of the plants around it are starting to curl as well….I am a little concerned. other than the curl the plants look very healthy, no yellowing or spotting. They are getting plenty of water and sunshine…..Any thoughts.

    Really appreciate your Time.

    Fellow Gardener Dave

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    • Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you-I’ve been in the garden. I think your tomato problem sounds like a viral wilt. If it were me I’d pull it and dispose of it in a garbage bag. It might affect some others..I just pulled two tomato plants for that reason.

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  14. Theresa says:

    Thanks for sharing a lot of great tips. I lost a crop of pumpkins to squash bugs & will be more vigilant to their presence next year. I am definitely going to try the onion companion planting.

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  15. Ness says:

    Hi,
    I’ve been following your blog ever since I figured out that I want to retire in the Santa Fe area. I’ll be retiring in 4 years and want to do extensive vegetable gardening (for my own consumption), and happened across your web site and have read every bit of it and been rooting for your large veggies to win the various contests.

    I plan on having a water harvesting system, but also hope to have a private well at whatever house we choose to buy out there. And, I also want a good sized greenhouse as well. Do you rely on city water to augment your watering, or do you have a well? I’ve been wondering that because I want to be prepared to help me decide what house to look for…. If you don’t mind me asking :o)

    Thank you,
    Ness

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    • Hi Ness- I live just on the outskirts of Santa Fe on 6.5 acres and we have a community well system here in our area with good water (quantity and quality). There are good producing wells in the system. One guy owns it and we all pay for our own usages. I also collect water ()when we get it off the roofs of the house and barns and give it to the veggie gardens as well. I would like to put a well in someday to help augment the water. If you live in the city (SF), you will be controlled by the city water restrictions which will charge you more if you go over your allocated usage. I’m also pretty frugal the rest of the year water wise but do use a substantial amount during the veggie season. If you buy a house outside the city limits with a well, they will have either water rights of one acre ft (325,000 gallons a year per household) or 3 acre feet for older wells (975,000 gallons per year). The State Engineer Office now restricts new wells to the one acre amount if you put decide to put a new one in.

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      • Ness says:

        Wow, that was a fast reply! Awesome, that’s exactly the information I needed. Thank you so much! By the way, your web site is incredibly informative, and I’ve started taking all kinds of notes on gardening in New Mexico, including taking many of your pointers. You’ve been a great help.

        I’m crossing my fingers for your giant veggies!

        Ness

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  16. Denise Bilyeu-Pizzi says:

    Hi Jannine,
    Saw this and couldn’t believe it was you and you are a gardener beside being an artist. Would love to hear from you.

    Denise-Bilyeu-high school friend

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  18. Hi,
    I’m a Master Gardener in Atlanta, GA. My husband and I are planning to move to Santa Fe at the end of the year. I want to become a Master Gardener in Santa Fe also. Do you know if I have to take the classes again or can I train/volunteer under another Master Gardener? Your plants are amazing. We’re zone 7B here with lots of rain and humidity. I can’t wait to try growing in an arid, alkaline soil. How many Master Gardeners does Santa Fe currently have? Who do I contact to join?

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  19. Celeste says:

    Hi Jannine,
    This is FANTASTIC! I’m going to learn so much and have a great garden this year!
    Thank you!
    Celeste

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    • Hi Celeste-You found me! Here’s a tip: If you go to the right hand column and scroll down to ‘Garden Topics’ you will see many topics. Just click on one that interests you and it will take you to all the posts for that subject. It’s also fun to check in and see what’s going on in my gardening life. It’s gonna be a busy year! Welcome.

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  20. christy harp says:

    just stopping by to say “hi” and say i found your blog on a search while putting together a slide show on giant pumpkins!

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    • Hi Cristy- You probably don’t remember me but when you were the champ, you had Nick give me a nice pumpkin seed and some his tomato seeds. The tomato seeds have produced some nice 3+ lbers but the pumpkin seed didn’t like the ultraviolet light we get out here. I’m a bit handicapped out here at 7000 feet high and a short season but I do enjoy growing the giant pumpkins. Hope you and family are doing well. You grow girl!

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  21. Joann Leyba says:

    Hi. I am so glad to find this site. This will be my 3rd year at gardening. I live near Chama and have been looking for a gardening classes. My garden does ok but I know it could be better if I could become more knowledgable about it. Do you know of any classes or people that would be willing to help me. Last year my mexico squash did horrible. Joann

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  22. Carole says:

    The Mucking Moms LOVE your blog and have nominated you for the Versatile Blog Award. Check out all the details at http://muckingmoms.com/2013/01/17/blog-award/

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