Did you know that April is National Gardening Month? We at the Storehouse celebrate this month because of the many benefits gardening provides for self, family, and our community in Albuquerque. In fact, your garden can help feed local families in need when you donate homegrown produce to the Storehouse. Here are some of the benefits of gardening and some tips for beginner gardeners.

Peppers donated from local nonprofit Seed2Need.
It’s rewarding to enjoy lots of fresh produce throughout the growing season. These peppers were grown locally by Seed2Need and donated to the Storehouse.

Gardening in Albuquerque Has Many Benefits

Overall, gardening is a great form of exercise, providing numerous benefits for both physical and mental health. An improved diet, spending time outdoors, and even social connection are some of the benefits. You do not need a large plot of land either. You can garden in containers on an apartment balcony and still reap these benefits, not to mention tasty veggies.

Know Your USDA Zone and Some Specifics of Gardening in Albuquerque

It’s important to know the USDA zone of your garden. This chart, created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, helps you know what to plant and when. Most of Albuquerque, for example, is in USDA Zone 7. Therefore, when gardening in Albuquerque, people can start planting in the middle of April. It is important to note, however, that planting a garden in early May is recommended. April still has a small risk of freezing temperatures in New Mexico. Many people in Albuquerque have a tradition of planting their gardens around Mother’s Day weekend. Others choose to wait until children are out of school and can be part of the fun.

You can grow cool season vegetables immediately before and after the growing season. This includes plants like lettuce, carrots, broccoli, and radishes. which all grow better during cooler spring temperatures, and are more tolerant of frost.

Choose the Right Plants and Start Small

In addition to learning what plants grow best in your zone, consider starting with vegetables bred to be more disease and weather-resistant. Heirloom plants are great and unusual, but sometimes they are more fragile and susceptible to disease. Furthermore, consider your gardening space. If you’re gardening on an apartment balcony, for example, some plants are better suited to containers than others. The amount of sun and shade your area gets is also important. Finally, start fairly small if you’re a beginner, otherwise the work could get overwhelming, which defeats the purpose of relaxing.

A mother and two young children with a grocery cart full of food outside of the Storehouse. If you've been gardening in Albuquerque, you can help neighbors in need by donating homegrown produce!
Families in Central New Mexico count on the Storehouse for food. Donating fresh produce will help them thrive.

Connect with Other Local Gardeners

While gardening can seem daunting to many people, connecting to other gardeners helps make gardening easier and provides the social benefit of connecting with others, as well. Reaching out to Albuquerque’s local master gardeners is a great way to start.

Donate from Your Garden

If you have a green thumb and would like to share your homegrown produce with our community, please donate it to the Storehouse! We focus on providing local families with as much fresh, nutritious food as we can. Your fruits and vegetables would be a tremendous help. If you have food to donate, bring it to our our pantry, which is located on Broadway just south of Central in downtown Albuquerque. Please come by between 7:30 am and 1:30 pm Monday through Saturday and ring the doorbell at our back door, on the east side of the pantry. The pantry team is happy to help donors unload and the Storehouse clients will be thrilled to have fresh food.