Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta 2014

August 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Farmers' Markets, Kids

Tomatoes photo by Manjith Kainickara; Creative Commons licenseThe tomatoes have been delicious already this season, in my avid tomato-fiend opinion. But now they’re arriving more abundantly in the August harvest, we’re devouring fresh tomatoes like crazy here at Cheap Central.  I read that if you eat avocados at the same time, you absorb up to seven times as much of the antioxidant lycopene from the tomatoes. New Mexico already knew this. This is why we all eat salsa and guacamole, isn’t it?

Health benefits aside, at the peak of summer nothing tastes better than a homegrown tomato and I only wish I could grow them myself. We aren’t growing tomatoes this year as we have been moving home so we haven’t been able to keep up with a garden. But in any case we don’t have green thumbs for tomatoes. We only yielded a handful of cherry tomatoes last year. They ripen one cherry tomato at a time, which we solemnly cut in half to share. They taste delicious but watching Mr Cheap eat half a cherry tomato is like giving a peanut to Daizy the elephant.

Still, if you’re as fond of tomatoes as we are, you won’t want to miss this very juicy annual event. It’s cheap too!

The 2014 Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta takes place Sunday, August 17 from 11 am – 3 pm, at the Albuquerque Garden Center.

Presented by the Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners, the Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta offers lots of activities for a $5 admission fee, and kids aged under 12 are FREE! (Or rather their admission is, I don’t suppose they’re growing kids beside the tomato plants to give away.)

Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta includes:

  • Free gardening seminars  at 11:30 am (Tomatoes 101) and 12:30 pm (Waffle Gardens with Sean Ludden)and at 1:45 pm Master Composters.
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Heirloom tomato tasting
  • Free plant clinic by the Master Gardeners
  • Kids’ activities
  • Music by the Alpha Blue Trio
  • Fresh produce for sale

The Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta is sponsored by Jericho Nursery, Osuna Nursery and Montano Acura.

  • When: Sunday August 17, 2014
  • Time: 11 am – 3 pm
  • Where: Albuquerque Garden Center
  • Price: $5 adults, free for kids aged under 12

Albuquerque Garden Center is located at 10120 Lomas Boulevard NE, at Eubank.

— Tania


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Free Composting Classes

July 2, 2014 by  
Filed under Events, Freebies

Free composting classes and vermicomposting classes too? I’ll need my rubber gloves for this one!

As far as I’m aware, there are three advantages of composting.  Firstly, it’s a good way to dispose of veggie peelings and other food and organic waste, including leaves and cut grass. (The smart people at the Open Space Visitor Center tell me that food waste is the single largest and least recovered waste stream in the USA.)

Secondly, composting is great for mulching and aeration if you’re into organic gardening, rather than buying commercial fertilizers. And last but not least… it’s free!

I’m no gardening expert. (Mr Cheap has the green thumb around here. With the exception of my lovingly-tended herbs, I usually only have to look at a plant and it withers… even if I have my make-up on.) But I’ve planted a strip of green beans, kale, Swiss chard, and broccoli this season, all nourished by our own compost, and they’re doing pretty well so far. Fingers crossed!

If you’re interested in learning about composting, Bernalillo County Extension Master Composters offer a bunch of free composting classes for all ages at various locations, including vermicomposting or composting with worms.

Although the classes are free they usually require registration before the event, so check details at the link to see where to phone or email to register for each class, as well as full info on times and locations.

Updated dates for summer 2014: These are the upcoming free composting classes for the next few months, but check the schedule in case of additions or changes:

  • July 23 : Home Composting in the Desert 6:00 pm (UNM Continuing Education)
  • July 26 : Home Composting Basics 10:00 am (Palo Duro Senior Center)
  • August 7 : Home Composting Basics 5:00 pm (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • August 9 : Composting with Worms (Vermicomposting) 10:00 am (Palo Duro Senior Center)
  • August 17 : Home Composting Basics 1:45 pm (Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta)
  • August 30 : Home Composting Basics 10:00 am (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • September 11 : Composting with Worms (Vermicomposting) 5:00 pm (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • September 18 : Home Composting Basics  5:30 pm (Loma Colorado Public Library)
  • September 27 : Composting with Worms (Vermicomposting) 10:00 am (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • October 9 : Bucket Composting with Bokashi Method 5:00 pm (Los Volcanos Senior Center)
  • October 15-November 8 : Master Composter Training Wednesdays and Saturdays (Bernalillo County Extension Office)
  • October 25 : Bucket Composting with Bokashi Method 10:00 am (Los Volcanos Senior Center)

–Tania

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National Public Gardens Day Free Admission ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden

May 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Attractions, Freebies

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National Public Gardens Day is on Friday May 9, 2014, and Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden joins in the celebrations with demonstrations, talks, and giveaways. The Santa Fe Botanical Garden is also involved.

You can get free admission to ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden on National Public Gardens Day, May 9 when you print out the free admission coupon at this link – click the yellow Get This Offer button. You will need to enter an email address and a zip code, but they don’t email the coupon to you – you’re taken straight to a page where you can print or download the coupon.

Last year the free admission tickets were via the Better Homes and Gardens magazine website and one coupon covered up to 10 people. This year I can’t see any info on how many people are covered by the coupon. So to be on the safe side, I suggest you download that coupon then print out one for each member in your party. That free coupon saves you $9 – $12.50 per adult admission!

The Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill is the other participating New Mexico garden. You can go free on May 9 using the Santa Fe Botanical Garden free admission coupon. That saves $7 per adult admission.

If you’re traveling elsewhere, there are many other gardens in other states across the country participating in the National Public Gardens Day free admission offer.

National Public Gardens Day events at the ABQ Botanic Garden will run from 10 am – 2 pm on May 9, with demonstrations and talks on gardening in the southwest, including water-wise gardening. Activities include making a koi kite and recycled notebooks.

The ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden free admission coupon does not include the Aquarium – sorry! Stay outdoors and enjoy the spring scenery instead.

Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden is located at 2601 Central Avenue NW.

–Tania

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Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta 2013

August 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Farmers' Markets, Kids

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Tomatoes photo by Manjith Kainickara; Creative Commons licenseThe tomatoes have been late this season, in my avid tomato-fiend opinion. But now they’re arriving, we’re devouring fresh tomatoes like crazy here at Cheap Central. I read that if you eat avocados at the same time, you absorb up to seven times as much of the antioxidant lycopene from the tomatoes. New Mexico already knew this. This is why we all eat salsa and guacamole, isn’t it?

Health benefits aside, at the peak of summer nothing tastes better than a homegrown tomato and I only wish I could grow them myself. Our current attempt at cherry tomatoes has yielded exactly two so far in 2013. Last year we did better, with a grand total of four cherry tomatoes over the entire summer. They ripen one cherry tomato at a time, which we solemnly cut in half to share. They taste delicious but watching Mr Cheap eat half a cherry tomato is like giving a peanut to Daizy the elephant.

Still, if you’re as fond of tomatoes as we are, you won’t want to miss this very juicy annual event. It’s cheap too!

The 2013 Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta takes place Sunday, August 25 from 11 am – 3 pm, at the Albuquerque Garden Center.

Presented by the Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners, the Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta offers lots of activities for a $5 admission fee, and kids aged under 12 are FREE! (Or rather their admission is, I don’t suppose they’re growing kids beside the tomato plants to give away.)

Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta includes:

  • Free gardening seminars  at 11:30 am (Tomatoes 101 with the Tomato Guys) and 12:30 pm (Preserving the Harvest with Cindy Davies.) At 1:30 pm Peter Sinanian will be sharing advice on Raised Beds and Fall Gardens.
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Heirloom tomato tasting
  • Free plant clinic by the Master Gardeners
  • Kids’ activities
  • Music by the Alpha Blue Trio
  • Fresh produce for sale

The Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta is sponsored by Jericho Nursery and Montano Acura.

  • When: Sunday August 25, 2013
  • Time: 11 am – 3 pm
  • Where: Albuquerque Garden Center
  • Price: $5 adults, free for kids aged under 12

Albuquerque Garden Center is located at 10120 Lomas Boulevard NE, at Eubank.

— Tania

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Water Conservation & Xeriscape Expo

February 25, 2013 by  
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Living in a desert, we all know the need to conserve water and make our yards as self-sustaining as possible. And in this economy, we have an added incentive to save our hard-earned cash by reducing our water bill.

The 2013 Water Conservation & Xeriscaping Expo this weekend March 2 and 3 will help you do just that. And it’s all free. We mean all!  Let’s start with the admission: FREE. And the multitude of seminars? FREE.  OK, there is a parking fee if you drive there, but let’s not quibble.

The Expo organized by the Xeriscape Council of New Mexico features a host of exhibitors where you can find out about cool stuff like xeriscape technology and green home and garden products, as well as browse and buy plants.

Free admission also gets you access to free seminars, including:

  • Xeriscaping and Xeric design
  • Water harvesting
  • Drip irrigation
  • Water budgeting
  • Waterwise food growing
  • Tree selection for Albuquerque
  • Soil problems and solutions
  • Pruning
  • Landscape maintenance
  • Beneficial bugs for the garden
  • Strategies for adapting gardens to changes in climate
  • The living landscape of New Mexico
  • And more!

See all the seminar times here. The 2013 Water Conservation & Xeriscaping Expo takes place:

  • When:
    Saturday March 2, from 9 am – 5 pm
    Sunday March 3, from 10 am  – 4 pm
  • Where: Expo New Mexico in the Creative Arts Building.
  • Admission: Free, although expect to pay for parking – usually $5 at Expo NM, home of the State Fairgrounds.

–Tania

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Free Composting Classes

November 5, 2012 by  
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Free composting and vermicomposting classes? I’ll need my rubber gloves for this one!

As far as I’m aware, there are three advantages of composting.  Firstly, it’s a good way to dispose of organic waste, including leaves and cut grass. Secondly, it’s great for mulching and aeration if you’re into organic gardening, rather than buying commercial fertilizers. And last but not least… it’s free!

But what do I know? Mr Cheap has the green thumb around here. With the exception of my lovingly-tended herbs, I only have to look at a plant and it withers. (Even if I have my make-up on.)

If you’re interested in learning about composting, Bernalillo County Extension Master Composters offer a bunch of free composting classes for all ages at various locations, including vermicomposting or composting with worms.

Although the classes are free they require registration before the event, so check details at the link to see where to phone or email to register for each class, as well as full info on times and locations.

These are the upcoming free composting classes for the remainder of 2012, but check the schedule in case of changes:

  • November 6: Backyard Composting Lecture at 7 pm (Rio Rancho)
  • November 10: Advanced Composting forum for those with composting experience (Gutierrez-Hubbell House)
  • November 14: Basic Composting Class
  • November 17: Vermicomposting / Worm Composting Class
  • December 1: Basic Composting Class
  • December 15: Vermicomposting / Worm Composting Class

–Tania

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Free Urban Farm and Harvest Festival: September 16

September 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Events, Food, Kids

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They’re making hay while the sun shines at the annual Urban Farm and Harvest Festival at the Open Space Visitor Center on September 16, 2012.  It’s a free event for all the family, and the festival at the 24-acre working farm and wildlife preserve celebrates urban farming and traditional local agriculture – and offers lots of free kids’ activities too!

The Albuquerque Urban Farm and Harvest Festival includes:

  • Live music including the Tumbleweeds and Apple Mountain
  • Hay bale rides
  • A farm-themed kids’ costume parade (11 – 11:30 am)
  • Magic, juggling, harvest games, and a kids’ art table
  • Beekeepers and a presentation on beekeeping at 11:30 am and honey harvesting at 1 pm
  • Live raptors from Wildlife Rescue (1:30 pm)
  • The Home Farming Revolution Book signing and talk at 3 pm with authors Zoe Wilcox & Melanie Rubin
  • Other workshops and demonstrations including a tin punch workshop, the history of food in New Mexico, water harvesting, and beneficial bugs!

I’ll be there with Mr Cheap, because he’s a “beneficial bug” and I’d love to find out more about him :-) Well, also I love the Open Space Visitor Center, and I wrote about them and this event in a magazine article for Urban Farm magazine as well as for MSN.com, so I’m not going to miss this fifth annual festival!

They’ll also have green chile roasting, and local artisans and farmers will do their thang in the booths, including sales of local foods.  It should be a lovely way to spend a Sunday, celebrating Albuquerque’s food and farming heritage.

See the full Urban Farm and Harvest Festival schedule

  • When: Sunday September 16, 2012
  • Time: 10 am – 4 pm
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center
  • Price: FREE!

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW. (East of Coors at the end of Bosque Meadows Road, between Montano Boulevard and Paseo del Norte.)

–Tania

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Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta 2012

August 14, 2012 by  
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Tomatoes photo by Manjith Kainickara; Creative Commons licenseWe’re devouring fresh tomatoes like crazy here at Cheap Central, and I recently read that if you eat avocados at the same time, you absorb up to seven times as much of the antioxidant lycopene from the tomatoes. New Mexico already knew this. This is why we all eat salsa and guacamole, isn’t it?

Health benefits aside, at the peak of summer nothing tastes better than a homegrown tomato and I only wish I could grow them myself. Our last attempt resulted in a yield of exactly four cherry tomatoes over the entire summer. They ripened one cherry tomato at a time, which we solemnly cut in half to share. They tasted delicious, but watching Mr Cheap eat half a cherry tomato was like giving a peanut to an elephant.

If you’re as fond of tomatoes as we are, you won’t want to miss this very juicy annual event. It’s cheap too!

The 2012 Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta takes place Sunday, August 19, from 11 am – 3 pm, at the Albuquerque Garden Center.

Presented by the Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners, the fiesta offers lots of activities for a $5 admission fee, and kids under 12 are FREE! (Or rather their admission is, I don’t suppose they’re growing kids beside the tomato plants to give away.)

Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta includes:

  • Free gardening seminars  at 11:30 am (Tomatoes 101) and 12:30 pm (Preserving Tomatoes). At 1:30 pm it’s either Organic Gardening or Rainwater Harvesting, depending on which of their schedules you believe.
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • Heirloom tomato tasting
  • Free plant clinic by the Master Gardeners
  • Kids’ activities
  • Music by the Alpha Blue Trio
  • Fresh produce for sale

The Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta is sponsored by High Country Gardens, Jericho Nursery, KHFM, Fano Bread, and Montano Acura.

  • When: Sunday August 19, 2012
  • Time: 11 am – 3 pm
  • Where: Albuquerque Garden Center
  • Price: $5 adults, free for kids aged under 12

Albuquerque Garden Center is located at 10120 Lomas Boulevard NE, at Eubank.

— Tania

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Albuquerque Coop and Garden Tour: June 9-10

June 4, 2012 by  
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The Albuquerque Coop and Garden Tour 2012 offers inspiration to grow your own backyard edibles and keep chickens. But even if you aren’t ready to take the plunge into poultry-rearing just yet, this free tour looks like a fun way to get outside this weekend!

The Albuquerque Coop and Garden Tour tour was established in 2008 as a celebration of backyard gardens, city chickens, community food efforts, school gardens and anything else connected to growing food and sustainable gardens in the city.

Join the city-wide tour to see a range of gardens open to the public for the event, most of which contain chickens. I reckon kids will love it! And if you’re interested in gardening or keeping chickens yourself, there will be people around to share information about urban farming and coop design.

  • When: Saturday June 9 and Sunday June 10, 2012
  • Time: 10 am to 2 pm
  • Price: Free and open to all!

Check out the Albuquerque Coop and Garden Tour map for all the stops.  At time of writing, it works like this: On Saturday June 9, the tour will be only at the map stops north of Central Avenue, on Sunday June 10 only at stops south of Central.

–Tania

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ABQ Botanic Garden Free Admission Coupon for May 11

May 9, 2012 by  
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We mentioned this freebie before, but here’s a reminder that National Public Gardens Day is on Friday May 11, 2012, and Albuqueque BioPark Botanic Garden joins in the celebrations with demonstrations and talks.

Get free admission to ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden on National Public Gardens Day, May 11, thanks to a promotion by Better Homes and Gardens magazine and the American Public Garden Association. You need to sign up online at the link to get the free admission coupon, and tell them how many people you’re taking along – you can get free admission for up to ten people.

The Albuquerque BioPark garden is the only participating location in New Mexico, but if you’re traveling elsewhere, there are many other gardens in other states across the country participating in the National Public Gardens Day free admission offer. 

ABQ BioPark National Public Gardens Day celebrations run from 10 am – 2 pm on May 11, with info on gardening in the southwest, including water-wise gardening and landscape design and seed and container gardening, and featuring displays and demos from participants including the Albuquerque Rose Society, Albuquerque Bonsai Club, New Mexico Garden Railroad Club, New Mexico Native Plant Society, and many mulchy more.

Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden (and Aquarium) is located at 2601 Central Avenue NW.

–Tania

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I WISH YOU A GOOD LIFE.