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I don’t know if it’s because I grew up on a farm, but I’ve always been drawn to the farmers’ markets.

In college, my roommate and I would go to the market on Saturday mornings for fresh flowers. And to scope on the hottie farmers.

After college, I worked long hours, I didn’t have time for my own vegetable garden. So I depended on the farmers’ markets to feed me.

Every new city or town in which I’ve lived, I’ve sought out the local market.

Now that I live in Albuquerque, I’ve found a great community at the downtown growers’ market. I’m grateful to have been on the “inside” for the last two summers, helping Sandra sell her delicious food and drinks. But now I’m sad – the last market of the season for us was this past Halloween weekend.

So no more of this adorableness greeting me each Saturday morning:

That’s Helen, Patty and Sophia – their booth was next door to Sandra’s, so they spoiled us. A LOT.

And no more visits from the fine Lewis Casey (sans his sunflower head you might be more used to seeing him wearing):

All summer, Lewis brought treats from his garden for Sandra and me – peppers, figs, pomegranates! Thanks Lewis!

It was a busy fun day, so I didn’t get a chance to get photos of everyone. But a big thank you to all the farmers, in particular, Viva Verde Farm, Chispas Farm, Amyo Farm, and Dragon Farm. You guys fed me all summer, so thank you! And thanks especially to Sandra for two very fun summers in a row. I’m going to miss your farm bowl, girl!

I managed to get a shot of the pet costume contest:

Haha, bulldogs dressed as tiny sharks – people are funny with their dogs!

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here!

Hello pinto beans, and happy Saturday.

I usually post Monday through Friday, not on Saturdays. But there was a full moon lunar eclipse last night, and I read that during the days surrounding an eclipse, you should concentrate on doing what you love. Even if it’s only for a little while.

I love writing, I love photography, I love fresh vegetables.

And I LOVE this time of year. The farmers are back! I’m supposed to call them growers, I think, it’s the Downtown Growers’ Market. I’m partial to calling them farmers though.

Rainbow chard is so photogenic, isn’t it? I say that with full awareness that this photo is not great – this particular booth was busy. I went back later to take more shots, but they were sold out. Which is great – I’d rather have people actually eat the stuff than me try to capture its inherent beauty.

Edible Calendula flowers from the good guys at Viva Verde farm’s booth. They offered me one, but I said nah. They’d be great on a salad, though. I should’ve taken one to tuck behind my ear.

One of my favorite local bands, Three String Bale. That’s Bard on the left, Sarah, and Tom. Bluegrass music makes the world a better place. Thanks guys!

It wouldn’t be New Mexico without Chile peppers.

I don’t know if everyone shares my love of farmers’ markets. When I was in college, I used to go every Saturday. There’s just something about seeing piles of fresh vegetables that makes me happy.

My oldest brother might say, “Blehhhh” to this picture because he hates beets. But I love them! I cook them in the most ridiculous way – in the toaster oven. It’s true. I trim them down but leave the skins on, put them in tin foil, and coat them with Olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. Then I pop them in the toaster oven for about an hour, depending on how big they are. The skins peel right off when they’re done. So easy.

Last week for a pool party, I sliced them and added a dollup of chevre, put toothpicks in them and served them as an appetizer. They were delish. How could they not be when you start with vegetables that fresh?

I couldn’t leave the market without a bouquet.

I loooooooove the bouquets at the Downtown Growers’ Market. There’s one guy who lives in the North Valley and his bouquets are amazing. He made special mention of the maroon Bachelor’s Buttons. Pretty cool.

My favorite part of the market is my friend Sandra, who serves Farmers’ Frito Pies and fresh teas. She was really busy this morning, but here’s a shot of her from last summer:

She fed me all last summer – I’ve never felt healthier. Her Frito pies are amazing. She serves them in an oriental food take-out container. She starts with lightly seasoned Pinto beans, then adds a layer of Basmati rice seasoned with Tumeric, then pours a Red Chile Calabacitas over the top. Then she adds some Sunflower seeds, a little Olive oil, some Cilantro and Frito chips on top. It’s a really great way to start the morning. Thanks, girl!

I think that satisfies my eclipse duties – writing, photographing, fresh vegetables, great music, delicious food, a blue, blue sky and gorgeous flowers. And it’s not even noon. How lucky am I?

Hello melon slices, and happy Tuesday. Welcome back to the Good To Grow site.

Today we’re going on a field trip to the season opening of the Albuquerque Downtown Growers’ Market held at Robinson Park (8th and Central) on Saturday morning, June 5th.

I realize this may be a risky bet – I might alienate readers who came here for plant or garden advice. If that does happen, too bad for them. This blog is for locals, too. And for my entertainment, of course. I’m highly entertained by the farmers – they fed me all last summer!¹

Plus, I’ll bet there are a few curious people out there who wonder what a New Mexico growers’ market looks like. There’s the obligatory red chiles, of course.

Live music and families having a good time.

I’ll be introducing you to some of my favorite farmers and artists as the summer progresses. For today, I just want you to get the flavor of the market.

I don’t know why anyone buys vegetables from the grocery store during the summer. Who wouldn’t want the freshest veggies possible?

Awwwww, cute girl in a cute dress.

Besides the farmers, the growers’ market also showcases local artists and their creations. There are so many talented artists in this city.

If this is mindcrushingly boring for out-of-towners, you’re welcome to bitch about it in the comments section. I’ll take your opinion into account. Then I’ll probably ignore it, haha!

This sign cracks me up.

I prefer to have kind folks grow the food for me – they can do all the hard work, and I’ll reap the benefits, thank you very much.

Do you and your family visit your local farmers’ markets? Or do you grow all your own veggies?

In the coming weeks, I’m also going to shine a spotlight on some families who’ve decided to grow their own food (not on the scale of these farmers, but enough to feed the family all summer and fall) right in the middle of the city. I love urban gardeners!

I hope you enjoyed a peek at a New Mexico growers’ market. I’ll be back tomorrow with a new edition of the Plant Lady Chronicles. Hope to see you back here. Until then, happy gardening!


¹ My small plant care business keeps me so busy with everyone else’s plants, that I don’t have time to dedicate to growing my own veggies at home. Thankfully, there are lots of folks who do make the time.

Hello chives, and happy Monday. Happyish, anyway.

Have you ever been in one of those moods, where you’re not really blue, you’re more like purple, or red?

Mondays are weird for me. I feel that tug, everyone goes back to work on Mondays. It’s time to get down to business. To straighten up, to buckle down.

But I work all weekend, so to me, Mondays, well, let’s just say I try to minimize my workload. I don’t want to cheat you or anything – you came all the way over here. Hence the pretty pictures.

It’s been an interesting weekend – the Downtown Growers’ Market opened, there was the Kosmos Bizarre Bazaar, which was awesome. The high temp topped off at 102 degrees. Nothing compared to some parts of the world, but hot for us here in Albuquerque. Still, I think a good time was had by all. It’s June, that just makes people cheerful, right?

I took my camera along. I’ll warn you upfront – if you don’t like meeting farmers and artists, you’re not going to like this blog very much in the coming weeks. Sorry if that’s boring to you. See, I believe these people are our collective soul. They’re doing what they love. Well, part-time anyway. They all scramble to find ways to make a living, so they might be servers on the side, or work at a bookstore.

If I can shine a spotlight on them, in my own small way, that’s making the world a better place.¹ I hope everyone who reads about them is inspired to find a path that leads them to happiness. For me, that path involves plants, gardens and writing. For these folks, it involves feeding their neighbors, making beautiful jewelry, painting, making art.

This crazy world can seem pretty crummy, especially lately. It’s not though, it’s filled with wonderful people. Come back, I’ll introduce you to some of them.


¹ That’s one thing I know for sure I want to do. Make the world a better place.

Just as gardeners and farmers toil for vegetables, most houseplant lovers live for new growth and blossoms. If you’re not a plant lover, but would like to be, let me introduce you to the babies. They are a rich source of information on the health of the plant (I’ll explain that in a minute).

Baby Schefflera leaf

Baby Schefflera leaf

Isn’t it adorable? Scheffleras are not outdoor plants (at least not in Albuquerque). This one was outside only because I took it out to prune it. They don’t like the hot sun, so I pruned it in the shade of the tree in the back yard.

Here’s another baby:

Dragon tree baby shoots

Dragon tree baby shoots

This Dragon tree is in one of my mortgage offices. Someone broke off the stalk and took the top part. Cleaning crew? Employees? Not a clue. All I know is I came in a few weeks ago and found a broken stalk. Happily, the plant responded as if it had been pruned with clippers and I have two babies.

Here’s what the older stalks of that plant look like:

Dragon Tree

Dragon Tree

Yeah, he’s all wild, but they like it that way, so I haven’t stalked him to stand him up straight.

Here are some baby Philodendron leaves from that same office:

Baby Philodendron leaves

Baby Philodendron leaves

See how perfect they are with that glorious color and shape? Baby leaves, regardless of what kind of plant, should be perfect. There should be no marks on the leaves, no discolored patches, no tears. If there is anything wrong with the baby leaf, chances are, the plant is being overwatered. Not always, but usually.

Here’s a leaf I showed you two weeks ago. It’s getting so big!

Baby Aglaonema leaf

Baby Aglaonema leaf

There’s another blossom coming where I cut the other two off, can you see that? This baby leaf makes me happy because it’s so healthy. This Aglaonema plant tells me when it’s thirsty by letting its lower, older leaves get brown and crunchy. If there’s anything wrong with a new leaf, I check the soil for moisture right away.

This is a general rule of thumb that can be applied to all sorts of houseplants. If it’s thirsty, the older lower leaves will turn brown and crunchy. If it’s getting too much water, the new leaves will be disfigured or discolored. They might even turn black before they unfurl. Stick your finger in the dirt to find out for sure, or get a moisture meter.

If you have questions, please let me know!

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About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.