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NMSU Valencia County Extension to host fifth annual Home & Garden Expo

LOS LUNAS ? Spring-like days in February make a person start thinking about outdoor activities, including gardening. One way to get ready for the true spring days is to attend the Valencia County Home & Garden Expo.

New Mexico State University?s Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service will present its fifth annual Home and Garden Expo from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Friday, March 20, at UNM-Valencia Campus, 280 La Entrada Road in Tome.

?This is a fun way to welcome in spring,? said Laura Bittner, Valencia County Extension program director, of the free event. ?It?s time to start thinking about gardening and how to use the produce grown. I know our presenters will provide interesting information to be used in both the home and garden.?

Jannine Cabossel, known as the Tomato Lady of Santa Fe, will be the keynote speaker. She will speak on an artisan farmer?s journey to a more sustainable way of life.

?I call myself an artisan farmer,? she said, ?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.

As a member of two gardening organizations in Santa Fe, the Santa Fe County Master Gardeners Association and Home Grown New Mexico, Cabossel shares 25 years of growing experience and knowledge when conducting classes, giving talks or posting on her website, giantveggiegardener.com.

Participants will be able to choose between two tracks of programs ? outdoor or indoor.

Outdoor programs will pertain to gardening. The three sessions will be:
? ?Successful Tomato Growing,? presented by a Valencia County Master Gardener;
? ?Soil Health: Building the Foundation,? presented by Newt McCarty, Valencia County Extension agricultural agent; and
? ?Drip Irrigation,? presented by Dan Smeal, professor and irrigation research scientist at NMSU?s Agricultural Science Center at Farmington.

Meanwhile indoors, participants will be learning about:
? ?Food Preservation,? presented by Cindy Davis, NMSU Bernalillo County program director;
? ?Color Me Crazy!? presented by Laura Bittner, NMSU home economist and Valencia County program director; and
? ?Cooking from the Garden,? presented by members of the Sunshine Mid-Valley Extension Association of New Mexico club.
RSVP is requested by March 17 by calling the Valencia County Extension office at 505-565-3002.