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NMSU hoop-house workshops scheduled around the state

Gardeners and small acreage producers: Do you want to extend your growing season? One way is to have a hoop house to start plants earlier in the spring.

Joran Viers, Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service county director and horticulture specialist, helps pull the plastic shell over a hoop-house framework. Viers will be among the trainers conducting construction workshops in various New Mexico towns. (NMSU Photo by Jane Moorman)

New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service will be conducting seven hoop-house construction workshops during October and November in various communities around the state. The public is invited to participate in the hands-on participation event.

"During a series of workshops for farmers' market vendors, the producers indicated they would like to know more about extending the growing season with hoop houses," said Michael Patrick, NMSU Extension community resource and economic development specialist. Patrick is coordinating the program, which is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant from the Western Center for Risk Management Education at Washington State University. "We are providing these trainings to fulfill that request."

Garden enthusiasts in Los Lunas, Anthony, Black Hat, Tucumcari, Portales, Silver City and Tijeras have an opportunity to learn how to build the hoop-house structure, which is 16 feet wide by 32 feet long and made of PVC pipe, wood and greenhouse plastic covering.

The training will be conducted by Del Jimenez, Extension agriculture specialist with the Rural Agricultural Improvement and Public Affairs Project, who designed the hoop-house structure; Kyle Tator, Valencia County Extension agricultural agent; and Joran Viers, Bernalillo County Extension director and horticulturalist.

"This is a great way for a kitchen gardener, or even a farmers' market grower, to extend the growing season," Tator said. "Materials for this size hoop house cost about $1,000. This workshop gives people an opportunity to learn how to build the structure."

The workshops will be held:

?Oct. 20 in Los Lunas (Valencia County) with Tator as the trainer.

?Nov. 2 in Black Hat, north of Gallup (San Juan County) with Jimenez as the trainer.

?Nov. 5 in Anthony (Dona Ana County) with Viers as the trainer.

?Nov. 9 in Tucumcari (Quay County) with Jimenez as the trainer.

?Nov. 10 in Portales (Roosevelt County) with Jimenez as the trainer.

?Nov. 19 in Silver City (Grant County) with Tator as the trainer.

?The November date has not been set for the Tijeras workshop (Bernalillo County) with Jimenez.

The free workshops begin at 8 a.m. Contact the NMSU Extension office in each county for workshop location.