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NMSU Valencia County Extension to host home and garden expo

LOS LUNAS, N.M. - With gardening season just around the corner, many people are beginning to plan what to plant. Others are wondering how they will use the produce once it is harvested.

New Mexico State University's Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service may have the answers to both of these issues. The office will host a free home and garden expo from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, March 9, at the UNM-Valencia Campus student community center, 280 La Entrada Road, Los Lunas.

"This is a unique half-day conference that was very popular in its inaugural presentation last year," said Kyle Tator, the county's Extension agriculture agent. "There will be a track of workshops on gardening and a track that will address what to do with your garden produce in the home."

Participants will learn about flower and vegetable container gardening during a presentation by Debi Harrington; they will observe how to graft apple trees during a demonstration by NMSU Extension agricultural agents Peter Skelton, Joran Viers and Tator; and they will learn how to successfully raise tomatoes during a presentation by Valencia County Extension Master Gardener volunteers.

Gardening is not just about growing plants - for many people it is about producing food. During the home portion of the expo, participants will learn ways of preparing the vegetables in a cooking demonstration by Laura Bittner, NMSU Valencia County home economist; and how to preserve the produce, presented by Cindy Davies, NMSU Bernalillo County home economist.

"The cooking demos will be hands-on, with the participants preparing recipes with fresh garden produce," said Bittner. "I think people will really enjoy getting to taste the final dishes."

Attendees are encouraged to bring their seeds for a seed exchange to be held during the expo.