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I have written about hemp several times. Now that it may become legal to grow in New Mexico, I am seriously thinking about getting some acreage to become a hemp farmer.

About 25 years ago, I discovered lots of cheap land in Canada, and I spent a couple of years looking for a piece I liked so I could grow it. It’s been legal there for decades. We are so slow in this country, but that’s not a topic for this website!

Anyway, being a hemp farmer has been on my radar for years! I might finally get my chance….

Have Hemp Will Travel is my latest blog post at BuildDirect, where I am a home and garden writer. Hemp to the rescue for farmers, producers, consumers, and the environment! Let’s start building planes, trains and automobiles out of hemp! Again!

hemp vehicles, model T, henry ford

Henry Ford in his hemp Model T
photo Creative Commons from PBS


That is the question.

Garden planning includes planting schedules, and that means knowing what to start ahead indoors, and what to seed directly into the ground outdoors. It depends on your climate.

A friend of mine in Alabama plants tomato seeds right in the ground. The season is long, and there’s plenty of moisture. But that is unheard of in our Zone 5! Tomatoes need to be started inside to get a jump on the short season.

Start indoors

Any plant that needs a long growing season to produce fruit or flowers needs to be started indoors. Short season plants that you want a multiple harvest from should also be started ahead.

nursery starts, taos new mexico

Tomatoes (photo)
Peppers (photo)
Brussel Sprouts
Winter Squash
Most annual flowers – Sweet Peas and Nasturtiums, for instance, do not handle transplanting very well. (photo)

Direct seed

direct seeded in spring, taos new mexicoMost root crops do better seeded right into a prepared bed outside, but there are a few others, too.

Peas (photo)
Sweet Peas


Some crops can be planted both ways successfully. Like I said, if you want multiple harvests, do succession plantings. Start seed indoors for early planting and harvest, and direct seed for harvest later in the season. Anything that can be harvested in 50 or 60 days can be seeded either way.

Swiss Chard (photo)

swiss chard starts, taos new mexico


Of course, nothing in the gardening world is exempt from experimentation. I worked on a 350 acre farm. In spring, Bob, the owner, was starting corn in flats. I’d never seen this before. Bob’s family had run this farm for generations. It wasn’t like he had no experience!

‘Bob? (pause) What are you doing?’

‘Starting corn!’ Like that was totally normal.


‘I want to see if I can have the earliest corn this year at the County Fair.’


‘It’s all an experiment,’ he said with a mostly straight face.

It didn’t make a difference, because of the way corn grows, but he had to find out. We all found out!

‘It’s all an experiment.’ I have taken those words with me the last 34 years. Don’t be afraid to experiment in your garden! Keep good notes on what works and what doesn’t, and try a different experiment next year.


The Taos Seed Exchange and the Taos Seed Swap are free community services. They do incur expenses, though, especially the seed swap on March 28th.

This year’s event will cost almost $1000. Here is a partial breakdown:

150 – The Fireplace Room at the Quality Inn
435 – Taos News 1/2 page ad
200 – Santa Fe Reporter ad
100 – Supplies (paper, ink, pens, tape, envelopes, signs, scissors, etc)
28 – Postage for seed donations received

913 – Total so far

UPDATE: As of April 15, we raised $920! We’ve got it covered! Thank you so much! You guys are great.

UPDATE: As of March 24, we have raised $520. The donations have been generous, even at the seed exchange stations! You all are wonderful! You can still donate through PayPal below, or at any of the seed exchange stations (Taos Herb, Pieces, More Pieces, Habitat Restore, and ReThreads). There will be a donation jar at the Seed Swap on Saturday, too. Thank you!!!

I’m reaching out to my community and everyone who has supported the Taos Seed Exchange since its beginning two years ago. This project has been built by all of Taos, northern New Mexico, and gardeners and seed savers around the world. I never could have pulled this off by myself. That sounds like a speech at the Academy Awards, but I am truly grateful!

Your donations will go to a worthwhile cause that Taos needs. Your names will be listed as Seed Swap Fairies, unless you prefer to remain anonymous. If you have a website I can link to, please let me know!

Locally, there are donation jars at the Habitat ReStore, Pieces, More Pieces, ReThreads and Taos Herb. You can also use the PayPal button below, or contact me for other payment methods. This is not tax deductible, as I do not have non-profit status. Thank you so much! Let’s make this the best seed swap ever!

Many, many, many deep and heartfelt thanks!

Taos Seed Exchange, Taos, New Mexico

2nd Annual Taos Seed Swap


How to Start Seeds


I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here to explain how to start seeds. There is a lot of great information already written!

The basics are:

Get fresh seed.
Use containers with drainage holes.
Use or make a potting mix that holds water and lets it drain (a paradox, I know).
Plant your seeds, and water them in.
Put the container in a warm place, which can be dark.
Move the container to sunlight once the seeds have germinated.
Watch them grow!

Here are a few detailed articles from a couple of my favorite magazines, Mother Earth News and Organic Gardening.

Best Tips for Starting Seeds Indoors

Starting Seeds Indoors

14 Tips for Starting Your Own Seeds

If you want to be really self-sufficient and make your own potting soil, check out these articles

How to Make Your Own Potting Soil

Potting Soil Recipes

Let the season begin!

spinach seedlings


2nd Annual Taos Seed Swap


The 2nd Annual Taos Seed Swap will be held on

March 28th from 10am-2pm at the Quality Inn

on Paseo Sur south of KOKO and across from Friday Motors. Come trade your seed stash for heirloom and non-GMO seed, some of which was locally grown. Share your knowledge and learn something new talking to gardeners from northern New Mexico.

Here are a few of the donations we’ve received!

taos seed exchange, seed swap