On behalf of Seed2Need, we would like to thank you for the financial support you provided to help us grow fresh produce for the families in our community suffering from food insecurity. I am sending you this year-end report to let you know what went well, what did not go well, and our plans for 2022.
2021 Year-End Report
This year, our primary crops were fruit, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and green chile. Seed2Need volunteers harvested apples, pears, peaches and plums from two Seed2Need orchards, as well as from other orchards in Corrales and the North Valley. All produce was donated to Roadrunner Food Bank and to five food pantries in Sandoval and Bernalillo Counties:
- St. Felix Pantry
- Casa Rosa Food Pantry
- The Storehouse
- Rio Grande Food Project
- St. John’s Episcopal Food Pantry
Produce donated to Roadrunner Food Bank was distributed throughout New Mexico.
Our total 2021 harvest was 85,626 pounds.
- In 2021, fruit made up a significant percentage of our total harvest. We had a huge fruit crop because there were no hard frosts while the fruit trees were in bloom. Fruit trees throughout the Rio Grande Valley were so heavily loaded that branches had to be supported to prevent the limbs from breaking.
2021 Fruit Crop:
- In order to make Seed2Need more sustainable, project leadership was turned over to a team of long-term Seed2Need volunteers. Project founders, Penny and Sandy Davis, continued to be actively involved, but as volunteers and consultants rather than as the project leads.
- In 2021, volunteers contributed over 3,000 hours helping Seed2Need prune fruit trees, transplant seedlings, plant tomatoes and chile, glean fruit, and clean up the gardens at the end of season. We could not do a project like this without the help of the business organizations and members of the general public who volunteer to help.
- Weather – Although New Mexico summers are hot and the state is experiencing a severe drought, we had several weeks of cloudy weather and light showers during our summer “monsoon” season. We believe this brief period of cooler weather helped the tomatoes set more fruit.
- For the past fourteen years, we have been successful starting green chile from seed but 2021 was different. Very little of our chile seed germinated. We started chile seed multiple times. We also tried different batches of seed and different varieties but we had little success. Our best guess is that the seed was not viable.
Recommendations for 2022
- Increase chile production by reducing the spacing between the plants to 18”. Also purchase chile seed from a different vendor and start extra trays of seed in case there is poor germination.
- Reduce the number of tomato varieties planted and focus on the varieties that were the most productive in 2021. Those varieties are Bella Rosa, a determinate variety, and Big Beef, an indeterminate variety. Also reduce the spacing on Bella Rosa to 18” to help the plants support each other. However, leave the Big Beef, a larger plant, at 36” spacing.
- During planting, sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons of gypsum around the base of each tomato seedling. In 2021, gypsum seemed to reduce the blossom end rot
- Recruit additional volunteers by serving as a mentor at the 2022 Sandoval County Master Gardener training.
Thank you again for helping Seed2Need provide fresh fruits and vegetables to needy families in our community. Together, we are making a difference.
The Board of Directors and volunteers of Seed2Need