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50 Crops for New Mexico

Legumes, Seeds and Nuts:

Dry Beans; Pinto, Black, Anasazi, Mitla and other

  • Bio-cultural Crop
  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Mexico, Bolivia.
  • Growing season: Annual / summer crop planted after last frost
  • Days to maturity: Average 80 days
  • Yield: Depends on variety & region.
  • Potential cash return: Depends on variety but the market pays better for the Anasazi and Mitla bean.
  • Water needs: Generally very drought tolerant
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Bean beetle is the main pest in NM.
  • Cultural significance: One of the 3 sisters (with corn and squash) and staple protein for all the NM cultural groups. Used ceremonial with most indigenous tribes.
  • Nutritional Highlights: 20% Protein.

Peas

  • Bio-cultural crop
  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East 7,000 years domestication (fertile crescent)
  • Growing season: Annual crop grown usually in spring or fall.
  • Days to maturity: Average 65 days.
  • Potential cash return: At $5.00- $7.00 USD/lb Snap and snow peas are labor intensive (at harvest) but great cash crop especially where they can be harvested for 3-4 months at the right time of year.
  • Water needs: Medium
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Mildly susceptible to different types of mildews
  • Cultural significance: Traditional food of Hispanics and indigenous peoples
  • Nutritional highlights: Significant amounts of vitamin B & C, potassium, phosphorus

Garbanzo

  • Bio-cultural crop
  • Bioregion: All but best in Basin, Range and Southern Rockies.
  • Origin: Domestication 6,000 years in the fertile crescent (Eastern Mediterranean to the Middle East).
  • Growing season: Mid spring- summer
  • Days to maturity:
  • Potential cash return: Staple food but there is a great cash market with selling the black variety and could also be made into black hummus.
  • Water needs: Semi drought tolerance.
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: If planted out of season occasionally susceptible to weevils in the seed pods.
  • Cultural significance: Traditionally served at all the feast days of the native indigenous people especially with the Pueblo tribes. In the Anglo- European culture made into various forms of Hummus.
  • Nutritional Highlights: 17% protein.

Fava Bean

  • Bioregion: Mainly in the Southern Rockies
  • Origin: Fertile crescent about 5,000 years ago.
  • Growing season: Annual crop. Spring to early summer:
  • Days to maturity: Average 90 days.
  • Potential cash return: Tradition staple food.
  • Water needs: Medium
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Occasional problems with flee beetles
  • Cultural significance: Traditional staple food crop of the Hispanic culture.
  • Nutritional Highlights: 25% Protein, most amino acids are present and it is a good source of vitamin B1, B6 and E.

Pecan

  • Bioregion: Southern basin along the Rio Grande but also any places with water in Southern N.M.
  • Origin: Native to Southern US and Mexico, truly one of the only native plants on this list.
  • Growing season: Perennial crop. Mid spring-Late fall.
  • Days to maturity: Average 230 days from flower to nut
  • Potential cash return: Excellent cash return. Long term investment. When left in the shell keeps well for 6 to 8 months to sell in the market after pecan season. Good in processed foods (pecan pay, cookies, etc)
  • Water needs: High water requirement for high production but once established for small scale are surprisingly drought tolerant.
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Pecan weevil
  • Cultural significance: Highly prized by indigenous people up to a few 100 years ago.
  • Nutritional Highlights: High fat content (72%)

Walnut

  • Bioregion: Mainly in Basin range and South Southern Rockies and some Eastern plains.
  • Origin: S.E., Europe, W.& Central Asia.
  • Growing season: Perennial. Mid spring to mid fall
  • Days to maturity: Average 190 days Flower/ nut
  • Potential cash return: Since they are very few orchards in the NM, this crop has a great market cash potential.
  • Water needs: Moderate
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Occasionally walnuts are affected by walnut husk fly.
  • Nutritional highlights: Linoleic acid, Phosporus, B1 & B2

Sunflower

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Western US, domesticated about 4,000 years ago.
  • Growing season: Mid spring- mid fall.
  • Days to maturity: Annual crop. Average 110 days.
  • Potential cash return: Traditional staple food, oil and other products.
  • Water needs: Medium to light
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: No major pests except birds when the seeds are ripening.
  • Cultural significance: Important food source of the indigenous peoples of western US.
  • Nutritional Highlights: 23% Protein high in Vitamin E and many essential amino-acids.

Peanuts

  • Bioregion: Mainly in the South and Central Eastern planes.
  • Origin: N.W. Argentina and Southern Bolivia, domesticated 3,500 years ago.
  • Growing season: Annual crop. Late spring to mid fall.
  • Days to maturity: Average 160 days
  • Potential cash return: Excellent cash return if you grow on a fairly large scale.
  • Water needs: Light water requirement.
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: No major ones.
  • Nutritional highlights: 16% protein and high in unsaturated oleic and linoleic acids.

Pistachio

  • Bioregion: Southern basin and Range mesas especially around Almogordo.
  • Origin: Native to Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey. Domesticated 2,500 years ago.
  • Growing season: Perennial tree. Mid spring- mid fall.
  • Days to maturity: 180 days Flower to Seeds.
  • Potential cash return: Excellent cash potential- high yield at $5.00 to7.00US Lb
  • Water needs: Fairly drought tolerant
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: No major pest problems.
  • Nutritional highlights: 20% Protein, 50% oil of which 80% is unsaturated.

Sesame

  • Bioregion: Most of the Basin and Range Provinces and Central- South Eastern Plains.
  • Origin: East Africa & India
  • Growing season: Annual Crop. Summer
  • Days to maturity: 115 days
  • Potential cash return: Huge potential- highly productive; yields 2200 lbs/ acre @ $2.5 lb. And has many value added potential products (from butter to sweet treats).
  • Water needs: Very drought tolerant.
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: None. Sesame is a complementary crop to be planted to prevent or stop damaging nematodes and soil born diseases
  • Nutritional highlights: Extremely nutritional and medicinal. High level of Calcium, phosphorus, Iron, Vitamin E and most B vitamins. Great for the eyes and liver.

Grains

Quinoa

  • Bioregion: Southern Rockies above 7,000 elevation.
  • Origin: Bolivia, Peru. 5,000 years old.
  • Growing season: Annual crop. Mid spring to mid fall
  • Days to maturity: Average 105 days.
  • Potential cash return: Fantastic potential with the market growing $ 1.5- 2.00 USD/Lb; High yield 1,600 to 2,000 lb/acre.
  • Water needs: Medium light water at early growth, then drought tolerant when it's at flowering and seed stage.
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Pest free.
  • Cultural significance: Mother grain of the Andes.
  • Nutritional highlights: Nutty flavor & fluffy texture. 18% protein rich in Lysine and methionine, high in iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.

Amaranth

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: 6,000 year old ancient grain from Mexico and Central America, highly revered by the Aztecs and Mayas.
  • Growing season: Annual summer crop.
  • Days to maturity: 110 days
  • Potential cash return: Super cash potential. As super nutritional grain yielding 1800- 2000 lbs/acre @ $ 1.5- 2.00 US/Lb.
  • Water needs: Very drought tolerant.
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Very few but occasionally in wet conditions; lygus can be a pest.
  • Nutritional Highlights: Exceptionally nutritious. 18% protein, high level of lysine and 7 of the 8 essential amino-acids. Also, with generous amounts of calcium, iron and phosphorus.

Vegetables & Herbs

Lettuce

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Mediterranean and Near East. Domesticated 6500 years ago in Egypt.
  • Growing season: Annual crop. Early spring to mid fall.
  • Days to maturity: 50 to 70 days
  • Potential cash return: Huge potential if one can produce it intensively in the end off season (especially in green houses or cold frame) or as value added in salad mixes.
  • Water needs: Medium water requirements
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: High level due to its saponates
  • Cultural significance: European influence
  • Nutritional Highlights: Good amounts of Vitamin A, C & B6 as well as riboflavin, thiamin, silica and calcium.

Chile

  • Biocultural crop
  • Bioregion: All except the far North of NM
  • Origin: Central America to Bolivia. 5,000 old crop.
  • Growing season: Depending on the bioregion but the average is mid spring- mid fall
  • Days to maturity: Annual crop. Depends on variety Average 90 days.
  • Potential cash return: The most grown vegetable cash crop in the States, so competition is high so best made into value added products like salsas, chili oil or jams per example.
  • Water needs: Medium water requirements
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Since chili is such a commercial crop in NM there are a number of pests that plague the chili, number one the chili weevil as well as a number of fungal and viral diseases to be aware of with your cultural practices.
  • Cultural significance: All cultures in NM use chili in almost every meal or at least once a day, and always served for feast days. Used as a spice, condiment and medicine.
  • Nutritional highlights: Substantial amounts of Vitamin A & C. Lowers blood pressure, aids digestion and fights infection.

Sweet pepper

  • Bioregion: All except far north of NM.
  • Origin: Central America & Mexico
  • Growing season: Annual Crop. Depends on the Bioregion but the average mid spring- mid fall.
  • Days to maturity: Average 80 days
  • Potential cash return: Huge untapped market as most growers grow chili, so, way less competition in growing sweet peppers especially colored bell or Pimiento sweet pepper types.
  • Water needs: Medium
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: There are a number of pests that plague sweet peppers, number one the chili weevil as well as a number of fungal and viral diseases to be aware of with your cultural practices.
  • Cultural significance: Not nearly as cultural significance as chili.
  • Nutritional Highlights: Very rich in Vitamin A & C

Tomatoes

  • Bioregion: All except in the far North of NM
  • Origin: South America
  • Growing season: Annual crop. Depending on the Bioregion but generally tomatoes are transplanted after last frost, usually end of May- October.
  • Days to maturity: Depends on variety but average is 85 days.
  • Potential cash return: Fantastic cash return if sold in the off season and producing in late fall, winter and spring by growing in green houses, especially heirloom types or made into salsas and pastes.
  • Water needs: Light to medium water requirements
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: In NM rarely susceptible to several fungal and bacterial diseases usually due to excessive water at blossom time.
  • Cultural significance: Bio-cultural crop that all cultures enjoy.
  • Nutritional highlights: Generous amounts of Vitamin A & C and amino-acids (depends on variety)

Potatoes

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Peru, Bolivia & Chile. About 7,000 years ago.
  • Growing season: Mid spring to mid fall.
  • Days to maturity: 100 days
  • Potential cash return: Good potential if one grows the heirloom colored types and supplies the early market or stores them to supply in the off season being in late fall, winter and early spring.
  • Water needs: Medium to High
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Good cultural practices usually prevent the various fungal and viral problems that potatoes are prone to. They need rich well drained soil and don't like excess water.
  • Cultural significance: Not considered cultural important in NM but it is the most consumed vegetable in NM. So, a wide open potential awaits for sustainable local food supply.
  • Nutritional Highlights: Fair amounts of Calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin B1, B6 and C.

Sweet potatoes

  • Bioregion: Basin Range and South Eastern Plains
  • Origin: N. W. South America, about 7,500 years ago.
  • Growing season: Late spring- mid fall
  • Days to maturity: 160 days
  • Potential cash return: Fantastic, mostly all imported, no competition in NM and can be stored.
  • Water needs: Light
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: No significant problems
  • Nutritional Highlights: 12- 15 amino acids, substantial quantities of Vitamin A, B1, B2 and C.

Watermelon

  • Bioregion: Mainly Basin Range, Province and Central South Eastern Province but a number of short season varieties grow well in Southern Rockies and Colorado Plateau.
  • Origin: Sub-tropic southern Africa, domesticated 1,500 years ago.
  • Growing season: Annual Crop. Summer, plant after last frost.
  • Days to maturity: Depends on variety, average 90 days.
  • Potential cash return: If one grows small heirlooms yellow or orange.
  • Water needs: Light
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Very few problems but occasionally susceptible to fusarium wilt and fungal problems usually due to over watering as the fruit is developing.
  • Cultural significance: Used in ceremonial events with indigenous tribes as well as served in feast days.
  • Nutritional Highlights: Moderate quantities of Vitamin B1, B6 & C.

Melon

  • Bioregion: Mainly Basin Range, Province and Central South Eastern Province but a number of short season varieties grow well in Southern Rockies and Colorado Plateau.
  • Origin: Sub-Sahara Africa, Middle East. Domesticated 2,500 years ago.
  • Growing season: Annual crop. Summer and plant after last frost
  • Days to maturity: Depends on variety. Average 85 days.
  • Potential cash return: If one grows the extra early types to get first market or the green or white fleshed late season varieties that keep for several months into late fall.
  • Water needs: Medium
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Cucumber beetles and several fungal diseases.
  • Cultural significance: Used in ceremonial events with indigenous tribes as well as served in feast days.
  • Nutritional Highlights: Rich in Vitamin A and potassium.

Squash- Summer

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Mexico. One of the oldest crops to be domesticated; 10,000 years ago.
  • Growing season: Annual crop.Summer, after danger of last frost has passed.
  • Days to maturity: 55 days.
  • Potential cash return: Pretty good if one grows the heirloom varieties that no one else does.
  • Water needs: Medium
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: The only major problem in NM is the squash beetle.
  • Cultural significance:
  • Nutritional highlights: Seeds ('pepitas') rich in zinc

Winter Squash

  • Bio-cultural crop
  • Bioregion: All. Some species and varieties due better in the southern areas while others due best in the Northern regions.
  • Origin: Southern Central America to Peru over to Argentina. Domesticated 7,000 years ago.
  • Growing season: Annual crop. Summer, after last frost till mid fall.
  • Days to maturity: 100 days.
  • Potential cash return: If one grows the winter keeping varieties and stores them well and sells them in the winter thru mid spring.
  • Water needs: Medium
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: The only major problem in NM is the squash beetle. Control is catch them early by hand.
  • Cultural significance: One of the 3 sisters with corn and beans. Very traditional staple amongst indigenous tribes as well as Hispanic people . A serous delicious winter survival food.
  • Nutritional highlights: Very rich in anti-oxidants, Vitamin C & E and Beta carotenes, with moderate amounts of B1, B6 and potassium.

Onion

  • Bioregion: All. Short day types for the Southern regions, long day types for the Northern regions. Intermediate or neutral day for most of the State.
  • Origin: Central Asia, Near East. About 5,000 years ago.
  • Growing season: Early fall- mid summer in Basin Range and Southern Eastern Plains. Early spring- late summer in Southern Rockies, Colorado Plateau and North Eastern Plains.
  • Days to maturity: Depends on variety average 140 days
  • Potential cash return: For Northern growers growing winter keeping onions that they can sell to the market in the winter and early spring when few NM farmers have onions.
  • Water needs: Medium
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Mainly the pest called Onion Thrip.
  • Cultural significance: Staple food to all the cultural groups. Second most eaten vegetable in N.M., yet N.M. imports most of its onions especially during the winter months.
  • Nutritional highlights: High in Potassium, Iron, Vitamin C, organo-sulphur compounds which helps with cancer prevention (when used raw).

Garlic

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Central Asia, 5,000 years ago.
  • Growing season: In mild regions: early fall- early summer, in Northern cold regions: early spring to mid summer.
  • Days to maturity: Depends on variety. Average 60 days
  • Potential cash return: If grows best keeping type to sell in the off season Jan- March and better still make nice braids with dried flowers in between the braid.
  • Water needs: Medium
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: None in N.M.
  • Cultural significance: Used by all cultural groups as a staple spice. Essential ingredient in most cuisines.
  • Nutritional highlights: Strong antibiotic. Treats high blood pressure. Infection fighter. Aids digestion.

Carrots

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Near East, Central Asia Domesticated only 700 years ago.
  • Growing season: Early spring- mid fall
  • Days to maturity: Depends on variety average 75 days.
  • Potential cash return: If one grows the red or purple varieties and/or has good root cellar or stored in mulched ground in the milder climates and sells them in the off season December-March.
  • Water needs: Medium
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Rare in N.M. but occasional nematode outbreaks carrot fly or wire worms can be a problem.
  • Nutritional highlights: High in Beta Carotene (provitamin A) , Potassium and Vitamin C.

Sweet corn

  • Bioregion: All, except the very Northern parts of N.M.
  • Origin: Mexico and Central America. Domesticated 7,500 years ago.
  • Growing season: Annual Crop. Summer, after all danger of frost has passed.
  • Days to maturity: Average 85 days.
  • Potential cash return: Good potential if one grows colored sweet corns which can be sold fresh or roasted. If allowed to dry usually make an excellent flour corn for colored tortillas or corn bread.
  • Water needs: Medium- High
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Since corn plants and ears are so full of sugars it has it's set of insect problems in N.M., the main problem is the ear worm.
  • Cultural significance: Sweet corn has not been nearly the cultural significance as dry flour or dent corns but both indigenous and Hispanic groups often roast young sweet corn and then dry to make a N.M. food called 'chicos'.
  • Nutritional highlights: Rich in Vitamins A & E.

Broccoli

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Eastern Mediterranean and Italy. 4,000 years old in domestication.
  • Growing season: Mainly as a fall or spring crop for most areas except in the far north or higher elevations where it grows well in the summer.
  • Days to maturity: Average 75 days.
  • Potential cash return: If one produces broccoli in the off season in green houses, cold frames or under shade clothes depending whether one is looking for production in winter or summer.
  • Water needs: Moderate medium.
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Minimal insect problems, but growing out of season sometimes attracts aphids or flea beetles.
  • Nutritional highlights: One of the most nutritional vegetables. Very rich in vitamins A, B1, B6 and C, Iron Phosphorus, potassium, with good amounts of protein, thiamin and calcium.

Cabbage

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Mediterranean domesticated approximately 1,000 years ago.
  • Growing season: Early spring- late fall. Some varieties over winter.
  • Days to maturity: 110 days
  • Potential cash return: Fantastic potential if one produces or stores the cabbage for late fall or winter sales or make a value added product like fermented sauerkraut.
  • Water needs: Moderate
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Minimal but occasionally is bothered by flea beetles and aphids.
  • Nutritional highlights: Very high in Vitamin C, Minerals, Sulphur and Calcium as well as Vitamin U (To prevent or cure ulcers).

Cucumbers

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Domesticated in India 3,000 years ago
  • Growing season: Late spring- summer after all danger of last frost has past.
  • Days to maturity: 65 days.
  • Potential cash return: Growing in green houses for the off season production or as a value added product made into pickles.
  • Water needs: Moderate
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Flea and cucumber beetles can be a problem when plants are young and more susceptible.
  • Nutritional highlights: Modest amounts of vitamins B and C.

Chard

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Domesticated in Italy, Portugal & Spain about 2,000 years ago.
  • Growing season: Biennial crop. Early spring- late fall, year around in mild winter zones.
  • Days to maturity: 55 days
  • Potential cash return: Only if can produce chard in the winter when very few growers have it.
  • Water needs: Moderate light.
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Very rare but occasional flea beetle or leaf hoppers causing cosmetic damage.
  • Nutritional highlights: Very nutritious with good quantities of Vitamin A, B6, C, E, Phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium.

Beets

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Southern Europe, Western Asia. Domesticated 1,500 years ago.
  • Growing season: Biennial crop. Early spring thru late summer.
  • Days to maturity: 60 days.
  • Potential cash return: If one can produce beets in the winter by over wintering with mulch outdoors or stored in a root cellar, or value added as bottled pickled beets.
  • Water needs: Moderate.
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Occasionally some varieties are prone to downy mildew, usually from over watering.
  • Cultural significance: Traditional staple food for the Hispanic culture.
  • Nutritional Highlights: High Vitamin A, C, Calcium and Phosphorus.

Radish/ Daikon

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Radish originate in Eastern Mediterranean. Domesticated 5,000 years ago. Daikon in China 2,000 years ago.
  • Growing season: Annual crop. Spring & Fall, except in the far north where one can grow them in the summer and the far south one can grow them in the winter as well as the spring and fall.
  • Days to maturity: 30 days for Radish, 65 days for Daikon.
  • Potential cash return: Great potential for sales as Daikon pickles.
  • Water needs: Moderate to light.
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Susceptible to flea beetles when young.
  • Nutritional highlights: Great source of Vitamin C and some minerals.

Cilantro

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia. It has been widely grown in all parts of the world as a spice and culinary herb for at least 1,500 years
  • Growing season: Annual Crop. Early spring- Early fall, can over winter in mild southern areas of N.M.
  • Days to maturity: 50 days.
  • Potential cash return: Only by producing in the winter or value added by drying it or using it as a ingredient in salsas.
  • Water needs: Moderate light
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: None, except that it goes to seed quickly when it gets very hot in the summer.
  • Cultural significance: Used by the Hispanic people as a spice in many of their traditional dishes.
  • Nutritional highlights: Very rich in Vitamins A, C, Calcium and phosphorus.

Basil

  • Bioregion: All but grows best in the Basin and Range Province.
  • Origin: India, Northern Africa and the Near East. Domesticated 1,500 years ago.
  • Growing season: Annual crop. Late spring- summer. After all danger of frost has passed.
  • Days to maturity: 75 days.
  • Potential cash return: It can grow in a green house in the off season, being mainly late fall- winter thru early spring or drying it or making a value added product like fresh pesto.
  • Water needs: Moderate to high.
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: Tendency to get fungal problems from high humidity or over watering.
  • Nutritional highlights: Great digestive aid and strong anti-viral. Main active ingredient is thymoquinone.

Mint

  • strong>Bioregion: All
  • Origin: South Eastern Europe
  • Growing season: Perennial crop. Mid spring- early fall.
  • Days to maturity: 2-3 harvests per season.
  • Potential cash return: Fantastic potential sell in as fresh herb bunch or dry for winter tea. If made into essential oil, then it could be made into a toothpaste, cough syrups & lozenges, etc.
  • Water needs: Moderate to high.
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: With excess rainfall does have a tendency to fusarium wilt.
  • Cultural significance: Widely used by both indigenous and Hispanic peoples for winter tea.
  • Medicinal highlights: High anti-microbial properties.

Oregano

  • Bioregion: All
  • Origin: South and Eastern Europe to Central Asia. Widely used for 2,500 years especially by Greeks and Romans.
  • Growing season: Perennial herb crop. Mid spring- early fall.
  • Days to maturity: 2 -3 harvests per season.
  • Potential cash return: As fresh herb bunches, dry for use as spice in the winter or made into essential oil.
  • Water needs: Light
  • Pest resistance or potential problems: None
  • Nutritional highlights: Promotes digestion. Stimulates the appetite.