By: Andrew Pick-Roth
When planting in the desert, getting your crop to thrive isn't always a guarantee, let alone getting it to survive. Plants that make their home here have adapted to the dry seasons and hot summer days and as such require less effort to keep growing when compared to un-acclimated crops. However, other arid deserts exist around the world with a variety of plants that will also grow well in New Mexico.
One of these similar environments is found in Kazakhstan, a country whose southern border is lined with arid shrublands. The landscape of areas like the Kazakh Desert would look very familiar to those living in New Mexico.
We planted several crops from this area in the DOT Garden, in the hopes that their traits that helped them survive elsewhere, like the ability to conserve water, will help them thrive in New Mexico as well. One of these plants is the Kazakhstan eggplant, which is already growing happily in our meadow beds.
When adopting crops from other areas, it is also worth looking into what sorts of techniques the farmers from these similar areas may have employed that you can adopt as well. New ways of growing our own crops may prove fruitful as well!