The Valencia County Extension Master Gardeners have chosen Rachel and Guy Bate, of Los Lunas, as winners of Yard and Garden of the Month for July in the contest co-sponsored by the Valencia County News-Bulletin.

“Their yard had a nice variety of plants, including a vegetable garden that was very well protected,” said Merlinda Acevedo, president of the Valencia Master Gardeners.

As winners of this month’s contest, the Bates will receive a $100 cash prize. Their yard sits on a half-acre lot in Cypress Gardens.

Rachel Bate said that the couple has lived in the home since 2006.

“We have chosen some native plants, as well as heat-tolerant plants in order to minimize watering,” she said. “We had to put the netting around the vegetable plot in order to fight off the kangaroo mice,”

Guy Bate said there is quite a lot of wildlife on the mesa that would like to sample the vegetables.

“We are very blessed to live with all the natural critters, which we feed and observe daily,” he said.

They also try to put in plants and shrubs that benefit pollinators.

The deadline for entries in next month’s contest is Friday, Aug. 20, and the contest continues on a monthly basis through the growing season in October.

To nominate a yard/garden submit:

  • The name and telephone number of the yard/garden owner;
  • The address of where the yard/garden is located (all nominated yards/gardens must be in Valencia County);
  • A brief statement of why the yard/garden deserves the award;
  • Nominations for the August contest are due at noon, Friday, Aug. 20, and must be submitted via email to either Rigo Chavez at chavrf66@gmail.com or Merlinda Acevedo at mercruz_2000@yahoo.com;
  • Nominators may also submit up to two photos of the nominated yard/garden via email.

The Valencia County Master Gardeners is a community service program of the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service and provides courses and information to help community members improve their gardening skills.

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.