Live near the Rio Grande
Albuquerque's North Valley comes with unique advantages in the desert
Living in the North Valley in Albuquerque has many perks. From water rights dating back centuries to growing your own food, raising animals, and having recreational activities at your fingertips, the quality of life is wonderful. The neighborhoods range from luxury homes on Rio Grande Blvd, to smaller single-family homes on large lots. Some of the most scenic properties in Albuquerque are in the North Valley, including Los Poblanos lavender farm, several bed and breakfasts, and the Dietz Farm area. Check out the Rio Grande Farm, an open space right off of Montaño. In October, the International Balloon Fiesta lights up the sky with the world’s most photographed event, with a heavy show of wild color over the North Valley. This area of town is also where you can pick up local plants, organic seeds, farming and landscape supplies from local businesses like Plants of the Southwest, Dan’s feed and supply, among others. Dan’s even sells baby chicks in the Spring, and will walk you through raising them. If you’re looking for flexibility with raising animals and growing your own food, consider the North Valley.
There's so much to do right in your backyard
As an outdoor enthusiast, I can speak to the quality of life the North Valley provides when you’re willing and able to get outside. Leisurely strolls in the Bosque are a short distance from anywhere in the area, and if the Rio Grande isn’t immediately accessible, several old acequias run through neighborhoods from centuries back, creating an opportunity for anyone to get moving. If you’re a horseback riding enthusiast, this is the area for you! You can often board your horses on your property and just ride straight from there to one of the available open spaces. The Rio Grande Farm area has a great history to it, stemming from community activism. When developers determined they’d like to build more homes right by the Rio Grande, Albuquerque residents stepped up, organized, and created a multi-use space for observing nature, educating about farming, and providing an accessible place for people of all abilities to experience. Check it out!
Even the restaurants in the North Valley utilize the outdoors beautifully. Most notably, I’d say Farm & Table, Los Poblanos Restaurant, Casa Rondeña, and El Pinto do a wonderful job getting people outdoors and creating an ambiance that warms the soul.
5 Tips for growing a garden in the desert
How to keep your plants growing in Albuquerque conditions
As an avid gardener near the North Valley in Albuquerque, I’ve learned through trial and error (and a lot of error) how to make a garden actually grow here. To save you some time, here’s what I’ve found that works well:
- Start with soil: Over the past couple years, I’ve been working at building up my soil over the top of dry, goat-head filled sand, and this year, it’s working beautifully. Have you heard of sheet mulching? It’s a great way to create rich soil in less-than-desirable conditions.
- Automatically water: The North Valley desert is no joke on plants. One day of intense sun can strip a plant if it doesn’t receive any water.
- Rely on mulch: This will help with water retention, and keeping the nutrients from drying out of the soil.
- DO NOT PLANT STARTS until Labor Day. Read that again. Every year, I convince myself that I can plant things in April and the beginning of May, and every year, the starts I’ve nurtured for a couple months have died. Learn from me!
- Raise chickens: If you’re already doing a garden, chickens will help tremendously in breaking down soil and fertilizing it further. They’re very easy to raise, too!
The North Valley gives you a lot of flexibility, especially if you find a place that comes with water rights. If you have a green thumb and need to nurture it, this area is for you.
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