By: Cassie McClure
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News 6.3.22
On a beautiful Thursday morning, a relaxed crowd gathered at the Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Demonstration Garden for the return of the annual Spring Stroll on May 26. With coffee and donuts, visitors could stroll the garden outside the LCU administration building at 680 N. Motel Boulevard and learn about drought-tolerant landscaping, get samples of Class A+ compost, talk to local experts about soil and irrigation systems, and receive one of the 250 drought-tolerant plants to add to their own garden.
LCU Water Conservation Program Coordinator Rhonda Diaz was in her element; during COVID giving residents tips on plants was much harder. But now, Diaz and local experts in soil and irrigation could answer questions about what and how to grow in the desert.
“We want people to come out to events like these to see gorgeous plants that can help them save water in their garden,” said Diaz.
LCU's compost, resulting from solids removed from the wastewater treatment process, contains micronutrients like zinc, manganese, copper, and boron – all beneficial for plant growth and sometimes lacking in local soil. The dewatered biosolids are transported from the Jacob Hands Wastewater Treatment Facility (JHWWTF) and dried on a five-acre cement floor at the LCU West Mesa Wastewater Treatment Facility. The compost “cooks” at 131 degrees Fahrenheit to kill off harmful bacteria.
Residents can receive 10 five-gallon buckets per trip to JHWWTF at 2851 W. Amador Avenue. While they are encouraged to bring their own buckets, empty and filled buckets are available for pickup on a first come first serve basis.
Visitors to the Spring Stroll were given a copy of the Demonstration Garden Guide, which describes more than 60 different species that use very little water and are grown in LCU’s Demonstration Garden, which is open to the public during business hours. Find the guide online at:
LCU – Your Utility Connection. Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides clean, safe, and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at: las-cruces.org/180/Utilities
For emergencies, call Dispatch at 526-0500.
PHOTO 1: Retired New Mexico State University Professor Dr. Bill Lindemann, specializing in soil microbiology and biochemistry, answers resident questions.
PHOTO 2: LCU Heavy Equipment Operator Andy Valles helps visitors pick out drought-tolerant plants.
PHOTO 3: The Demonstration Guide led visitors through the LCU garden to see the living versions of plants in the book. The free guide book is available online.