Nancy Petersen, High Desert Market Gardener – Biographies – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

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Nancy Petersen, High Desert Market Gardener

Name:  Nancy Petersen

Occupation:  Retired registered nurse

Place of Residence: Madras, Oregon

Background and Personal History: Nancy is retired after 45 years as a registered nurse and is disabled due to spinal issues. She has gradually learned adaptive gardening techniques to reduce the physical demands of gardening. Nancy has gardened in the High Desert of Central Oregon since 1974, where in some places there are only 45 frost-free days each year. She has learned a variety of techniques to protect crops to gain more days for better maturity.

Current Projects: Nancy runs a half-acre market garden, has a hoop house, winter greens, some green manures growing, and is expanding her berry fields as most do not grow berries in her area. Berries are imported from the Willamette Valley of Oregon and are very expensive.

Other Fun Facts: Nancy’s work crew is a band of Oregon desert lizards. They keep the garden bug-free and do an especially good job with Colorado Potato Beetles. She calls it the Lizard Lek after the Sage Grouse Lek of the high desert, where the little boy grouse put on a big show for the ladies hoping to be selected. So the Lizard Lek is a meeting place.