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CSG Highlight: Orchard Community Learning Center

By Carly Herndon, AmeriCorps Vista Intern. Published January 18, 2018.

In 2017 NS/S donated over 3,916 seed packets to 157 organizations, and we are ready to kick off 2018 with the next cycle of Community Seed Grants. If you are a part of an organization in the Greater Southwest region that supports educational, food security, and community development projects, then you may be eligible for a Community Seed Grant. Find out how to apply here.

Starting Tomato Seeds in the Desert

Article by Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Education Coordinator and Laura Neff, NS/S Education Assistant Published December 22, 2017.

Tomatoes are one of the most popular garden foods grown by home gardeners. The diversity of tomato varieties and uses have increased dramatically from its original domestication in the tropical climates of Central and South America to the point where now it is use in cuisines from all around the world. While popular, tomatoes can difficult to start from seed because of it's slow maturation rate and sensitivity to heat and frost when young. Tomato should be started from seed indoors at least 8 weeks before the treat of frost has passed. Then once the treat of freezing tempuratures has passed and soil warms up the tomato plants can be put outside. For the low desert regions, including Tucson and Phoenix this means that tomato seed starting time correlates to the holiday season of late November through the first week of January. Getting a jump on starting tomato seeds now also ensures that plants will produce fruit before the heat and dry weather of early summer sets in.   

Adopt-A-Crop 2017 Update

Article by Nicholas Garber. Conservation Program Manager. Published December 11, 2017

Last May, Native Seeds/SEARCH announced our 2017 Adopt-a-Crop campaign. During our campaigns we draw upon NS/S members and supporters to provide financial assistance with growing out rare and endangered seed varieties form the Seed Bank Collection to obtain fresh seed and ensure the long-term survival of the varieties. This year’s campaign focused on Drum Gourds, Fort Apache Sunflower, Rio Lucio Pumpkin, Tohono O’odham June Corn, and Wild Scarlet Runner Beans. We are forever grateful for the support we received which allowed us to grow out these seed varieties and several dozen other collections. Supporters who donated $100 or more will receive a seed packet of their adopted crop.

Staff Picks: Guide to Local Gifts

Published December 10, 2017.

Are you buying gifts for a gardener? A foodie? Or someone longing for a piece of the Southwest? Perhaps you are making your own holiday list? The Native Seeds/SEARCH staff has gathered up our favorite gift ideas to take the guesswork out of shopping. Your purchase helps support the mission of Native Seeds/SEARCH to save, share, and educate about arid-adapted seeds from the Southwest and Northwest Mexico.

Fall Planting for Spring Blooms

Originally By Melissa Kruse-Peeples, Education Coordinator. Published October 16,2013.
Updates By Laura Neff, Education Associate. Published November 9, 2017.

Spring wildflower season is one of the desert’s most colorful periods. But planning for those multicolored displays in the spring requires planning in the Fall.  The prime time to plant spring flowers in the low desert areas of southern Arizona is during late September through early December.  Most spring blooming wildflowers benefit from the cold temperatures of winter and begin their life cycle when the winter rains come.

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