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Celebrate Dia de San Juan!

Article by Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Education Coordinator, originally published June 22, 2016. Revised June 22, 2017.

The annual tradition of celebrating the onset of monsoon season in the Southwest begins with San Juan’s Day or Dia de San Juan on June 24. San Juan’s Day is the feast day for St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of water. The monsoons are coming and soon the life giving water from the sky will bless our parched ground.

How to Grow a Three Sisters Garden

Article by Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Education Coordinator, published May 27, 2016.

For many Native American communities, three seeds - corn, beans, and squash represent the most important crops. When planted together, the Three Sisters, work together to help one another thrive and survive. Utilizing the corn, beans, and squash together in your garden draws upon centuries of Native American agricultural traditions and expertise. This post covers the benefits of three sisters planting and provides tips for when to plant, varieties that work well in planting together, and suggested layouts for your garden.

How to Use Olla Irrigation

Article by Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Education Coordinator, published May 13, 2016.

Use of low-fired, clay ceramic vessels (ollas) an ancient technique for the efficient irrigation of crops. First in use in China and North Africa more than 4,000 years ago, the technique has spread throughout arid regions of the world. The use of ollas (pronounced oh-yahs) can save the gardener time, energy, and water. Olla users report that their vegetable gardens produce more lush plants with higher productivity. Plants watered in this way do not undergo stress cycles due to water and can live and produce longer. Ollas can be a relatively inexpensive way to maximize your garden output while minimizing overwatering, runoff, and water loss.

Updates from the Conservation Farm: Spring Growout

Article by Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Education Coordinator, published May 9, 2016.

As you know, at the heart of NS/S is the seed bank, where thousands of priceless, traditional crop seed varieties are protected and conserved for current and future generations. We are all indebted to the farmers and gardeners who entrusted their heritage seeds to us for safekeeping. To make sure that we have sufficient supply, we keep a close eye on the collection to determine which seeds need regeneration. Growouts occur on our 60-acre Conservation Farm in Patagonia, Arizona. Growing seeds to maintain genetic purity requires techniques including hand pollination and isolation, which are often costly and labor intensive.

Seed Sovereignty Events in New Mexico

Article by Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Education Coordinator, published May 5, 2016.

Last month NS/S co-hosted two workshops in New Mexico in conjunction with the Traditional Native American Farmers Association, Pueblo of Tesuque, Pueblo of Acoma, and the Southwest Conservation Corps, and SeedBroadcast. The events, titled Seed Sovereignty in the Face of Climate Change, brought together growers from the region to discuss the challenges of climate change, growing techniques, and seed saving. There were numerous relationships and bonds made throughout the weekends- between participants, with the land, and to the seeds.

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