Read our Blog

News from the Field: Adopt-A-Crop 2018 Update

By Nicholas Garber, Conservation Program Manager. Published July 30, 2018.

With summer obviously in full swing in Tucson, this seems like a perfect time for an update on our Adopt-a-Crop tepary beans! These low-desert survivors thrive in the monsoon season and show that the monsoons are a season of abundance, which can reward working hot, muggy mornings with cooling greenery and nutritious, fresh foods.

Steps to a Water-Wise Garden

By Melissa Kruse-Peeples, Educator. Published July 22, 2018.

In the desert Southwest, much of our attention is focused on water. When we tell people from outside the region that our annual rainfall ranges between 6-10 inches we are met with looks of disbelief. Annual rainfall in my hometown in Nebraska is three times that amount, not to mention the moisture from snow. As aridlands gardeners and farmers it is our responsibility to use our limited water wisely – both for the health and wellness of the crops but also for environmental conservation. Not to mention the benefits to your monthly water bill.

Following a few simple tips will use water wisely in your garden.

The Bees of Summer: Who to Look for in Desert Gardens and Wild Spaces

By Bill McGuire, Board Member. Published June 21, 2018.

It's National Pollinator Week, everyone! So, it's time to call out our native bee species. While the Sonoran Desert summer is a challenging time, desert native bees and introduced Western honey bees are alive and well, just like our arid-adapted crop varieties! Ample opportunities for bee viewing in desert gardens and wild spaces thus exist. So, let’s look at the most likely seen bees from the summer’s cast of characters.

Types of Corn

By Laura Neff, Education Assistant. Published June 12, 2018.

Many people know that maize, known more commonly as corn, is one of the most culturally important crops in the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico, but the true diversity of corn as well as its many culinary uses are unknown to many. At Native Seeds/SEARCH we steward 1,900 different accessions of seed, which includes over 500 different accessions of corn, making Zea mays the most represented species in our seed bank collection. Different types of corn - such as sweet, dent, and flour - are defined by their internal kernel structure and the proportions of soft and hard endosperm, or starch, present. These proportions of starches allow different types of corn to have different culinary properties. In this blog, our goal is for you to learn about the structural differences of the kernel in each type of corn as well as the food that each type has inspired.

Pima 60-Day Corn

By Sheryl Joy, Collections Curator. Published June 6, 2018.

It may not be as colorful and photogenic as some, but this corn is truly a star. Among the most unique and important low desert crops in the NS/S collection are accessions of 60-day corn varieties from the Tohono O'odham and Akimel O'odham people. These fast growing, short-stature corn varieties go from planted seed to harvestable green corn in about 60 days when planted in the heat and humidity of the southwestern monsoon season. For comparison, it takes many other varieties of Southwestern corns about 75 or more days to be harvested in the green corn stage. This characteristic is important for arid land crops because much less water is required to produce a crop than many longer season corn varieties.

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