|image from NativeSeeds.org|
Living in the desert can present problems when seeding a garden. Most varieties of seeds readily available are intended for a much more temperate climate and don’t do as well here. There is also always the possibility (especially with flowers and grasses) that the seeds may travel much farther than your own garden and displace native species. Several years ago, before we knew better, we planted a few bunches of fountain grass. We later found out that fountain grass was spreading into the desert and competing (and winning) with the native grasses, which in turn can effect the rest of the ecosystem. We have since pulled up all of ours and plan on eventually planting native grasses instead.
A few years ago, we found a really great organization called Native Seeds, located in Tucson. They work hard to protect and promote the seeds that would have been used by the native people and found naturally across the desert southwest and northwest Mexico. They have all sorts of seeds that have been handed down through families including beans, peas, chiles, corn, cotton, gourds, greens, herbs, melons, onions, wheat and wildflowers. They have many more too, and they can be ordered online (NativeSeeds).
|Hopi Casaba Melon from Native Seeds|
Not into gardening, or live in a place other than the southwest? They have everything from soaps and salves to food baskets to items handcrafted by the Native American communities. They even have jewelry and masks!
|Madrone Oval Serving Bowl from Native Seeds|
So as we plan our summer and fall plantings, we’ll be making sure to include a lot of seeds that are adapted to our dry climate and can’t wait for the results! The kids want to try out some of the many types of corn, I just wish we had the space to try everything!