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Caring for Tomato Plants in the Desert

Article by Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Education Coordinator and Laura Neff, NS/S Education Assistant Published April 10, 2018.

In the low desert, it is ideal to start tomatoes by seed early in the season to allow the plant to be transplanted as soon as the threat of frost is over (around early to mid March through early April in the low desert areas of Tucson). Tomato seeds need about a 6-8 week growing period before you transplant. More specifically, it is a good time to transplant when a seedling has three to four true leaves and after it has been hardened off (the process of moving plants outdoors for a portion of the day to gradually introduce them to the direct sunlight, dry air, and cold nights). When the time comes to transplant tomato starts, here are a few tips to get the most out of your plants.

Arizona Gives Day: Thank you for your support

By Joy Hought, Executive Director. Published March 28, 2018.

Did you know that southern Arizona is home to the earliest documented agriculture in the United States? For over 4000 years the farmers of this region have sustained their communities by growing nutritious, desert-adapted crop varieties and using water-wise farming practices that respect the Sonoran desert’s delicate ecosystems. Today, agriculture in Arizona is highly productive, but places a priority on crops like cotton and alfalfa that consume large amounts of water in a time and place where water is an increasingly scarce resource.

Germination Testing at Home

By Laura Neff, NS/S Education Assistant. Published March 19, 2018.

At Native Seeds/SEARCH, we want to ensure that all seeds in our seed bank and those distributed to growers like you, are healthy and viable. One way we do this is through germination testing. In fact, germination testing is required by federal and state law to ensure that seeds sold meet minimum germination standards.

As a home gardener and seed saver, you can use the same principles of germination testing to make sure your seeds are going to sprout when planted.

Native Health Traditional and Community Gardens in Phoenix, AZ

By Nancy Reid, Retail Associate. Published March 13, 2018.

It was a brisk Saturday morning, February 24th, when three Native Seeds/SEARCH staff traveled from Tucson to Phoenix to offer assistance with weeding and planting seed at the Native Health Traditional and Community Gardens in Phoenix. Access to the spacious farmland in the heart of Phoenix at Indian School and Central was provided by Agave Farms, a sustainable agricultural demonstration site, plant nursery, and community space. The purpose of the garden is to encourage the growth of healthy native foods for clients of Native Health- a non-profit health and wellness provider.

Understanding and Nurturing Desert Native Bees

By Bill McGuire, NS/S Board Member. Published March 5, 2018.

Do you know that every desert native bee is a wonder woman? The females of these mainly solitary, stingless bees are pollinators supreme in gardens, orchards, and natural spaces. Yet they go about their vital work largely unsupported. It’s time to correct this – and you can be part of the solution!

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