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Diversity in Amaranth

By Joy Hought, NS/S Research & Education Program Manager. Published on September 20, 2014.

A few days ago we harvested mature stalks from about 15 amaranth accessions at the NS/S Conservation Farm, in preparation for our workshop on October 4th. Melissa, our Conservation Program Manager, then creatively rigged them up back here at the seed bank, upside down in grain sacks to catch any mature seeds as they dry. In our work we talk about diversity all the time, but it’s delightful to see it so clearly in a community of plants that have been stewarded over millennia among different peoples and geographies. It sort of overtakes you when you’re standing amongst them in the field, each one with its own particular beauty.

Introducing the Cucurbitaceae

By Liz Fairchild, Retail Assistant

Maybe, like me, you’ve wondered before about distinctions between varieties within the squash family, or cucurbits. For example, all the squash packets in our collection state that one may consume the fruit "when small and immature as summer squash, and mature as winter squash." This led me to think summer squashes are just immature winter squash. I discovered that's not always true. Then there is the rumor of cross-pollination amongst family members. And just how are the different varieties related? So I have gone in search of enlightenment and wish to report to our readers. I will break my report into several blog posts, beginning today with a botanical overview of the Cucurbitaceae, the family of gourds and squashes.

The Beauty of Huitlacoche

By Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Conservation Program Manager. Published on August 26, 2014.

Corn is a versatile ingredient. It is fresh roasted, ground to make cornbread or tortillas, dried and reconstituted into posole, and everything in between. But there is one way to eat and cook corn that may come to a surprise to many. Huitlacoche, pictured here, is a corn lover’s delicacy. Trust me, it is edible and delicious.

Squash Varieties Newly Available from our Seed Bank

By Sheryl Joy, NS/S Seed Distribution Coordinator
Published on August 12, 2014

There are some squashes newly available from the NS/S Collection, so if you have some space left in your monsoon garden, you might try one of these… or start planning for next year! We are pleased that recent growouts produced enough seed to make these available to the public: several colorful pumpkins, cushaws, and maybe a spaghetti squash.

Squash Pollination

By Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Conservation Program Manager. Published July 25, 2014.

One of the most common gardening problems from those growing squash, cucumbers, or watermelons is the abundance of baby fruits, but none that grow to full size. The baby fruits shrivel and wither away. The most common reason for this is that the fruits were not pollinated. In this blog post we share information about how cucurbits are pollinated and provide instructions for hand pollinating squash that can be applied to other species in this plant family.

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