Planning and Indulging My Garden for Spring with Native Seeds/SEARCH

When I first started gardening, I focused almost exclusively on New World vegetables. I loved that more interesting vegetables from Europe were coming into vogue, like having three or four types of arugula available, but it increasingly seemed weirder and weirder that as we became experts in Euro-centric food, we were still in the dark about our indigenous plants and contributions to the world. I was a neophyte and enthusiastic and my passion let me to a really great group in Arizona that specializes in seeds from the American Southwest and northern Mexico.

Native Seeds/SEARCH has been doing their incredible work recognizing our native crops and plants since 1983. I discovered them much later but the internet was still crude and the highlight of winter used to be receiving seed catalogs in the mail. I loved their beans in particular and it was from them that first discovered Rio Zape. The history is muddy (blame my foggy brain) but I would bet that our original seed stock came from Native Seeds/SEARCH.

This spring, I’m feeling ambitious and here are the varieties on my garden menu. If you garden, you should join them get access to some of their special members-only seeds in addition to the seeds they offer the general public. If you don’t garden, you should join them and support the good work they do. They also have some excellent local crafts and your membership gets you a nice discount. As a wooden spoon freak, I can speak from experience that they have some great stuff.

Tarahumara Purple Star

Tarahumara Purple Star

Mountain Pima Burro & Caballito

Mountain Pima Burro & Caballito

Tarahumara Frijol Enrayada

Tarahumara Frijol Enrayada

Tarahumara Purple Ojos

Tarahumara Purple Ojos

Tarahumara Vayo

Tarahumara Mantequilla

Tarahumara Chókame

Tarahumara Chókame

Tohono O'odham Vayo Amarillo

Tohono O’odham Vayo Amarillo

Flor de Rio

Flor de Rio

I wanted to document all my children before they went into the ground. I have limited space and a pleasant but mountainous garden, not ideal for desert crops, so my son Nico is taking on a few we have some space here at the Rancho Gordo offices as well.

It’s a little early for us here in Napa to be planting beans but I can’t wait. I’ve already planted a few and every inch of potential garden is planned out. I prefer to plant seeds on a night with no moon at all. The moon helps pull the plants up to life as it becomes full. This is science, pure and factual, so please don’t argue with me.

4 Comments on Planning and Indulging My Garden for Spring with Native Seeds/SEARCH

  1. Desert beans would drown up here in the Pacific Northwest! I have covered one of my 8×8 raised beds just to keep the rain controllable so my spring seeds don’t get too soggy! We have one day of sun forecasted and then 6 days of rain. Seems we can’t get up into the 60° mark yet. I must remind myself every so often that we are lucky in the PNW unlike much of our drought ridden USA.

    • The first year I grew them they were lovely plants but they had no flowers and I gave up on them. As soon as I cut the water, they flowers and later the pods came. An amazing plant but yes, probably not for you!

  2. Mary from Minnesota // April 20, 2017 at 10:04 am // Reply

    OK all you garden experts out there..If I plant rows of various beans side by side, do they cross pollinate and I get something different in the next generation. With my hollyhocks, I have to keep them 200 or more feet apart to keep the colors true season after season. Too lazy today to research online.

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