One of the delights of my trip to Tucson, was visiting the Native Seed Search’s shop. Native Seed Search works to gather, safeguard, and distribute native and adapted seeds to farming and gardening communities, and to educate farmers and gardeners about the uses of those seeds. When I go to Tucson, I make sure to visit the shop (so much more fun than shopping on-line) to buy unique varieties of peppers and beans for cooking.
The first time I went — three years ago — I did not buy any seeds. I was not certain that I should be bringing seeds from the southwest to DC for planting. This year, after the last two years of heat and drought, I bought a few varieties of southwestern greens and some pink green beans to try in containers. I had a good chat with the workers in the shop about shifting what we plant as the climate changes even as we might otherwise try to avoid bringing new species into the area.
I went small with this experiment. As long as I do not let the amaranth (to eat as greens not grain) go to seed and pick the beans to eat or replant, nothing will spread. It will be interesting to observe if these plants require less water or tolerate more heat here than the greens and beans we are more accustomed to planting.
It was also wonderful, on this icy cold day, to take the seed packets out of my bag in anticipation of spring. Planting season for cool weather greens, etc (etc meaning beets, turnips, and radishes) is only a couple of weeks away.