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Saguaro Land: Why plants native to Arizona aren't always easy to grow

Seed libraries are growing in popularity. For a while now, we’ve been able to go to the Phoenix Public Library and “check out” seeds, and seed sharing events are popping up all over town — particularly with spring upon us.

In 2020, Danielle Carlock started a seed library for the Maricopa County Community College District with a twist. All of the seeds in her library are native to the Sonoran Desert.

Now you might think that native plants are easier to grow here. Conditions should be prime, right? Turns out that’s not the case. Even Carlock, a seasoned desert gardener, struggles with some seeds. And since you check out the seeds but don’t have to return them (like a book), no one knows if you had any luck — until now.

Carlock has created a survey to ask gardeners to let her know what kind of luck they are having with her seeds. She has a few preliminary results to share and other ideas about how to get native plants growing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: KJZZ is licensed to the Maricopa County Community College District.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.