Some information on this new program:
Lawns to Legumes Program Now Accepting Applications
The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) is now accepting applications for the Lawns to Legumes program, which aims to increase residential habitat for at-risk pollinators across the state. Lawns to Legumes offers a combination of workshops, coaching, planting guides and cost-share funding for installing pollinator-friendly native plantings in residential lawns.
Minnesota residents can now apply to be reimbursed for up to $350 in costs associated with establishing pollinator habitats in their yards. Applications will be accepted through February 28. Applicants who qualify for reimbursement are expected to attend a workshop or webinar to better ensure project success. Funding decisions and all notifications will be emailed in March for spring 2020 installations. For further program details, see BWSR's website.
How to apply: Apply online at Blue Thumb’s website
Am I eligible?
Anyone is welcome to use the planting guide or attend a workshop developed for this program to help plan a pollinator habitat project.
Minnesota residents anywhere in the state who have an area at their home that can be used for outdoor planting can apply for a combination of technical assistance (workshops, coaching) and cost-share funding. Proximity to areas where the Rusty patched bumblebee is likely to be present will be one factor considered when awarding reimbursement grants.
What does this program do?
Lawns to Legumes offers workshops, coaching, planting guides and cost-share funding for installing pollinator-friendly native plantings in residential lawns. The program also includes a public education campaign to raise awareness for pollinator habitat projects and will establish demonstration neighborhoods that showcase best practices.
Why does this matter?
Minnesota is home to more than 450 native bee species. Pollinators also include butterflies, moths, beetles and native flies. All play a key role in pollinating many food crops and native plants, but populations have significantly declined worldwide in recent years. Population decline can be attributed to habitat loss and lack of related nutrition for pollinators, as well as pesticide use and pathogens.
The program aims to protect the federally endangered state bee; the Rusty patched bumblebee, and other at-risk pollinators. Even relatively small plantings of native flowers can help create conditions that are valuable to pollinators and can help build important habitat corridors.
Getting started now
You don't have to wait to start planning a pollinator-friendly yard! Here are some helpful guides for creating habitat:
- Planting for Pollinators: BWSR's one stop shop guide for residential pollinator habitat
- Gardens for Pollinators: Tips from the Xerces Society
- DIY Bee Lawn: Steps for creating a bee lawn from Blue Thumb
- Build a Pollinator Garden in Seven Steps: Advice from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Info on winter seed starting and saving seeds
Richmond Seed Library has several online courses for seed saving and seed growing.
Joe Gardner has a podcast on the winter sowing method. https://joegardener.com/podcast/130-winter-sowing/
Dec 14, Saturday, 9 am -1 pm– Winter Farmer’s Market
Tamarack Nature Center, 5287 Otter Lake Rd, White Bear Township, MN
The Winter Farmer’s Market is back again this year! Many produce vendors and educational organizations will be at the winter farmer’s market. So will the Seed Library! Come check it out and stop by the Seed Library table to say hi. I also have a game kids and adults can play for a treat.
See https://forksinthedirt.com/winter-farmers-market/ for more info.
Jan 14, 2020 Tuesday, 6:30- 7:30 pm – Seed Talk
History of Food Plants
Lion’s Den room in the White Bear Lake library, 2150 2nd St, White Bear Lake, MN
Find out some tasty facts about the plants we eat.
Were tomatoes always big, juicy and delicious?
How many varieties of potatoes were grown 200 years ago?
Did people first eat the roots or leaves of carrots?
There are as many fascinating facts about the plants we eat as there are seeds in the Seed Library! I’d love to share what I found, but I could use some help!
I need help finding information!
If you enjoy sleuthing on the internet or in reference books, put your skills to use finding information on the history of plants we eat. Let me know what food plant you want to research. Then on Jan 14th you can share what you found with the rest of us. I’m not talking about a 3 page report! Just a few sentences of how a particular plant was used by people for food and how it has evolved over the years.
Send me an email of the name of the plant you want to research and I’ll keep a list so we don’t have duplicates. Right now we have potatoes, wheat and carrots covered. The food plant can be a fruit or vegetable, herbaceous plant, tree or shrub.
As always, Seed Talks are really gardener discussions about a specific topic, though we do occasionally wander into other related topics. Please come and share your tips and questions!
Note: We are now in the questionable weather time of the year. If the weather looks difficult for driving I will cancel the Seed Talk or seed packaging. I will send out an email and contact the library so you can always call the library for any last minute changes. White Bear Lake library: 651-724-6007
Hope to see you at these events!
WANTED – SEEDS!!!!
The Seed Library needs seeds! So far in 2019, over 2,500 packets of seeds have found new homes. Every year we increase the number of packets finding new homes, so we need lots of seeds for the 2020 season as well as native plants seeds for this fall.
Please save your seeds of non-hybrid, open-pollinated beans, peas, lettuce, sweet peppers, tomatoes, annuals and native plant seeds!
We are very short on peas and herb seeds!
If you are unable to save seeds from your own harvest, please donate a commercial packet of open-pollinated seeds.
I have added a list of great resources to the Seed Library blogsite.
Blog site: https://wblseedlibrary.blogspot.com/
Contact info for the Seed Library:
Blog site: https://wblseedlibrary.blogspot.com/