Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Raingarden Info and Events


Hello Gardeners

Here are some raingarden links I talked about at the last Seed Talk.

Raingarden Links
To find your watershed district go to the following website and click on the map at your location:
Watershed districts do not follow city boundaries. For example, White Bear Lake is in 4 watershed districts.
A good place to start to learn about rain gardens is the Blue Thumb website:
Many of you are probably in the Rice Creek Watershed District:
Almost all the watershed districts have a grant program for homeowners and organizations. The grants range from $500 and up depending on the project. You must apply for the grant before purchasing any plants or supplies. The grants usually don’t apply to labor costs. The RCWD has $10,000 worth of grants available in 2019. Go to your watersheds website and follow the directions to apply for a grant.

Misc
I added some bean, cilantro, marigold and double pink poppy seeds to the seed library.
The Ramsey County Master Gardeners have many classes scheduled May-September. Find info on classes and to register: www.ramseymastergardeners.org
 I also added a plant sale event by the Big River Big Woods Wild Ones chapter on May 27.
 
Plant a Row
Please consider planting an extra row of peas or beans or a couple extra plants of lettuce or tomatoes to harvest the seeds for the Seed Library. The Seed Library depends on community donations to keep providing seeds. 

EVENTS:

May 18Ramsey County Master Gardeners Plant Sale, 8 am-2pm, “The Barn”, 2020 White Bear Ave, Maplewood, MN
Sale of plants not treated with neonics. Proceeds benefit the Master Gardener program.

May 18 – Seed Your Dreams - Como Community Seed Library Gathering
11am-2pm, Historic Como Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Pkwy N., Saint Paul 55117
Yes, we can finally believe Spring is here! And with that it’s time to exchange our excess seeds, plants (perennial divides and plant starts) and extra, serviceable garden hand tools with our neighbors at the Como Community Seed Library’s annual gardener gathering. Join for all the family fun, art making, bee finding etc. Volunteer and receive a thank you for your generosity. See: https://comoseedsavers.geopoi.us/

May 26 – Big River Big Woods Wild Ones Plant sale, Noon – 3 pm, Muriel Sahlin Arboretum, 2525 North Dale St., Roseville, MN 5511
Native plants grown by members of the Wild Ones chapter are available for sale.

Jun 1Landscape Revival Plant sale, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, Shepherd of the Hills Church,
3920 Victoria St N, Shoreview, Minnesota (MN) 55126
The Shoreview Native Plant Expo and Market offers gardeners one convenient location to shop for Minnesota native plants from 6 local native growers and learn how to use the plants from conservation organizations. The goal of Landscape Revival is to promote the use of native plants by educating about their benefits for wildlife habitat, pollinators, water quality and landscape diversity. Plants sold at the sale are neonic free.

Jun 9Landscape Revival Plant Sale, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, Oakdale City Hall, 1584 Hadley Ave N, Oakdale, MN 55128
The Oakdale Native Plant Expo and Market offers gardeners one convenient location to shop for Minnesota native plants from 6 local native growers and learn how to use the plants from conservation organizations. The goal of Landscape Revival is to promote the use of native plants by educating about their benefits for wildlife habitat, pollinators, water quality and landscape diversity. Plants sold at the sale are neonic free.

*Why is neonic free a good thing?
Neonicotinoids are a widely used family of insecticides which adversely impact pollinators as well a song birds and aquatic invertebrates. One problem with neonics is that they persist in the plant and the soil for many years. The Friends School Plant sale has an excellent webpage on this topic here:  http://www.friendsschoolplantsale.com/blog/post/neonics



Saturday, April 20, 2019

“Let us be the ancestors our descendants will thank.” – Winona LaDuke


Hello Gardeners,

**If you are no longer receiving emails from the seed library, please check your spam folder. I had to change to using Mailchimp for the emails and emails may be being placed in your spam folder!

Spring has finally arrived! I’m eager to check my gardens and want to ‘clean things up’ as I’m sure all of you are eager to do as well. BUT hold on and think about that traditional annual chore and how it will impact the critters in your landscape.

Many, many native bees and other insects make homes in the dried stalks of your plants. They hunker down in these tight spaces to ride out the winter, but they are not awake yet. The nights and days are still cold and more importantly, the plants they eat or nectar they need to survive is not ready for them. 

Try to resist cutting down all your dead plant material until later in the spring. Or at least if you cut down the dead stalks, put them aside in your yard so these tiny creatures have more time to find new homes later in the spring. Your garden will be just fine and in fact some of the dried plant material will help insult your plants when we have cold nights. 

Remember it takes 6,000-8,000 caterpillars to feed one brood of chickadees! Yes, adult chickadees eat seeds, but chickadee babies need high value protein such as caterpillars!

I want to share a wonderful newsletter, The Butterfly Effect. You can subscribe and get this gem four times a year for free.

Please read the article by Heather Holm about native bees. Most of the press about bees and their decline concerns non-native honey bees. And yes, they are at risk, but more importantly, some of our native bees are in peril! Please, please plant bee friendly flowers, don’t use pesticides of any kind, leave your yard a bit messy, have some bare patches of soil for nesting ground bees and remember all your actions have consequences. Make those consequences beneficial to our earth.

“Let us be the ancestors our descendants will thank.” – Winona LaDuke



Update on my germination experiment: So far nothing. I dug down and checked some of the larger squash seeds and they are still there, but not a sign of any germination. I guess seeds between 10 and 40 years old, and not kept cold are not viable. I'll continue to watch for signs of life for another week or two.  

Exciting news about future Seed Talks. We will have Master Gardeners attend both the June and July Seeds talks on the 2nd Tuesdays of the month. They will contribute to our discussions on tomatoes and fruits! More info will follow.

Sustainable a film on sustainable food production. This is a great documentary on sustainable food production. It really opened my eyes to some agriculture practices I was unaware of. It certainly makes me think about the food purchases I make and I vow to buy locally as much as I can. I found myself rooting for Marty and other sustainable farmers as I watched this film.

"The narrative of the film focuses on Marty Travis, a seventh-generation farmer in central Illinois who watched his land and community fall victim to the pressures of big agribusiness. Determined to create a proud legacy for his son, Marty transforms his profitless wasteland and pioneers the sustainable food movement in Chicago."

You can watch the film here:  https://sustainablefoodfilm.com/
Or it is on Netflix.


Pam

Upcoming Events:
April 25 – 6:45 -8:30 pm, Big River Big Woods Wild Ones Meeting,
The Universe Beneath Our Feet: Restoring Soil Ecosystems - Kassie Brown
Soil is one of the last truly uncharted territories. It is also the key to solving most of the problems we face today. Healthy soils clean and hold water, re-mediate pollution, sequester carbon, and grow resilient plants. Healthy soil is built by countless microbes working 24/7 – and they need our help! This talk is for anyone interested in learning more about the vast and complex ecosystem beneath our feet. It will be led by Kassie Brown of Renaissance Soil, a St. Paul based non-profit dedicated to regenerating soil through education, outreach, and action opportunities.
Place:  Autumn Grove Park, 1365 Lydia Avenue West, Roseville, MN Map
Big River Big Woods Wild Ones chapter is also doing a plant sale. You can order plants now. See their website above.

May 10-12 Friends School Plant sale. All neonic free vegetable, annual, perennial, native, tree, shrub, bulbs, seeds and indoor plant sale at the State fairgrounds. See http://www.friendsschoolplantsale.com/ for more details.

May 14Seed Talk, Raingardens, White Bear Lake library, 6:30 pm

May 18Ramsey County Master Gardeners Plant Sale, 8 am-2pm, “The Barn”, 2020 White Bear Ave, Maplewood, MN
Sale of plants not treated with neonics. Proceeds benefit the Master Gardener program.

May 18 – Seed Your Dreams - Como Community Seed Library Gathering
11am-2pm, Historic Como Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Pkwy N., Saint Paul 55117
Yes, we can finally believe Spring is here! And with that it’s time to exchange our excess seeds, plants (perennial devides and plant starts) and extra, serviceable garden hand tools with our neighbors at the Como Community Seed Library’s annual gardener gathering. Join for all the family fun, art making, bee finding etc. Volunteer and receive a thank you for your generosity. See: https://comoseedsavers.geopoi.us/


Jun 1Landscape Revival Plant sale, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, Shepherd of the Hills Church,
3920 Victoria St N, Shoreview, Minnesota (MN) 55126
The Shoreview Native Plant Expo and Market offers gardeners one convenient location to shop for Minnesota native plants from 6 local native growers and learn how to use the plants from conservation organizations. The goal of Landscape Revival is to promote the use of native plants by educating about their benefits for wildlife habitat, pollinators, water quality and landscape diversity. Plants sold at the sale are neonic free.

Jun 9Landscape Revival Plant Sale, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, Oakdale City Hall, 1584 Hadley Ave N, Oakdale, MN 55128
The Oakdale Native Plant Expo and Market offers gardeners one convenient location to shop for Minnesota native plants from 6 local native growers and learn how to use the plants from conservation organizations. The goal of Landscape Revival is to promote the use of native plants by educating about their benefits for wildlife habitat, pollinators, water quality and landscape diversity. Plants sold at the sale are neonic free.

*Why is neonic free a good thing?
Neonicotinoids are a widely used family of insecticides which adversely impact pollinators as well a song birds and aquatic invertebrates. One problem with neonics is that they persist in the plant and the soil for many years. The Friends School Plant sale has an excellent webpage on this topic here:  http://www.friendsschoolplantsale.com/blog/post/neonics

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Edible Landscaping and Upcoming Events


Hello Gardeners,
Thank you to all the volunteers who helped packaged seeds on Monday. We added over 350 packages to the seed library. I added more beans, peas, lettuce, sweet and hot peppers, and lots of annuals and native plants including seeds that can be directly sowed with no stratification. Come check it out!

Tuesday night we had a great bunch of people together to talk about foodscaping or edible landscaping.  I suggested gardeners may want to rethink their front yards as a possible location for more food plants. Generally, people seldom use their front yards for activities and so it sits very lonely in the landscape besides when we have to mow the lawn or rake the leaves. But front yards are frequently very sunny places and a great place to grow fruits and vegetables. While the snow and ice are falling these next couple days, ponder this possibility. It’s only due to an outdated tradition that we seldom use our front yards for more than just show.

Two great pioneers of edible landscaping were also topics: Ruth Stout and Rosalind Creasy. Both have written several books available on Amazon.


I also recommend a great permaculture book: The Vegetable Gardener's Guide to Permaculture: Creating an Edible Ecosystem by Christopher Shein.
Even if you don’t embrace all of the permaculture practices, you will find many nuggets of useful tips to use in your gardening. veggie-permaculture

One obstacle to growing plants in any location is lack of sunlight. 
There is a General Rule that states:
If we eat the fruit it needs 8+ hours of sunlight
If we eat the roots it needs 5-6 hours of sunlight
If we eat the leaves or stem it needs 4 hours of sunlight

BUT it really should be called a 'General Guideline'. I think many people are put off by these statements and don't even attempt to grow vegetables because they think they don't have enough sunlight. My yard is part-shade and I grow tomatoes, parsnips, and many other vegetables. I do choose the sunniest locations and my yields are certainly much smaller than gardeners who have full sunlight, but I still get produce. 
Try growing lettuce, chard, kale, chives, cilantro, spinach and other leafy vegetables in your partial shady areas. You might be surprised.

Another obstacle is those 4 legged furry creature, aka rabbits and deer. Besides a fence, it seems nothing is fool-proof, but here is one suggestion that works for one of our gardeners.

Last night a gardener shared a unique way to foil the deer that raid her gardens. It’s a Nite Guard Solar-Powered Night Animal Predator Light, Model NG-001. It’s a flashing red LED light that repels deer as they think the light to be the eye of a predator. It is solar powered.

Looking forward to Spring!
Pam

Upcoming Events:

April 25 – 6:45 -8:30 pm, Big River Big Woods Wild Ones Meeting,
The Universe Beneath Our Feet: Restoring Soil Ecosystems - Kassie Brown
Soil is one of the last truly uncharted territories. It is also the key to solving most of the problems we face today. Healthy soils clean and hold water, re-mediate pollution, sequester carbon, and grow resilient plants. Healthy soil is built by countless microbes working 24/7 – and they need our help! This talk is for anyone interested in learning more about the vast and complex ecosystem beneath our feet. It will be led by Kassie Brown of Renaissance Soil, a St. Paul based non-profit dedicated to regenerating soil through education, outreach, and action opportunities.
Place:  Autumn Grove Park, 1365 Lydia Avenue West, Roseville, MN Map
Big River Big Woods Wild Ones chapter is also doing a plant sale. You can order plants now. See their website above.

April 16 – 7 -8:45 pm, FamilyMeans building, 1875 Northwestern Ave, Stillwater,
Monitoring Rare Plants in Minnesota’s Prairies, plus a Discussion of Rare Plants Found in the St Croix Valley — Derek Anderson, Minnesota Biological Survey, DNR
An important part of conserving rare species is tracking them over time through repeated monitoring. Monitoring allows for a better understanding of life history, trends in population numbers, and responses to management activities.  In Minnesota, we monitor several state and federally listed plant species.  This includes the federally endangered Minnesota dwarf trout lily (Erythronium propullans), the federally threatened western prairie fringed orchid  Platanthera praeclara) [pictured right], the federally threatened prairie bush clover (Lespedeza leptostachya), and the state species of special concern, small white lady’s slipper (Cypripedium candidum).
We will look at some of the things learned over the course of monitoring these species (some of which have been monitored for over 30 years).  This work has largely been accomplished through the help of citizen scientist volunteers.  We will end the program by looking at some of the rare plant species found in the St. Croix River watershed.

May 10-12 Friends School Plant sale. All neonic free vegetable, annual, perennial, native, tree, shrub, bulbs, seeds and indoor plant sale at the State fairgrounds. See http://www.friendsschoolplantsale.com/ for more details.

May 18 – Ramsey County Master Gardeners Plant Sale, 8 am-2pm, “The Barn”, 2020 White Bear Ave, Maplewood, MN
Sale of plants not treated with neonics. Proceeds benefit the Master Gardener program.

Jun 1 – Landscape Revival Plant sale, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, Shepherd of the Hills Church,
3920 Victoria St N, Shoreview, Minnesota (MN) 55126
The Shoreview Native Plant Expo and Market offers gardeners one convenient location to shop for Minnesota native plants from 6 local native growers and learn how to use the plants from conservation organizations. The goal of Landscape Revival is to promote the use of native plants by educating about their benefits for wildlife habitat, pollinators, water quality and landscape diversity. Plants sold at the sale are neonic free.

Jun 9 – Landscape Revival Plant Sale, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, Oakdale City Hall, 1584 Hadley Ave N, Oakdale, MN 55128
The Oakdale Native Plant Expo and Market offers gardeners one convenient location to shop for Minnesota native plants from 6 local native growers and learn how to use the plants from conservation organizations. The goal of Landscape Revival is to promote the use of native plants by educating about their benefits for wildlife habitat, pollinators, water quality and landscape diversity. Plants sold at the sale are neonic free.

*Why is neonic free a good thing?
Neonicotinoids are a widely used family of insecticides which adversely impact pollinators as well a song birds and aquatic invertebrates. One problem with neonics is that they persist in the plant and the soil for many years. The Friends School Plant sale has an excellent webpage on this topic here:  http://www.friendsschoolplantsale.com/blog/post/neonics