Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Fall Steps to a Wonderful Landscape

 

Fall Steps to a Wonderful Landscape

 

Many gardeners dread the traditional fall “clean-up” of their gardens and yard. It signals the arrival of winter with cold and snow and the passing of sunny warm days with beautiful gardens and green grass. But fall clean-up doesn’t have to be such a chore. Below are some recommendations to do this fall; most are more like ‘fun’ than ‘work’.

Don’t Rake the Leaves

Yes, you have been told you must rake the leaves off your lawn or your grass will die. That is a myth! Just use the lawn mower to shred the leaves and mow your lawn at the same time. Ditch the rake and the bagger attachment to your mower. As long as you can see grass poking up out of the leaves you can safely mow the leaves without harming the lawn. The little bits of leaves will add organic matter to the soil which helps improve both drainage and its water holding ability.

 

Fertilize your lawn

Fall is a great time to fertilize your lawn, but use a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer such as Milorganite. I suggest an organic fertilizer as it works with the natural balance of the soil, virtually no risk of over applying, doesn’t pollute groundwater or cause polluted runoff and adds organic material to the soil. Fertilizing in the fall helps your lawn recover from stresses in the summer and encourages deep roots which helps compete with weeds, diseases and insects. It is suggested you fertilize early September and in late October.

 

Plant

Yes, you can plant perennials, shrubs and trees in the fall! It is a great time for planting as the soil is warm and the hot, dry days of summer have passed.

Fall is the best time to plant daffodil, tulip, crocus and other types of bulbs. Plant bulbs when the night-time temperatures are around 40-50°F. If you plant too soon, you risk the bulbs sprouting early. Follow the planting instructions on the package. A good rule of thumb is to plant bulbs 2-3 times their height in the ground.

 

Skip Cleaning the Garden

Leave the stalks of the dead perennials for overwintering pollinators. Wait until there have been several 50°F days in the spring before removing dead foliage. Not only will you increase the beneficial insects in your garden next year, you add winter interest to your landscape.

Exception: Remove all diseased plant material this fall and dispose of it at a county compost site. Your home compost probably doesn’t get hot enough to kill pathogens and in the spring when you use the compost you may be spreading disease in your garden. Most tomato plants have some sort of fungal problem in the fall, so dispose of them too even if they look okay.

 

 

Start a Compost Pile

Anytime of the year is the good time to start a compost pile, but sometimes the fall is a great time as you have less other chores to do. There are dozens of ways to set up a compost pile. Spend a rainy day researching ideas on the internet.

Here is a good place to start: https://joegardener.com/how-to-make-compost/

 

Start a New Garden

Fall is a great time to start a new garden and you won’t need to do the back breaking work of removing sod! Sometimes called sheet gardening, sheet mulch gardening or lasagna gardening. Here are the steps:

1. Outline the area of the new garden with rope or a garden hose. Place cardboard or 5-6 sheet stacks of newspaper over the grass/weeds. Make sure to overlap the sheets of cardboard or newspaper. No need to remove the sod or weeds as the grass/weeds will decompose under the cardboard or paper.

2. Spread on a 5-6” layer of compost. Top with a 3-4” layer of mulch such as shredded leaves, straw or wood chips. You can make each layer thicker as it will shrink as it decomposes. By next spring you can plant without tiling, double digging or turning over the soil. The grass/weeds at the bottom will have decomposed and your plant’s roots will easily penetrate deeper as they grow bigger.

3. Each year add more compost to your garden to create a beautiful ‘Black Gold’ growing bed.

 

Journal Your Successes (and the less than successes)

Keeping a journal of your gardening adventures helps you down the road. Use a simple spiral notebook to write down what you grew, what didn’t grow and what varieties performed the best or what you want to try next year. This winter or spring when you plan your garden you’ll know what worked and what didn’t work. I also add a To-Do List in my journal so I remember what seeds I want to grow or what plants need to be moved or replaced. 

 

Save Seeds

I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you to save seeds. The seed library is always in need of tomato, pea, bean, lettuce, sweet pepper and native plant seeds. Fall is when most native plants set seeds. Wait until the seed pods are brown and dry before harvesting. Your pea and bean seed pods are probably dry by now too.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Seed Talk on Fall Gardening Sept 8th!

 

Hello Gardeners!

Just a quick reminder the next Seed Talk is Tuesday, September 8 at 6:30pm via Zoom. You must sign up in advance via: Seed Talk

If it tells you there are no more spots available, let me know or call the library.  

Get some ideas on what trees, flowers and bulbs are great for planting this fall. Find out when or if you should mulch plants before winter. Is it better to clean up the garden in the fall or wait until next spring?

There will be ample time for questions. Seed Talks are community get-togethers where gardeners of all skills and ages share their experiences, questions and expertise. I know at a Zoom meeting it is bit harder to feel comfortable joining in, but please feel free to contribute to the conversation!

 

How to Donate Seeds to the Seed Library

The Seed Library needs seeds!!!

In general, the seed library can use seeds from open-pollinated, non-hybrid vegetables and flowers or native plants. The plants providing the seeds must not have been cross-pollinated so that means tomatoes, peas, beans, lettuce, and native plants are the best plants to harvest seeds, though some annual flowers are also okay. If the plant is a hybrid the seeds will not come true to the original plant so the seed library cannot use them. If you are unsure about what seeds to save or how to save them, attend the next Seed Talk on seed saving October 13th.

Make sure the seeds are dry!

Please place your seeds in a paper envelope with the name of the plant, the date, your location, and your name.  Plastic encourages mold.  Make sure the envelope is sealed so that little seeds can’t escape. If you only use the glued area on the envelope flap, little seeds can escape on the edges where there is no glue. It is better to fold down the top of the envelope several times and fasten with a paper clip or staple shut.

1) Drop off the envelope of seeds at the curbside pickup area at the White Bear Lake library. Do not use the book return slot.

The librarians request that you refrain from arriving during the first two hours the library is open for curb-side pick up as it is very busy during this time. Please respect their wishes! So here are the hours you can come to donate seeds:

M: 12-8pm,   T, W: 3-8pm,   Th, F, S: 12-5pm

OR

2) Bring your envelope of seeds to a formal seed pickup day where I will be at the White Bear Lake library’s parking lot. Stay tuned--there will be more seed pickups throughout the fall.

 

Please continue to save seeds from your harvest!

Pam

 

Future Seed Talks via Zoom

Oct 13, 2020              Tues   How to Save and Package Seeds

Nov 10, 2020                        Tues   How to Start Native Plant Seeds

 

Contact info for the Seed Library:

Email: wblseedlibrary@gmail.com

Blog site: WBL Seed Library

 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

How to Save Seeds

 

How to Save Seeds

1. Select open-pollinated (not hybrid/ F1) varieties of plants.

2. Start with the easiest seeds to save: Peas, Beans, Tomatoes, Lettuce and Native Plants.

3. Grow your plants making sure they are not cross-pollinated with other varieties. Select the healthiest plants to harvest seeds. If growing vegetables, also select good tasting fruit with high yields. Don’t choose wonky looking plants and select fruits from more than one plant if possible.

4. Gather fruits or seed pods at the correct time. See details below.

5. Dry seeds thoroughly. Store seeds in paper envelopes or small clean jars in a dry, cold location. A plastic or glass container in your refrigerator is a great place to store seeds.

6. Label, label, label!  Include the date, location and other notes about the plant, such as days to maturity or sun preference. You will forget come springtime.

Peas and Beans

Allow pods to ripen on the plants until they are dry and start turning brown. Peas and beans must be completely ripe or they won’t germinate. This will take about a month after harvesting the other peas/beans for eating. You can either strip the pods from the plants or pull up the entire plants whole and spread them to dry inside or other sheltered well-ventilated area for a couple of weeks. Shell pods and store in paper envelopes or jars. Pea and bean seeds remain viable for 3 years.

Tomatoes

Allow fruit to ripen fully and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Put the seeds and pulp in a glass jar with some water. Let sit at room temperature for 2-4 days, stirring once a day. Each day pour off the pulp and seeds that float to the top. Viable seeds will sink to the bottom. After 4 days, remove the seeds at the bottom, rinse thoroughly, drain and spread on newspaper or paper towels to dry. Package in paper envelopes or jars. Tomato seeds remain viable for 4 years.

Lettuce

You must allow the lettuce plant to bolt or grow a stalk which will make a flower head with small yellow flowers. They eventually change to feathery white tufts which contain black or white seeds. Lettuce seeds don’t ripen all at once, so monitor the plants for a month or two. Each time you see some seeds turning dark, shake the plant over a paper bag to catch the seeds. Dry indoors for a week before storing. Lettuce seeds remain viable for 5 years.

Native Plants

Most native plants produce a flower, which if pollinated, will make a seed head or pod. Late in the fall or after a frost, collect the seed pods and allow to thoroughly dry. Remove the seeds before storing. Many native plants, especially milkweeds, attach a fluff bit to each seed to allow the seeds to disperse in the wind. To remove this fluff put the opened seed pods in a bucket or container with a lid. Add a couple of coins and close the lid and shake. The shaking with the coins will remove the fluff from the seeds. After shaking, the seeds will be at the bottom of the container.

Most native seeds require a moist cold period of time called stratification before they will germinate. The easiest way to grow these seeds is to plant them in the fall and let them go through the winter where they will sprout in the spring. Otherwise you will need to simulate winter by placing the seeds in moist sand and storing in the refrigerator for a set number of days before starting inside.  

 

RESOURCES

White Bear Lake Seed Library:

Email: wblseedlibrary@gmail.com

 

University of Minnesota Extension information - http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/vegetables/saving-vegetable-seeds/

Seed Savers Exchange – http://www.seedsavers.org/

Native plant growing from Prairie Moon Nursery - https://www.prairiemoon.com/

Seed Sowing and Saving by Carole B. Turner

Starting and Saving Seeds by Julie Thompson-Adolf

 

 

 

 

 

Pam Larson Frink                                                                                        Rev 9/2019

Friday, July 31, 2020

List of Native Plant Seeds in Seed Library


List of Native Plant Seeds
Sun: S = Sun, PS = Partial Sun, Sh = Shade
Germ =  Germination Code where C(nn) means nn days of stratification before seeding
                A means direct seed in early spring
Pollinators if Y means bees, butterflies, wasps or hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers
Avail if Y means seeds are available in the seed library
Scientific Name
Sun
Ht
Bloom Color
Bloom Time
Germ
Polli-nators
Avail
Giant Blue Hyssop
Agastache scrophulariaefolia
S,PS
5'
Wh
Jul-Oct
C(60)
Y
Y
White Snakeroot
Ageratina altissima
PS,Sh
2'
Wh
Jul-Oct
C(60)
N
Y
Wild Leek
Allium tricoccum
PS,Sh
8"
Wh
Jun-Jul
E
N
N
Scarlet Toothcup
Ammannia coccinea
PS
2'
Pink
Jun-Aug
A
N
Y
Lead Plant
Amorpha ceneocens
S,PS
3'
Pur
Jun-Aug
C(10)
Y
N
Pearly Everlasting
Anaphalis margaritacea
S,PS
2'
Wh
Jun-Sep
C(30)
N
N
Thimble Weed
Anemone virginiana
S,PS,Sh
3'
Wh
Jun-Aug
C(60)
N
Y
Pussytoes
Antennaria plantaginifolia
S,PS
1'
Wh
Apr-Jun
C(60)
N
Y
Dogbane
Apocynum cannabinum
S,PS
4'
Wh
May-Aug
A
N
Y
Columbine
Aquilegea canadensis
S,PS,Sh
2'
Red
Apr-May
C(60)
Y
Y
Prairie Sage
Artemisia ludoviciana
S,PS
3'
Wh
Jul-Sep
C(60)
N
Y
Swamp Milkweed
Asclepias incarnati
S,PS
4'
Pink
Jun-Aug
C(30)
Y
Y
Common Milkweed
Asclepias syriaca
S,PS
3'
Pink
Jun-Aug
C(30)
Y
Y
Butterfly Weed
Asclepias tuberosa
S,PS
2'
Org
Jun-Aug
C(30)
Y
Y
Smallspike False Nettle
Boehmeria cylindrica
PS
3'
Yel
Jun-Aug
A
Y
Y
Side-Oats Grama
Bouteloua curtipendula
S,PS
2'
-
Aug-Sep
A
N
Y
Blue Grama
Bouteloua gracilis
S,PS
1'
Gr,Bl
Jul-Sep
A
N
Y
Fringed Brome Grass
Bromus cilites
S,PS
4'
-
-
A
N
Y
Bellflower
Campanula americana
PS,Sh
5'
Blue
Jul-Oct
C(30)
Y
N
Partridge Pea
Chamaecrista fasciculate
S,PS
2'
Yel
Jul-Sep
A
Y

Virgin's Bower
Clemetis virginia
S,PS
9'
Wh
Jul-Sep
C(30)
N
Y
Lance-leaf Coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata
S
2'
Yel
May-Aug
C(30)
Y
Y
Prairie Coreopsis
Coreopsis palmata
S,PS
2'
Yel
Jun-Aug
C(30)
Y
Y
Purple Prairie Grass
Dalea purpurea
S,PS
2'
Pur
Jul-Sep
A
Y
N
Pale Purple Coneflower
Echinacea pallida
S,PS
3'
Pink
Jun-Jul
C(90)
Y
Y
Purple Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea
S,PS
4'
Pur
Jul-Sep
C(90)
Y
N
Boneset
Eupatorium perfoliatum
S,PS
4'
Wh
Jul-Sep
C(30)
Y
Y
Purple Love Grass
Eragrostis spectabilis
S,PS
2'
Gr,Pur
Jul-Aug
A
N
N
Rattlesnake Master
Eryngium yuccifolium
S
4'
Wh
Jul-Sep
C(60)
N
Y
Joe Pye weed
Eutrochium maculatum
S,PS
5'
Pink
Jul-Sep
C(30)
Y
Y
Sweet Joe Pye Weed
Eutrochium purpureum
S,PS
7'
Pink
Jul-Sep
C(30)
Y
N
Big leaved Aster
Eurybia macrophylla
PS,Sh
1'
Pur
Aug-Sep
c(60)
Y
Y
Sneezeweed
Helenium autumnale
S,PS
4'
Yel
Aug-Oct
A
Y
Y
Early Sunflower
Heliopsis helianthoides
S,PS
5'
Yel
Jun-Sep
C(30)
Y
Y
Alum Root
Heuchera richardsonii
S,PS
2'
Gr
May-Jul
C(30)
N
N
Shrubby St. John's Wort
Hypericum prolificum
S,PS
5'
Yel
Jul-Sep
A
Y
Y
Northern Blue Flag Iris
Iris versicolor
S,PS
3'
Bl,Pur
May-Jul
C(120)
N
Y
Rough Blazing Star
Liatris aspera
S,PS
3'
Pur
Jul-Oct
C(60)
Y
Y
Meadow Blazing Star
Liatris ligulistylis
S,PS
5'
Pur
Aug-Sep
C(60)
Y
Y
Prairie Blazing Star
Liatris pycnostachya
S,PS
4'
Pur
Jul-Sep
C(60)
Y
Y
Cardinal Flower
Lobelia cardinalis
S,PS
4'
Red
Jul-Sep
C(60)
Y
Y
Great Blue Lobelia
Lobelia siphilitica
S,PS
3'
Blu
Jul-Oct
C(60)
Y
Y
Lupine
Lupinus perennis
S,PS
2'
Blu
May-Jul
C(10)
Y
Y
Wild Bergamot
Monarda fistulosa
S,PS
4'
Pur
Jul-Sep
A
Y
N
Prairie Sundrops
Oenothera pilosella
S,PS
2'
Yel
May-Jun
A
N
Y
Smooth Beardtongue
Penstemon digitalis
S,PS
4'
Wh
Jun-Jul
C(30)
Y
N
Large-flowered Beardtongue
Penstemon grandiflora
S,PS
2'
Pur
May-Jun
C(30)
Y
Y
Obedient Plant
Physostegia virginiana
S,PS
4'
Pink
Aug-Sep
C(60)
Y
N
Jacob's Ladder
Polemonium reptans
PS,Sh
1'
Blue
Apr-Jun
C(60)
Y
Y
Yellow Coneflower
Ratibida pinnata
S,PS
5'
Yel
Jul-Sep
C(30)
Y
Y
Brown-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia triloba
S,PS
5'
Yel
Aug-Sep
C(30)
Y
Y
Little Bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium
S,PS
3'

Jul-Oct
A
N
Y
Early Figwort
Scrophularia lanceolata
S,PS,Sh
6'
Red,Gr
May-Jul
C(60)
Y
Y
Late Figwort
Scrophularia marilandica
S,PS,Sh
6'
Red,Gr
Jul-Oct
C(60)
Y
Y
Cup Plant
Silphium perfoliatum
S,PS
6'
Yel
Jul-Sep
C(60)
Y
Y
Prairie Dock
Silphium terebinthipacem
S,PS
9'
Yel
Jul-Sep
C(60)
Y
Y
Blue-eyed Grass
Sisyrinchium albidum
S,PS
6"
Blue
May-Jun
C(60)
N
N
Showy Goldenrod
Solidago speciosa
S,PS
5'
Yel
Sep-Nov
C(60)
Y
Y
Stiff Goldenrod
Solidago rigida
S,PS
4'
Yel
Aug-Oct
C(60)
Y
Y
Indian Grass
Sorghastrum nutana
S,PS
6'
-
Aug-Sep
A
N
Y
Prairie Dropseed
Sporobolus heterolepis
S,PS
2'
-
Aug-Oct
A
N
Y
Heart Leaved Aster
Symphyotrichum cordifolium
PS,Sh
3'
Blue
Sep-Oct
C(60)
Y
N
Smooth Blue Aster
Symphyotrichum laeve
S,PS
4'
Pur
Aug-Oct
A
Y
Y
New England Aster
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae
S,PS
5'
Pur
Aug-Oct
C(60)
Y
Y
Aromatic Aster
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium
S
2'
Pur
Aug-Nov
A
Y
Y
Sky Blue Aster
Symphyotrichum oolentangiense
S,PS
3'
Blue
Aug-Oct
C(60)
Y
N
Short's Aster
Symphyotrichum shortii
S,PS
3'
Pur
Aug-Oct
C(30)
Y
Y
Tall Meadow Rue
Thalictrum dasycarpum
S,PS
6'
Cream
Jun-Jul
C(60)
N
N
Blue Vervain
Verbena hastata
S,PS
5'
Pur
Jul-Sep
C(30)
Y
Y
Hoary Vervain
Verbena stricta
S,PS
2'
Blue
Jun-Sep
C(60)
Y
Y
Common Ironweed
Vernonia fasciculata
S,PS
6'
Pur
Jun-Sep
C(60)
Y
Y
Culver's Root
Veronicastrum virginicum
S,PS
5'
Wh
Jun-Aug
A
Y
Y
Golden Alexander
Zizia aurea
S,PS
3'
Yel
Apr-Jun
C(60)
Y
Y
Mixture
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Y