Monday, January 27, 2020

Seed Packaging Wednesday January 29, 2020!

Seed Packaging on Wednesday Jan 29, 2020 from 5-8pm
Lion’s Den room in the White Bear Lake library, 2150 2nd St, White Bear Lake, MN
(Note this event is on a Wednesday, so maybe the people who can’t come on Tuesdays can come to this event.)
Come help the Seed Library by packaging seeds. No experience necessary and very easy to do. Enjoy the company of fellow gardeners while we package up vegetable and annual flower seeds.
This is an open event, which means come when you can and stay as long as you want between the hours of 5-8pm. Treats provided!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Winter Sowing Method and Other Methods to Start Native Seeds

How to Start Native Plants from Seeds

Most native plants produce a flower which, if pollinated, will make a seed head or pod. Late in the fall collect the seed pods and allow to thoroughly dry. Remove the seeds before placing in paper envelopes or paper bags. Store in a cool, dry location. It is important seeds are dry before storing to prevent mold. Most native seeds require a moist cold period of time called stratification before they will germinate.

Germination Methods

Easiest Methods: The easiest way to grow native plant seeds is to plant them in the late fall and let them go through the winter where they will sprout in the spring. Another way is to do snow sowing, used mostly for large sites. Prepare the site for planting in the fall. During the winter, scatter the seeds on top of the snow above the prepared site. As the snow melts in spring, the seeds will sink and germinate on the soil surface.

Winter Sowing Method
1. In late fall or early winter, prepare containers for growing seeds. Take a clean one gallon clear or semi-clear plastic container (such as a milk or water bottle) and poke holes in bottom and all over the sides and top of the container. Be generous with your holes. This is needed so water can get into and out of the container. Remove lid so that water can also get in through the top.
2. Cut 7/8 ways around the diameter about 6” from the bottom. Leave the top part attached by a small piece of plastic as the ‘hinge’. You are making a little greenhouse.
3. Turn the container over and label the bottom of the container with a permanent marker with the type of seed you are planting. Labeling the bottom prevents fading of the marker due to sun and rain. Yes, even permanent markers will fade in the sun, rain and snow.
4. Fill bottom of the container with at least 4” of potting soil. Use any kind, but don’t use soil from your garden as it is too heavy in texture and may have diseases.
5. Plant seeds in the soil to the depth stated on package. A good rule of thumb is to plant seeds to the depth of 2 ½ the diameter of the seed. Some seeds need light to germinate, which means don’t cover them, just sprinkle on the top of the soil.
6. Water until moist.
7. Replace top part of container and close with a piece of duct tape on the corner opposite the hinge. You just need one piece of tape to hold the lid in place so critters can’t get in to rummage around in your soil. Do not tape the entire sides. It is not necessary and some water will get in through the sides, which is a good thing.
8. Place containers outside in a sunny location. Yes, you put them outside in the winter in the cold. The seeds need a period of cold moist stratification before they will germinate. If you have persistent critters you may need to secure your mini-greenhouses so they don’t cart them off or play with them.
9. No need to do anything with the containers until spring. Check containers periodically to make sure they are still moist. Start checking containers as early as March. Things heat up quite a bit inside these little greenhouses on sunny days. There may still be snow on the ground, but it could be warm enough inside them to cause the soil to be dry. Remember seeds need moisture to germinate. You may have to open the tops on very warm days or when seedlings outgrow the container.
10. Transplant seedlings in the spring to your garden. No need to harden off seedlings as they have been growing outside all the time!

Moist Sand or Coffee Filter Method
You need to simulate winter by placing the seeds in moist sand or between a folded moist coffee filter and storing in the refrigerator for a set number of days before starting inside.  Find the number of days to stratify on online or catalog sources.
Place a handful of moist fine sand in a plastic bag. Add seeds and mix. Or moisten a coffee filter and place seeds on filter and fold in half. Place filter in plastic bag. Label bag and place in refrigerator for the required number of days needed to stratify. Check bag occasionally and add water to keep moist. After appropriate number of days has gone by, place sand and seeds in potting soil medium in flats or pots and grow as you would other seeds.

Prairie Moon Nursery:
White Bear Lake Seed Library blog site:
Any questions, email me at: