Sunday, April 19, 2020

A Tree Quiz and Next Seed Pickup

Hello Gardeners!

As National Arbor Day is April 24th, I am celebrating trees this month. So here is another tree quiz.
1. Roughly, how many trees are on the Earth?
a) 1 billion
b) 2 million
c) 3 trillion
d) 4 quadrillion

2. The first known tree occurred 385 million years ago and its fossil was found in:
a) What is known today as Russia
b) What is known today as Brazil
c) What is known today as Australia
d) What is known today as New York

3. How many trees do you need to add to a pasture to improve the number of bird species in that area? (Increase the biodiversity of birds from 0 to 80)

a) add 1 tree
b) add 10 trees
c) add 100 trees
d) add 0 trees as there is no connection between birds and trees

Actually the number of trees worldwide has dropped by 46% since the start of agriculture 12,000 years ago. If you guessed 3 trillion you would be about right 3 Trillion and counting. This is just an estimate as trees seem to ignore any census counting forms and the last I knew they aren’t into entering their stats on computers either!

Though 385 million years ago seems like a long time, it has only been in the last 10% of earth’s existence that trees have been around. The first known plant was a type of algae about 1 billion years ago. It took a while for plants to figure out how to make a structure to keep them upright. The oldest tree is the Wattieza and it was found in what is known today as upstate New York! It formed the first known forests.  

By contrast the first known flower  found as a fossil is only 130 million years old. This plant is called Montsechia vidalii. but scientists believe flowers came before that and have hypothesized what they looked like.

Amazingly enough all you need to do is add 1 tree to a pasture to increase the bird diversity from 0 to 80! But as you remember from the last email, trees like to live in groups and a tree living in a forest usually will outlive a sole tree. So plant a tree or two this month in honor of Arbor Day!

There are some new gardeners who received seeds from the seed library and maybe are wondering:

I got some seeds now what do I do?

Here’s a repeats of what I sent before.
Everyone has their own method for determining when to plant seeds outside, but here are some general rules:
-Know your last frost date. For most of us living in zone 4, the average last frost date is between May 5-15. Remember this is an average, every year will be different.
-Know what are considered cool season crops and warm season crops. Cool season crops prefer to grow when the temperatures are cooler such as early spring and late fall. Warm season crops think the sunnier and hotter the better. Below is a general guide line as I’m sure some of you who are experienced gardeners have your own timeline.

Seeds to start early indoor as they need a longer growing season then we have here:
Basil, Broccoli, Eggplant, Oregano, Onions, Peppers, Peppermint, Tomatillos, Tomatoes

Seeds to direct sow as soon as the soil can be worked, i.e. cool season crops:
Cilantro, Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Onion sets, Peas, Radish, Spinach, many native plants

Seeds to direct sow after all danger of frost and soil has warmed, i.e. warm season crops:
Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Cabbage, Chard, Cucumber, Dill, Melons, Parsnips, Squash, Sunflowers

Plants to transplant outside after all danger of frost: (I usually wait until temps are at least 50 degrees at all times)
Basil, Broccoli, Eggplant, Oregano, Onions, Peppers, Peppermint, Tomatillos, Tomatoes

Here are some good places to find more information:

Seed Distribution
I will have another seed pickup on Saturday April 25 from 9-10 am at the White Bear Lake library’s parking lot. To pick up seeds on this date you must email me your order by 7pm Friday April 24, ( You can read the details at the blog site WBL blog site.

A note about the Seed Library’s blog site, WBL Seed Library. As it is a blog site the most recent post will be first or the most visible. Previous posts will be under ‘Archive’ on the far right. To find information of the seed distribution and the lists of seeds available you need to look under the ‘Archive’ heading and then under “March’.

Please consider planting an extra row or plant or two for the seed library! We will especially need pea, bean and lettuce seeds for the next season.

Happy Planting!

Contact info for the Seed Library:
Blog site: WBL Seed Library

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