winter sowing native seeds

The seed lies dormant all winter and is ready to sprout the first chance it gets, in the spring. By late-April you will need to begin watering every couple of days, depending upon the weather. Photo: ©Lisa Looke, courtesy of Wild Seed Project. To ensure your success, please read through these resources before sowing seeds: Get started with Autumn and Winter Seed Sowing … More discussion and the original FAQ set are at GardenWeb: Winter Sowing Forum Winter Sowing FAQs at GardenWeb. Carry pots outside and cover with rodent wire. You’ll be happy to learn most of the tools needed are already inside your home. Flowers and foliage are scented to the nines. Maybe you don’t really know some plants until you’ve grown them from seed, and then those plants bear seed. YOU MIGHT WONDER WHEN, exactly, to winter-sow your perennials, annuals, herbs and veggies outdoors. Most natives are perennials and do not bloom in the first summer, but many will bloom in the second summer. Whether you’re sowing your seeds in the fall or spring, … Water the pots gently but thoroughly – do not flood them as the seeds may float to the surface or wash out of the pot. Failure teaches us to appreciate the dedicated process that professional growers undertake to provide us with such a wide array of native plant selections here in Missouri and our surrounding states. Dormant seeding can be extremely successful. Dormant seeding is the practice of sowing grass in the winter months when grass seeds are inactive. Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan) seed heads, photo courtesy Missouri Native Plant Society. -When is the best time of year to sow the species you want to grow? The freezing and thawing helps break open the seed coat. This method is great for those that don’t have any extra space indoors to dedicate to seed … When it comes to sowing native seeds, sometimes we can chalk up success to pure luck, but a little bit of research can go a long way in increasing our odds. You may have tried it yourself, in the vegetable garden, sowing spinach and corn salad (mache) in the late fall for harvesting soon after the snow melts. Not all native seeds require this cold period for germination, but every seed can be sown outdoors in the fall or winter. Label the pot with the name and sowing date and press label down deep along the edge of the pot. See our Upcoming Events calendar for details. Many native seeds need to have a winter period of cold moist temperatures to break dormancy and germinate. of slightly damp medium. One thing I have noticed in my work is that introducing large numbers of native seeds into a weedy area provides some pretty tough competition for the weeds. Read more about germinating native seeds in How to Grow Natives From Seed. You can also start seeds indoors using a good seed starting mix four to six weeks before the last frost. In Maine, the yearly cycle for seed ripening and germination is different from common garden and vegetable seeds. These can stay in the same pots. The... Sowing the Seeds. This method of sowing grass is called dormant seeding. Winter sowing is a method of germinating seeds outdoors in recycled containers during the cold winter months. Gather the items you’ll need onto a worktable or cleared area. In the wild, seeds will lie dormant until the proper conditions for growth occur. Think back to the first time you planted a seed in school, for many of us, it was a lima bean wrapped in a moist towel or in a clear bag with some water. The grass won't germinate until the following spring when soil temperatures warm. Seedlings can grow all summer in your little nursery area and then be planted into the garden in September. Seeds can be sown thickly (1/8 to 1/4 inch apart). So, of course, the solution was to water it a little more, and then a little more, and we all know what happened after that. Fall and winter are the best times to sow native seeds. Sowing the Seeds. For many of us, there’s nothing like the joy of holding a packet of seeds in the winter. But once we learn the different variables required for what we are trying to grow, our success rate increases tremendously. And within … Oftentimes, annual flowers are mixed in to give a hint at success, only to follow with bare areas the following year. It can be useful for propagating most native perennials/shrubs/vines. Seeds are little morsels of hope that … We prefer sowing native seeds in the fall, but seeds can be planted fall, spring or dead of winter; this chart lists the pros and cons of each season. In Maine, the yearly cycle for seed ripening and germination is different from common garden and vegetable seeds. • The easiest way to germinate native seeds is to sow them outdoors. Baneberry (Actaea), Trillium and Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum) need multiple cycles of warm/cold weather, sometimes taking two years for seeds to germinate. Even though it may have died, somehow it still sparked a sense of desire to try again. Thimbleweed seed head. Label with the name and sowing date. Consider growing onions from seed! Photo permission required from Wild Seed Project, Staying Healthy with Native Plants: Elderberry Shrub, FERNS: Ancient Plants for 21st Century Landscapes, Plastic labels for each species you will sow, Pencil (not pen, even waterproof pens wash off within several months), Sand: coarse all purpose sand from a hardware store (no chemicals), Rodent screen ¼ to ½ inch holes big enough to protect the pots. A cold frame with a wire covering (not plastic or glass) is another good choice. Ideally, you’ll winter-sow your wildflower seeds over ground that you’ve already prepared, says David Salman, founder and Chief Horticulturist at High Country Gardens in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Variety choices available in onion sets are not always the best varieties to grow in your location or your soil type. Resilience: It’s a vegetable-seed trade buzzword, and a mission — to breed genetically resilient varieties that get up to pests, illnesses and the trials of a shifting local weather. Be patient and observant. She has earned Green Profit Magazine’s Young Retailer Award, and Greenscape Gardens was named the National Winner of the 2015 “Revolutionary 100” Garden Centers by Today’s Garden Center Magazine. If you live in a northern climate and have snow, this method works even better because the melt adds all the moisture your seeds need. I use fresh blossoms to make fragrant shortbread cookies. 2020-2021 Seed Sale What to Know Before You Grow – Important! Sowing Winter Seeds. It’s an easy, low-cost method to grow native plants from seed that require stratification. For many of us, there’s nothing like the joy of holding a packet of seeds in the winter. Below are the six easy steps to do it. Photo courtesy Missouri Native Plant Society. All you need to get started is seeds, dirt and some old plastic take-out containers with lids. What is Winter Sowing? Contact Information: Trudi Davidoff,c/o WinterSown Educational 1989 School Street East Meadow, NY 11554 Phone: 516-794-3945 I first tried winter sowing last … Native plants and hardy perennials are great choices for winter sowing. This doesn’t always seem to be the case. Although the preferred time to sow grass seed is the late summer or early fall, you can successfully sow grass seed in the winter. After another week or so, you planted it in a little paper cup, and confidently took it home without spilling it on the bus and placed it in the window. That little sprout seemed to grow an inch a day, until that one day when it started to look droopy. and the rewards can be quite substantial when spring rolls around. The seeds know what to do. Create seed starter mini-greenhouses using foil pans with plastic lids (the kind that come with take-out food). P.O. Make slits in the bottoms of the pans to allow proper drainage. Jennifer Schamber is the General Manager of Greenscape Gardens in St. Louis, Missouri, and plays leadership roles in the Western Nursery & Landscape Association, GrowNative!, and the Landscape & Nursery Association of Greater St. Louis. Fill the pots and pack the soil to create a flat surface ¼ or ½ inch from the top. This is the easiest way to get to know your new plants and to not forget to water them. Some important considerations when growing natives from seed include: -Do we have a good understanding of the natural lifecycle of the plant and can it be mimicked? professionals such as Missouri Wildflowers Nursery, Pure Air Natives, Hamilton Native Outpost and Grace Native Seed, as well as Shaw Nature Reserve, have all developed strategies to be able to guide and provide for a range of native plant projects, from large-scale restoration plantings, to a home gardener just starting to convert a section of lawn into a naturalized space. They don’t need to be babied. This is the main reason why cannisters of “wildflowers” frequently found at box stores, can lead to disappointing results sometimes. You don’t need special equipment or a greenhouse. Spread them evenly throughout the pot on the surface of the soil. Native plants, which give food and shelter to bugs, birds, and other beings, don’t need much to thrive. Instead, this method uses recycled containers which act as miniature greenhouses to sow seeds of plants that would normally survive winter either as perennials or as reseeding annuals. Seeds are little morsels of hope that have such potential, especially on cold, wintery days. Each resilient selection turns into a tiny, vital ingredient in a resilient seed system that helps agriculture, the muse of a resilient meals system. Box 4301 If you have limited space for starting seeds indoors, winter sowing might be an option for you, depending on what you want to grow. Shrubs and slow-growing woodland wildflowers may take longer. The recycled containers act as mini greenhouses for you. A good rule of thumb is to sow the seeds to the depth of the thickness of the seed and roughly 1/8 to ¼ inch apart. Winter sowing is a technique gardeners can use to start growing seeds outdoors during the winter months. The idea behind winter sowing is that you sow the seeds outdoors in miniature greenhouses during the winter, allowing them to germinate naturally during the spring. Winter sowing flowers & perennials is a great inexpensive way to grow your garden. He recommends raking the ground before snow and ice arrive to remove any debris and expose the ground. Not only are the seeds often not truly native, they may have different cycles so they don’t germinate with consistency. Types of Grass That Can Be Planted in Late Fall & Early Winter. Not all native seeds require this cold period for germination, but every seed can be sown outdoors in the fall or winter. Winter Sowers at FaceBook. Seeds should not be planted in the summer. Grass can be broken down into two types: warm season and cool season. The best time varies by species. Webinars and Workshops (Virtual), Now-Dec. 31st–Winter Jewels, The Butterfly House, Now-Dec. 31st–Books and Butterflies, The Butterfly House, Now-Jan. 2nd–Garden Glow, Missouri Botanical Gardens, Nov. 28th–Holiday Open House, Planthaven Farms, Dec. 12th-13th–Supper with Santa, The Butterfly House, How to Make a Holiday Wreath from Invasive Plant Vines, Landscape Design, Installation and Maintenance. Make sure the pots are level. • Native plant seeds (Wild Seed Project is a great source) How to sow native seeds in late fall/early winter • Fill your pots with 2 parts potting soil to 1 part coarse builder’s sand I will then do some sweet peas a few weeks later. Some say that you don’t truly know a plant until you’ve killed it twice. Each native seed has its own timetable for germination beginning with the cold and frosty temperatures of early spring and sometimes not until the heat of summer. December 3, 2020 Editor In the Garden, Native Plants, Propagation, Seed Starting, Tips, Techniques and Tools. Sowing Native Seed by Heather McCargo. It can be a very humbling experience to grow some seeds, especially when there’s the notion that “wildflowers are so easy”. Late fall and winter are ideal times of year to sow many of our native seeds, with a few exceptions. Fill the pans with soil, water the soil, and allow it to drain. Under a garden bench or table, or on the north side of the house beyond the roof drip line works well. Fall and winter are the best times to sow native seeds. Many native seeds need to have a winter period of cold moist temperaturesto break dormancy and germinate. -Will the seeds require protection from seed-eating critters? In May or June some species can be moved to bigger pots while other species will be growing very slowly or may just have germinated. The most ideal seed starting medium for milk jug winter sowing is 4 parts screened aged compost to 2 parts perlite or vermiculite, and 2 parts peat moss. Save your own seeds, or exchange seed with friends or family and grow your own. Lavender. Some of these professionals provide mixes designed to be successful based on an area’s conditions and the desired end result. Rain, snow, sleet, a January thaw, and then an ice storm followed by more snow; the seeds will be fine. Winter sowing milkweed doesn’t require a huge investment (of your time or money!) Cover the seeds with the sand by sprinkling it around, much as you would add salt to a dish. info@wildseedproject.net, Wild Seed Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. They receive the same weather and temperature as those directly sown … The group will be using seeds collected at the well-attended Seed Cleaning Workshop last week at the Library. In less than a week or so, the seed magically began to swell and then sprout, and at that point, in your mind you were a master at growing things. Plant the seeds according to the package instructions. Winter sowing warm weather milkweeds including tropical, swan, and giant could kill your seeds. The focus is on sowing seeds to generate native plant seedlings this winter for planting in the spring. For many of us, there’s nothing like the joy of holding a packet of seeds in the winter. Now-Dec. 16th–Fall Missouri Prairie Foundation and Grow Native! While working on that type of winter sowing, I dug out some of my seeds from last year. Keep watered. Here’s a long list of perennials that require cold stratification, but among those familiar to northern gardeners are perennial geranium, turtlehead, hardy hibiscus, catmint, rudbeckia and sedum. Grow Native! -Does it require stratification (cold storage) or scarification (scarring)? Sowing seeds in the fall or winter is an old technique used worldwide. Native Milkweed (Asclepias) and Bee Balm (Monarda) seeds require at least one winter outdoors before they will sprout. Their seeds stay dormant over the winter, then germinate at the right time in the spring. Example: a sesame seed is covered with 1/8th of an inch of sand; a pea is covered with ½ inch of sand. Sprinkle the seeds … Participants will get to bring home their own mini greenhouse in a bottle. Native Seed Germination Codes and Instructions The seeds of many native plants have built-in dormancy mechanisms which protect them from germinating before killing frosts or in times of drought. Native seeds can be sown thickly (planted close together). Columbine seeds ( Aquilegia canadensis ). Seeds are little morsels of hope that have such potential, especially on cold, wintery days. The easiest answer is “now.” However, depending on where you live, you may find that it pays to plant certain seeds ahead of others. PARADISE — Restoring native lands and plants for the future of the ridge and foothills is driving local hands-on projects to get outside and get seeds in the ground as winter begins. Seeds that are fine and dust-like … All rights reserved. While there is little value in scattering seed, broadcasting grass seed over bare or patchy areas between snowfalls gives seeds an opportunity to anchor in the soil before germinating. Portland, Maine 04101 [This article was first published in The Gateway Gardener Winter 2019 issue.]. Sowing Native Plant Seeds. Plants such as penstemons, blazing stars and shrubby dogwoods, which need a cold period to germinate, should be sown in fall or early winter. Beginners welcome! Some natives may need two years or more for seeds to germinate, while others may be considered easy since they tend to germinate without special treatment, like Rudbeckia, Agastache, Aster, Lobelia, Helianthus and Heliopsis. Start checking the pots in late-March for germination. The containers protect the seeds so more survive to germinate in the spring. I usually start as early as January with lavender, phlox, rudbeckia, and other similar perennials. Please join us there for family-friendly conversation and photos about Winter Sowing, our gardens, seeds, all types of horticulture, and home-canning and food preservation. If you choose to plant them into the garden over the summer, just be sure to check on them regularly for watering and to make sure nearby plants are not crowding them. I winter-sowed seeds of Lavandula ‘Munstead’ one year, and then planted the seedlings in the dry, crappy soil at the base of my Serpentine Garden. Winter sowing is for gardeners who don't have the space or lighting available to sow seeds indoors. A general rule of thumb for covering the seeds is to cover to the depth of the thickness of the seed. Sun loving species should be moved to a partially sunny location to grow. Copyright 2020. This perennial requires no coddling whatsoever. In one field I planted a mix of eleven native wildflowers and buffalograss. Fill the bottom of the jug with 2 inches (5 cm.) The best time for outdoor aster seed sowing is just after the last frost in your area. The seeds can be sown from late October to early February and left unprotected … Below are the six easy steps to do it. You may want to consider propagating plants by ‘Winter Sowing’. Many natives start out best by sowing in Fall. Prepare Your Site For Seeding Wildflowers. Thank you for sowing native seeds and for joining the growing number of people helping to increase native plants in Maine. What to Winter-Sow and When | Updated 2020. 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