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prairiemoon2

Anyone here starting a lot of seed?

I'm trying to time my seed starting - perennials - annuals. I didn't do a lot of winter sowing so I'm going to start some under lights.


Also - didn't there used to be a forum for Growing from Seed? Did I miss it? And also, it used to be that if you visited a forum, they would have links to related forums right under the title of the forum. I don't see that any more. For instance, under Perennials, it might have a link to the Hosta forum etc.


Comments (58)

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    2 months ago

    I'm doing a lot this year, much more than I expected to, by wintersowing. I decided since the budget was tight to finally sow some of the (mumble mumble 15-year-) old seed I had. LOL, it's not ALL that old, but the oldest packet I found so far says "packed for 2006". Gee, where does the time go lol?

    I have about 30 containers so far, and expect to to at least another 50, which is still not really a lot for me as I usually do about 200-225. If I can find more containers maybe I'll get my total up to 100 yet. For fun (and to see how my germination rate is) I keep a running seed count (which is approximate due to the small seeds - those I enter as 50ish, etc) and so far I have sown 1171 seeds.

    So far I've sown some lobelia cardinalis, asclepias incarnata, lupines, echinacea, helenium, strawflowers, paper daisies, gomphrena, hollyhocks, a few different marigolds, a few different salvias, a few scabiosas, a few poppies, 4 kinds of rudbeckias, and 10 different kinds of cosmos - and one more coming in the mail lol - can you tell I love cosmos? I'll probably have as many different zinnias too, as they are the mainstay of my cutting garden.

    Skip, that's a nice set-up you've got. Those frames made me have a Homer Simpson moment - you know, doh! That's such a simple idea to have those hinged tops but I never thought of it. I still prefer my individual containers for wintersowing, but a hinged frame like that might be nice for a cold frame or starting stuff like dahlias out early, or as gawdinfever says for keeping out pests. Thanks for the food for thought!

    :)
    Dee

  • cecily 7A
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I have a crush on Skip.

    Two packets of common milkweed and one packet each of a. incarnata and a. tuberosa are sitting out on my deck with chicken wire cages covering their flats to keep the squirrels out. The squirrels wouldn't eat them but they'd plant sunflower seed from the birdfeeder into the cells. They will be headed to the historic site to enrich an existing meadow.

    DH always starts our tomatoes and peppers plus the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants for the historic site veggie garden in our dining room next to the french doors. Then I can move them out onto the deck on warm April afternoons. That plan is questionable this year. Our old reliable friend Boris passed away last fall and the replacement kitten Jupiter is a maniac. DH is cogitating on a folding screen to keep Jupiter out of the veggie flats. We'll see how that works out... Jupiter thinned an unprotected flat of cardoons last week. DH didn't think he'd be interested in them. The seedlings had germinated atop the refrigerator and they were an inch tall when placed by the windows. Overnight, kitty pulled up each seedling and piled them neatly next to the tray. A few seeds hadn't germinated yet and those laggards are now growing under a cage.

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  • Skip1909
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Yes I've done this before with varying degrees of success.

    Wintersowing in the milk jugs works the best but I like the convenience of the plugs. This is the first year I'm trying artificial cold stratification with a few things in the fridge

  • deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
    2 months ago

    I'm wintersowing, as usual. Last year I started VERY VERY late. I don't think I got my jugs out until early March. Everything did find except things needing 60+ days of stratification. This year I eased into a trick I'm going to use from here on out--for those needing 30 or more days of stratification, I'm sowing them as soon as they arrive, even if it's October. I left the tops off until the real cold arrived to prevent any fungus growth during warmer fall days.

    I had intended to do many many natives, but they often require longer cold periods, at least for those native up here. This year has been one of the busiest and I was not able to order seeds early enough.

    This year I'm sowing yellows for the first time in a long time, several rudbeckia, among my normal things. Replenishing some rose salvias that are short-lived, more rock cress as they are easy to germinate, but getting them established in the rock crevices of the wall is a challenge, but worth it once they bloom in the wall in spring, self-seeding annuals.

    QUESTION: Every single time I wintersow larkspur they germinate wonderfully. Once they're in the ground NOTHING happens. Slugs get some, but the ones that survive just don't grow. They are in WONDERFUL soil that was created in 2016 by mixing loam, peat, and high-quality compost. It's springy and healthy, and everything else loves it. Larkspur just will not grow (and annual dianthus (carnation) Chaboud won't either). Any thoughts?

    I did foxgloves for the first time last year. They entered winter with wonderfully mature leaf rosettes and I can't wait for the blooms this year!

  • mxk3
    2 months ago

    Prairie: It's way too early for stuff like peppers unless you're planning on planting out in late April. One of the biggest mistake people make with growing annual flowers and vegetables from seed is starting too early. Peppers only need about 8 weeks inside; based on planting out date where I am, that would be last week of March for me.

    I always plants lots of seeds -- mostly annuals and vegetables, occasionally perennials. The only things I've sown so far is heliotrope because it takes a long time from seed to good-sized plants, at least 16 weeks IME. I planted them last week, they're up already. I also have some purple milkweed in the fridge stratifying.


  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    2 months ago

    Deanna, it's funny you mention the larkspur. When I initially wintersowed it years ago, and a few times since, it germinated great, looked great in containers, and then didn't do much once transplanted. However, I have lots of reseeders and they seem a bit more vigorous. This would lead me to believe it's a transplanting thing, but that doesn't make much sense either, since i often dig up and transplant the reseeded seedlings I find, putting them where I want them. Although honestly I wouldn't even say that those reseeders are *great*, but a bit better than my transplanted WSown seedlings. Who knows? Larkspur has just always been one of those delicate fragile plants for me, but I love the color of the blue ones I have so I deal with it.

    I'm toying with the idea of this year direct sowing the old larkspur seed I have. I'm just not sure. If the snow ever disappears, I have all my beds mulched with shredded leaves, so I don't know whether to just muss up the leaves and sprinkle seed, or truly clear a spot and seed it. But then I wonder if birds, wind, etc., will get it. And worst of all, I worry if *I* will get it lol - I'm afraid I will come through and weed the stuff that I direct sowed! Ah, sometimes I think I think too much lol...

    And now I'm thinking how I just impulse-bought some chabaud dianthus seed last week.... lol

    :)
    Dee

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Dee, that is a LOT of containers! Good for you!

    I’m wondering did you test some of your oldest seed for germination? I had some from 2014 and I tried some on a plate and got some germination on bean seed that surprised me. I have another 2 plates on the counter in wet paper towels. Probably about 25 different varieties. Nothing yet on Day 2.

    The containers were always a limiting factor for me. We just don’t seem to end up with containers. Plus you have to decide in advance to start saving the containers, and I don’t always know I’ll be able to do it, until I do. [g] And this year I’m late.

    10 different cosmos? I forget you have a cutting garden. LoL I love cosmos too. I had a lot of picotees and white sensation and they’ve reseeded for years and now they are just not pleasing me. They’re lanky, and slow to bloom and not very pretty sometimes, so I’m going to try to pull them all and replant with fresh seed. I really should have sown more, but I had other priorities this year.

    Cecily - I started with a couple of containers of Asclepias and now they have reseeded a lot. I’m going to be pulling some of them out that have crowded up too close to the rock edge of my bed. Once you have them growing, they’re pretty carefree and dependable.

    Squirrels are very curious too. [g] I planted up some new iris tubers that came in the mail one year and set them outside, without thinking and the next think I knew the squirrels had dug them out and ran off with them. I found one or two, with teeth marks in them. [g]

    Needless to say I’m careful what I put outside now.

    Cats and seedlings….hmmmm….lol Jupiter sounds sweet.

    Skip, my first year trying stratification in the fridge too. Fingers crossed.

    Deanna - I ended up buying some bare root natives for spring delivery and only about a half dozen packs of seed. I like your idea of starting them in October without the tops, but I grow in milk jugs and cut a flap so that wouldn’t work for me. And I bought mine so late. A lot of the seed companies have delays due to so many people gardening this year, too. I’m going to try the fridge and plastic baggies. How hard can it be? [g]

    And so glad you had good luck with early March winter sowing. I usually have done them in January so this is late for me. Guess it will be fine.

    Dee and Deanna - Could it be your soil is too rich? Maybe Larkspur is one of those plants that likes lean soil.

    MXK3 - My frost free date is May 7th. And I’m planning to tip prune my pepper seedlings to get better branching and more fruit. So I am trying for a little more lead time because that will slow them down a bit and my growing season is about 130 days, but I still have a hard time getting red peppers and we prefer those over green.

    And yes, I’ve started mine too early a couple of times and I don’t enjoy transplanting them all up to the next size pot, either! [g]

  • deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
    last month

    PM, my normal jug is cut with flaps, but one year I had some warm-cold-warm plants that were in their second warm spell over summer, and the cover turned them into a fungus terrarium during warm months. This year is the first I've tried completely cutting off the tops of those jugs sown earlier. Now the tops are duct-taped back on.. We'll see how they do!

    (Duct tape sure ain't cheap, but it sure does hold. quack quack)

    (Maybe I should contribute to a "Wintersowing fungus" forum. if I can find one.)

    Dee, I've seen things on the web about not liking transplanting, but some swear they are so easy to WS. PM, they are supposed to like good soil, I think. Way up here we can get a REALLY late frost. Maybe I'm waiting too long to put them in the ground. Johnny's says Chaboud (sp?) dianthus needs cooler weather to grow well. Maybe I put mine out too late and the drought is what did them in. Regardless, I'm trying again this year with both. I'm on my fourth year with larkspur. Apparently I keep forgetting how easily i kill them. I'm always a sucker for seeds that sprout wonderfully and then just disappear. Because I'm

    JUST

    THAT

    TALENTED.

    Oh, yes, ladies. I can kill even the easiest WS specimen after transplant.

    PM, let's continue to compare notes about our seeds. All the local wisdom I can get is required for me!



  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    last month

    Deanna, if you want to save a bit on duct tape, you can try the method I use. I cut the milk jug on three sides only, and open it, using that uncut side as a hinge. Then I tape it shut. It would save you one side per jug and you could get another jug for every four you do lol.

    Actually, I've found that not all duct tapes are equal - unfortunately I haven't kept track of which is better. But this year I started out my WSing and used up a roll of duct tape on my first 4-6 containers. The tape stunk. I had to wrap it around all sides, putting extra on some containers, and I can see those jugs outside now with the tops slightly popped up, untaped. The rest of my WSing I used another half-roll of tape I had, and I can just run about a six inch strip along the front, opposite the uncut side, and it holds very well, even when I lift up the jug by the handle. The brand I'm using now is Nashua. I don't know where I got it and I don't think it was particularly expensive, but I just wanted to add my two cents that a good quality duct tape lets you use less!

    :)
    Dee

    P.S. As for the larkspur and dianthus, well, I have to admit they're not the only things I kill after transplanting lol. Getting them to germinate is the easy part. It's keeping them alive that's hard! :)

  • davidrt28 (zone 7)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Yes. For doing trees and shrubs I am running late, but I couldn't help myself. Just sowed 2 flats last weekend and doing a 3rd and maybe 4th next weekend. I really acutely sense the contraction in availability of rare trees and shrubs so I'm planning for the future. Rarefind in NJ - not so rare anymore...thank goodness it managed to run as it had for 6+ years after Hank died. Camellia Forest - get the impression the owner Mr. David Parks is hunkering down on mostly camellias. As is his prerogative - no hard feelings. Forestfarm - no longer driven by the passion of the Prags to find the super rare, and more on offering what wholesale liners are available. Silverhill - since the horrific murders of the founders, they seem to focus more on the locally available western Cape seeds. Rod and Rachel aren't making the treks to the rest of South Africa that cost them their lives. Various others - gone. I most miss Colvos Creek. Wish I could time travel back to 2010 and buy more stuff from him before he closed.

    Bright spot RN is Sheffield Seed - they seem to have a genuine interest in rarities. Got some Paeonia delavayi seeds in my last order, but they are already sold out. They had come from Poland not China so might well be hybridized - that would actually be a good thing for my purposes, not a bad thing.

    Also ordering some other rare perennials - including an order from Alplains for the first time ever. Was really happy with the 'Gold Nugget' seeds from Jelitto - letting me start stuff like penstemon I'd have trouble growing from seed before - but going to give the resulting plants a few years to grow and see what happens. A bit worried they are going through a 'selection bottleneck' for north European conditions. I am most looking forward to seeing if I can get P. whippleanus going in my garden - the dark flowers look fascinating. As mentioned before my new philosophy is to plant A LOT of starter plants out on the assumption that, due to genetic variability, some just won't take to your conditions. First saw this with Wahlenbergia krebsii from my last order from Rod & Rachel. Most died but a couple plants really, really took off. IF I had just ordered one seedling from say, Annie's or Far Reaches, it would well have died and I would have assumed the species was ungrowable here. Not to leave them out - also placed an order with Plant World Seed in Devon.

    Oddly some stuff I'm growing I already have (like Abies pindrow) but when I saw the seed offered, I couldn't resist buying it. I guess I will have to become the Johnny Pindrow Seed of Maryland and guerilla plant some of those beauties. Surely prettier than any conifer native to the state! (take that, natives-only fascists! LOL)

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Deanna - I can see where doing warm/cold/warm becomes problematic. I haven’t attempted that, I stick to the easier seeds. [g] And I hate fungus and do whatever it takes to avoid it.

    Duck tape used to be so cheap!

    Larkspur are supposed to like good soil, ok….I tried them once and had too much going on and lost track of them. I had visions of Larkspur everywhere and that it would just reseed effortlessly every year. I ended up with like 3 plants that were not impressive and reseeded one year. So the reality didn’t live up to the vision, either.

    Deanna - are you planting your WS seedlings all as one pot? You’re not trying to really separate them and plant individually, right? I will sometimes carefully break mine up into 3 or 4 pieces if possible, but if I have a lot of seedlings in the container and have waited awhile to plant and they are full of roots, I just plant as one. Which I always find annoying, to have to do that. That is what Trudi used to recommend. I just was never happy with that arrangement. Also planting out all the WS seedlings is time consuming and then taking care of them afterward, too. I find it’s not easy to figure out what the reason is when something doesn’t work out. You usually have multiple options to blame.

    Yes, happy to keep comparing seeds. I will post later with an update on germination of my older seed, which I’ve been testing on the counter.

    I got another delivery of seed yesterday and I am up to my eyeballs in seeds. [g] My eyes were bigger than my energy level will be trying to get all this done. But I have done that before.

    Dee - I go without duct tape. I’m not doing warm/cold/warm seeds, like Deanna, only your every day winter sowing seeds that just need cold stratification - and I always do jugs - because that’s usually all we end up with. I just cut a flap in the side and that seems to have worked fine for me. And you can reuse the containers. They’re easier to store as well. I tie them to a string hanging in the basement.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    David - that is sad that so many businesses have lost their driving force. I guess we take for granted all the intense work it takes some of these owner/gardeners to collect and maintain and offer large varieties of plants and seeds. I used to buy roses from Pickering up in Canada and they were amazing the attention to detail and the health of the product they sent you, but the owner died and the family decided they couldn’t keep it going and they closed about 4 years ago. I still miss them.

    But, in contrast, it seems to me that many more people are focusing on native plants. And I just watched an episode of Gardener’s World where they interviewed Prince Charles who has been trying to warn people for years, about all the pests and diseases entering the country from foreign countries. One tree disease has wiped out more than a million trees in Southern Europe already. Biosecurity has to be an important issue and the trend towards natives supports the attempt to protect Plants. So there is that reality.

    I find myself shifting my focus on natives as well.


    Prince Charles on Biosecurity

  • mxk3
    last month
    last modified: last month

    "But, in contrast, it seems to me that many more people are focusing on native plants."


    Yes, my thoughts when I read David's post was I wish people would focus much more on collecting/growing natives. Nothing personal, David -- just that the more I learn about the importance of natives in supporting local ecosystems and the role that non-natives can play in eventual decline of those ecosystems due to inability to support the creatures that rely on them for food and reproduction, the more I want to be a part of the solution, not the problem. That said, it would be hypocritical of me to say one shouldn't grow non-natives at all, since I do grow many non-natives. But, as I incorporate more trees, shrubs, and perennials onto my property, I'm more thoughtful about my selections and place a higher importance on choosing natives over non-natives.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked mxk3
  • beesneeds
    last month

    I've started a few little things. Sunday will kick off the larger amounts of seed starting rounds. I'm all set up, just need to do some final sorting through seeds for what get in dirt first.

    No real wintersowing for me this year, just indoor starting. It's a cleanup/reset year for me with a lot of yard, so I'm really trying to be good and keep it simple and not a lot of plants this year.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Deanna, I just checked my seeds on the counter. I had about 30 different varieties from either 2014,2015 or 2016. I didn't want to waste my potting soil on seeds that were not viable. I don't have a lot of it right now. Most of these seeds did spend a long time in the refrigerator but last year I believe, I took some of them out that I planned on using and I never got to do it and the box of them ended up being placed out of sight and out of mind. So at least the last year they have not been stored in refrigeration.

    A lot of seed are vegetable with a few annuals in there.... I got a pretty good amount of germination.

    What germinated:

    4 seeds of our own collected Scarlet Runner Bean that have been in the fridge since 2015

    3 seeds of our own collected Spaghetti Squash in the fridge since 2014

    All of these germinated

    Everything else was in a shoe box....

    1 seed Moulin Rouge Sunflower 2015

    2 seed of Jimmy Nardello Sweet Pepper 2014

    5/6 Pandero Romaine Lettuce 2016 [Johnny's Seeds]

    1 of 3 Mammoth Basil

    1 or 4 Sweet Basil

    4/4 Dwarf Gray Sugar Pea 2016

    3/3 Prize Choi Bok Choy 2015

    1/1 Strawberry Blonde Sunflower 2015

    2/2 Dahlia Giant Violet Zinnia 2016

    2/2 Benary Giant Lime Zinnia 2016

    2/4 Lavatera Tanagra 2015

    They've been sitting there for about 5 days. So far I have a fair amount that have not germinated. I'm going to give them a couple more days.

  • davidrt28 (zone 7)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Of course I was being very purposefully sarcastic. I'm strongly against truly dangerous invasives - it's pathetic that a country with such small economies of scale (relatively) as Australia can take fighting them so much more seriously. OTOH I'm against the pointless snobbery that native are better in every way and situation. Which they are most certainly not. I've linked to this before: http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/1998-58-1-an-evolutionary-perspective-on-strengths-fallacies-and-confusions-in-the-concept-of-native-plants.pdf

  • mxk3
    last month

    I obviously did not get the sarcasm in your post, David...

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Neither did I get sarcasm there, David. [g] Especially since the rest of your comment was all about all the non native plants you are sad are not available to you.

    And yes, natives are very valuable and probably more than I even realize at this stage, but I have added many natives to my garden, all the way along, and unfortunately, not all of them have thrived. One of the best performers in my dry shade with heavy soil has been Epimedium. And I can't get Lobelia to stick around. I've tried growing Tiarella which I love and it disappeared in one season. I tried Virginia Bluebells 10 years ago and I still have the one original plant that has done nothing. Hasn't spread hasn't reseeded, and many others. But, because of a few failures, I stopped making more of an effort to add natives. Still, at least half of my shrubs are native.

    But, I've gotten a new surge of interest in trying more. But like mxk3 - I'm not someone who believes you should be restricted to only using natives. I just think we need to be careful of trying to encourage biosecurity - not bringing pathogens and pests into the country. And nurseries and breeders have to be the front line on those efforts.

    What the article I linked to, said, was about the effort they are making in England, they asked 100 nurseries there if they knew the symptoms of the one disease that had killed millions of trees in Europe - if they could recognize it - and there were very few of the 100 asked, who could. So what they are encouraging people to do is to find out which nurseries are making protecting all of us from buying and passing along diseased plants or plants with pests, a bigger priority and buy from those nurseries. And I agree with that. As consumers we have more power than we use. Some companies, nurseries or otherwise, are under the radar about whether they are prioritizing these important efforts to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. We just need to pay more attention and make it our own responsibility to use companies who are responsible and then be responsible ourselves.

    Off the soap box....sorry. [g]

  • davidrt28 (zone 7)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Hhhhmmmm...ok first of all I guess I seemed like I was deliberately ruffling feathers in a thread where people had talked about growing natives so I wish I hadn't posted what I did but I will not go delete it now because that would confuse everything. The buck stops here: I apologize if it seemed like I was being a jerk which it probably did. Speaking of confusion though, there is a lot of conflation of various things going on here.

    Europe and England have very lax biosecurity and this is not news to anyone who follows "world horticulture". If you allow several shipping containers of mature palm trees to be dug up in Argentina and shipped to the UK, it's no surprise you're going to introduce a voracious South American pest of palms. This actually happened. I guess Prince Charles's example is similar - didn't read the article - find him rather insufferable. But the palms, themselves, as a species, were not a pest and would never have become one in the UK. I'm not against biosecurity - we already have pretty good biosecurity and could maybe even be a little more like AU and NZ. But point is growing exotics is not necessarily antithetical to biosecurity. AU and NZ probably are the most biosecure countries in the world and there are plenty of non-native plants there and in fact they are quite common and in some cases celebrated. I am sure this garden has more cultivars of northern hemisphere rhododendron than any in North America: https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/dandenong-ranges-botanic-garden

    I'm all for preservation of 'biomes'. But the northeastern US, in particular this part: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_megalopolis , has been permanently altered such that those biomes can't ever exist in the way they used to. There are too many forest clearings and open spaces that even if they didn't become invaded by foreign invaders, get 'invaded' by natives like grape vine and poison ivy, that are obviously undesirable. I-95 and other rights-of-way have allowed the southern coastal native Baccharis halimifolia to advance north and west of its original native range. Should those be removed along with Asian Mimosas? I LOL'd the last time I was at well known native plant nursery in New England, who told me they no longer carried the Stenanthium they used to because they now only carried New England natives, not east coast US ones! At what price ideological purity LOL. I guess it doesn't range far enough into Connecticut to count: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stenanthium

    The SJG article pretty much speaks for itself so I'm not going to rehash all the points here. Taken to its logical conclusion, whites (aka Europeans aka Caucasians) and the plants and animals we brought with us are all 'non-native' and don't belong. Midwestern corporate agriculture - wheat - non-native - soy - non-native - corn - non-native (originally only from southern Mexico) has messed up more North American 'biome' than any other activity in the history of the continent, probably closely followed by logging. What people plants in their gardens is low, low, low on the list but if you feel you are doing something good by planting only natives, by all means, plant them. And I promise to be more sensitive in the future about where I post my faux-hectoring remarks!

    I plant natives when they have actual aesthetically desirable traits to me, or alimentary value: the traditional reasons horticulture exists. I'm fine sticking with those. I certainly would avoid and/or remove anything I know could become invasive above the threshold where it would logically threaten native biomes. As any good gardener should. My Ulmus parviflora makes maybe one or two seedlings a year. My neighbor's white trash rose of sharons and Norway maples make hundreds if not thousands of seedlings a year in my garden and neighborhood. (as does native Acer rubrum!)
    So I have no qualms whatsoever about growing the Ulmus because there is no native with bark remotely as attractive and it's not apparently causing even 1% of the "problem" actual junk plants are causing...whether native or not!

  • davidrt28 (zone 7)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Yes well, as I said I realize I could seem like a jerk. It was humor maybe more suited a different demographic than the one here, and I do apologize for intentionally ruffling feathers. I should not have used the term 'fascists', especially, since this is overall such an agreeable group of people. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

    That isn't to say I believe any of my salient points are wrong. If one of the leading public intellectuals of all time agrees with me...I'm perfectly comfortable with my conclusions! 😃

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month

    David - No, ruffled feathers here. Apparently I didn’t realize you were being sarcastic, but it wasn’t personal. But even if you had been serious - I don’t think anyone’s response to your comment was critical of you. Just trying to put another point of view out there. So as far as I’m concerned, no harm no foul.

    And actually, I agreed with your point and so did mxk3 as far as feeling that there’s a place for non natives in everyone’s garden.

    Has over population and development changed the landscape to the point of never being able to return to it’s native state? Probably. Not a problem I can consider solving. I can only try to make the best decisions for my garden. And being more aware of which nurseries that I can do business with are responsible with invasive and pest and disease control. I think there are lots of reasons to want to establish natives in your garden, which I won’t bother to list, since we probably all know them.

    Again, I grow non natives. And natives have not been easy to use in my garden. Not only those that have been difficult to establish but one of the more invasive plants in my garden is Virginia Creeper. It’s everywhere. Easy to pull up sure but you do have to keep after it. And I didn’t plant it, it just appeared. And I agree with the junk trees. I have a Maple that seeds all over the place too.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    And I just noticed Jay's post. I forgot Dave you used the word fascist...and initially, I was going to object to the use of the word. It's over used in many different ways and I really dislike labeling people all together, but for the sake of friendly gardening conversations, I skipped over it. I only bring it up now, in support of the fact Jay has been offended and he's certainly justified.

    And I agree with Jay's perspective too. Just for the fact that including a lot of natives gives critters and pollinators more of what they need, it's a good enough reason for me too. When you consider how challenged bees and butterflies alone are.

    I appreciate your apology David.

    And, I'm moving on at this point. Back to the topic of seeds.

  • beesneeds
    last month
    last modified: last month

    And reading this thread this morning inspired me to sit down and sort my seeds :) And clean up my growing shelves a bit.

    Had a box of sweet potato vines that had pretty much given me their greens- so the handful of leaves left left got tossed into tonights dinner, the rest to the compost bin. Box has now been refilled with my tiny onion sets from last years harvest and set out in my enclosed porch. Got some red, white, and yellow. Those will get a head start for planting out just as their bed should be ready and dry enough. And also timely, I had started to get sprouters and a handful of dried ups.

    Started a 72 cell with purple gayfeather and a couple kinds of lupines for out on the porch, and have a couple more flowers I'll set up on Sunday. I'll start another smaller round of lupines in a couple weeks. Kind of winter sowing, lol.

    Not seed starting, but seed started last fall. I did a couple pots of danvers half long carrots last fall, and bought them into the porch when freezing came while they were still little. They sheltered well and just grew slow till the freeze snap- I brought them inside and reset them a bit to space them better. They are now back out on the porch and will likely be the earliest of my "seedlings" to harden off outside :) I'll have pulling carrots by the time it's time to set some fresh carrot seed outside.

    A goodly handful of veggie and herb seeds to start on Sunday as well. Those will be inside on the shelves.

    Started fresh trays of micro greens- broccoli, nasturtiums, popcorn, and red clover.

    But mostly just sorting out what I want to grow, and getting the packets into a semblance of timing order. First culling of choices down, but still need to to another in a couple weeks as the next round of seed starting hits so I got some time.

    Cleaning up the flower seeds was interesting. I have all sorts of stuff home collected over the last couple years that I have to experiment with. Some of it still in the pods, some cleaned. Those will get spread out into some beds as I get them cleaned up and reset this year.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked beesneeds
  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month

    Bees needs - Sounds like you have a big garden space. What state are you located in? Can you grow sweet potatoes well every year?

    Do you have a meadow area that the Lupine and Gayfeather are going in?

    You can carry carrots over the winter on your porch? I’d think an enclosed porch is wonderful to have if you are a gardener.

    I’d be interested in hearing more about your micro greens. Do you grow those for salad? How do you grow them in a tray? Popcorn and red clover?

    I wish I’d spent more time experimenting with seed I’ve collected. I think when you keep collecting from the best plants you grow, you can create a seed that is really specific to your property and conditions.

  • beesneeds
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Bees needs - Sounds like you have a big garden space. What state are you located in? Can you grow sweet potatoes well every year?

    Do you have a meadow area that the Lupine and Gayfeather are going in?

    You can carry carrots over the winter on your porch? I’d think an enclosed porch is wonderful to have if you are a gardener.

    I’d be interested in hearing more about your micro greens. Do you grow those for salad? How do you grow them in a tray? Popcorn and red clover?

    I wish I’d spent more time experimenting with seed I’ve collected. I think when you keep collecting from the best plants you grow, you can create a seed that is really specific to your property and conditions.

    I do have big garden space, SW MI hard to the shore. And nope, sweet potatoes don't grow outside here this time of year.. but when you got that sweet tater or two leftover from the holidays that is starting to chit up... you can plant them up and grow them as a vining eating green indoors so long as you got light and keep them watered. I do mine in a bit of dirt rather than water method. By the time the tater is spent and husk/slime, the greens supply is spent too. It also looks pretty as a houseplant as it grows.

    I do have meadow areas for lupine and gayfeather planned. Part of the reason for the seed this year. The gayfeather will be grown out a year or so for maturity before setting out. The lupines grown out for some color selection in an area, and the rest spread out :)

    Even though I have large spaces to grow in, I like experimenting with small growing too. Like the carrots.

    I can carry over carrots- this year was my first try at it. I started the seed in Sept, but they grew slow. By the time freeze hit, they were still just small greens. It was mostly a mild winter so I kept them in the porch to see.. When serious cold hit for a week or two recently and the porch was well below even protected pots. I brought them inside, cleared off the fall debris.. reset them as needed for better spacing. The stayed inside for a few more days- kind of like an early spring thaw and warm. And now that temps are back above 33 out on the porch, they went back out.

    It is enclosed with a large east and south bank of windows, and some things can overwinter well on the south side. It generally stays 10-12 warmer degrees than outside, with zero wind chill and any sun outside there can get.

    Microgreens- there's a couple members here well versed and teachers. I like popcorn sprouts sprinkled in on top all over like onion greens to finish a dish. Red clover is more of a salad green.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked beesneeds
  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month

    Bees needs - Sounds like you have a great situation for gardening. I love meadows and hope you will post some photos of yours and the rest of you garden as the season moves along.

  • karin_mt
    last month

    First day of seed starting here in Montana!

    I'm super excited to embark on garden season this year. My husband and I built a new potting station last fall and today was my first day using it. It's fabulous!


    Today I only planted a few things that are cold tolerant and the seedling tray will come indoors at night. Pansies, Victoria Blue salvia (never tried these, but they sound slow), spinach, kale, lettuce, and two kinds of snap peas that are in new wooden planter boxes.


    My Johnny's order which I placed in mid-January arrived just yesterday. It's wild how backed-up and sold out things got. But I have all that I need and am grateful for it!


    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked karin_mt
  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month

    Karin, nice looking potting table. You are ahead of me with the seed sowing. I need to get on the ball.


  • karin_mt
    last month

    Thanks Prairiemoon! I'm farther ahead than I've ever been, by a lot. I'm extra-excited this year, and ski season is not nearly as consuming as it is in non-pandemic times.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Karin, I don't know what happened to this thread, I never did get a notification that there was an additional post here, sorry I missed your post.

    I remember how spring skiing was something that split your focus, which actually did sound great. lol I would love spring skiing! But, yes, pandemics make changes for us and you seem to have found the silver lining.

    Is this the first season with your greenhouse? No, right? Do you think having the green house is making a big difference or is it just the extra time without the skiing?

    It's been awhile since I've seen photos of your raised veggie beds, I hope you will start a thread to show your progress through the season. It should be very interesting to follow along. 🙂

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I'm growing a lot of plants from seed again this year. I've cut back the number drastically, but there are still a lot. As far as what happened, I was upset because that F word was directed at me and my fellow native gardeners and in light of recent political events I couldn't just let it go, but I'm not mad at you Dave, in fact I like you, and I'm even interested in hearing more about these plants you grow. Maybe some people view us native people the wrong way or something, and maybe they don't realize how big the world of native plant gardening is, and just how many native plants there are. Well, I have went off like a native prophet of doom here a few times in the past, so I should expect some karma from that.😬😆

    This is a 10 pound book covering just the native plants of the Chicago region.

    I try to keep tabs on whats happening botanically across the country, and I hear a lot about new species on the verge of being given species status. I also hear the same talk about non native exotics. I have a lot of friends who grow exotics like right now the Asian Magnolias are blooming and there's the Camellia crew that I believe are very obsessed to put it mildly lol. Their my friends, I still love them. Anyway it's us native people who are out volunteering to clean up and maintain preserves and watersheds, making it possible for people to grow their aesthetically pleasing exotics. I'm primarily growing natives, but I'm very interested in all the world's flora. I'd like to be able to identify everything. I would be growing more non natives if I had a sunroom or greenhouse to enjoy my love of tropicals.

    I will try to list most of the species I'm growing from seed this year. I'm using larger, taller pots this year. The 72 cell trays weren't working out well. This way the seedlings can stay in the original pots longer and develop better root growth. A few genera I'm focusing are Viola, Silphium, Carex, and Asclepias. The majority were winter sowed, and I'm now preparing to sow the rest in the basement, under lights. There's definitely advantages to starting certain plants from seeds. For quite a few years I kept buying 'perennial' Gaillardias at the garden centers, and they would never overwinter. I decided to grow Gaillardia aristata and I hoped there would be some winter hardy plants in the grouping. They all turned out to be winter hardy, and there was one that was a nice unusual sport within the group. Last year I started Gaillardia aestivalis and Gaillardia suavis. Now I have 3 different perennial Gaillardia, plus I still like to grow the annual Gaillardia pulchella. I can also grow some nice species of Penstemon from seed that you can't find plants for. So here's a list of almost everything I'm starting from seed this year.

    Asclepias amplexicaulis

    Asclepias engelmannii

    Asclepias texana

    Asclepias exaltata

    Asclepias quadrifolia

    Asclepias viridiflora

    Asclepias latifolia

    Asclepias syriaca white flowered form

    Asclepias hallii

    Asclepias pumila

    Asclepias incarnata var pulchra

    Asclepias tuberosa

    Asclepias purpurascens

    Acmispon americana

    Agastache foeniculum

    Allium cernuum

    Allium tricoccum

    Apios priceana

    Astragalus canadense

    Baptisia alba

    Beckmannia sizagachne

    Blephilia cilliata

    Blephilia hirsutus

    Brickellia eupatorioides

    Calamovilfa longifolia

    Calea ternifolia

    Carex buxbaumii

    Carex cephalophora

    Carex gracillima

    Carex muehlenbergii

    Cepholanthus occidentalis

    Cirsium altissimum

    Cnidium monnieri

    Collinsia verna

    Collinsonia canadensis

    Comandra umbellata

    Coreopsis tripteris

    Crocanthemum canadense

    Crysopsis villosa

    Dalea foliosa

    Danthonia spicata

    Dichanthelium clandestinum

    Elymus villosa

    Eurybia macrophylla

    Gentiana alba

    Gentiana andrewsii

    Grindellia lanceolata

    Helianthus occidentalis

    Hieracium venosum

    Ionactis linarifolia

    Ipomoea pandurata

    Linaria canadensis

    Linum sulcatum

    Lobelia spicata

    Ludwigia alternifolia

    Marshallia caespitosa

    Medeola virginiana

    Monarda citriodora

    Nabalus/Prenanthes album

    Oenothera pilosella

    Oligoneuron album

    Oligoneuron rigidum

    Palafoxia callosa

    Panicum virgatum

    Parthenium integrifolium

    Passiflora lutea

    Penstemon calycosus

    Periderita americana

    Ptelea trifoliata

    Pycnanthemum incanum

    Satureja vulgaris

    Schizachyrium scoparium

    Silene nivea

    Silene regia

    Silphium integrifolium

    Silphium laciniatum

    Silphium terebinthinaceum

    Sorghastrum nutans

    Symphyotrichum ericoides

    Symphyotrichum georgianum

    Symphyotrichum lateriflorum

    Symphyotrichum novae-engliae

    Symphyotrichum oblongifolium

    Taenidia integerrima

    Taxus distichum

    Tetraneuris acaulis

    Vernonia missurica

    Viola pedata

    Viola pedatifida

    Viola pubescens eriocarpa

    Viola sagittata

    Viola striata

    Zizia aptera

    This is most of them, but there's a few I've forgotten. This isn't very much compared to some of the awesome things others here are doing.

    Penstemon smallii and Zizia aurea from seed.
    Asclepias asperula from seed.
    Gaillardia aristata, Verbena stricta, Silphium perfoliatum, ect from seed.




    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked Jay 6a Chicago
  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Good morning Jay, I really appreciate you coming back to the thread and posting how you are doing. Nice way you sorted through your original response, earlier and put it all in perspective.

    Look at how thick that book is?! I think focusing on native plants is getting more and more involved and popular and you are right, there are SO many natives!

    And exotics - well - really there is not one thing wrong with an exotic. They are just as wonderful a plant as a native. They ARE native somewhere. [g] It’s just when they get loose in an area where they disturb the ecological balance, then some adjustment to our thinking has to meet that reality. And anyone who is out volunteering to clean up disturbed habitat has my thanks and admiration.

    That is a great list of seed. And thanks for sharing that the 72 cell flat wasn’t working for you. I’ve been on the fence about starting in larger pots and I think you have pushed me off the fence. [g]

    Is Passiflora lutea native in Chicago? Symphyotrichum is the new designation for Aster? I think I have two of the Asclepias and that’s it. [g] Not one other thing on your list. Where do you get your seed? That’s a pretty Penstemon. You have your work cut out for you!

  • davidrt28 (zone 7)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I hope we can all be friends again. As I said, I shouldn't have used the word fascist even in jest and I regret it and my apologies for any hurt feelings it caused.

    I just see a world where people, about a wide spectrum of issues, somehow seem to increasingly lack an ability to be nuanced about a lot of things...and to only see the world in black and white...and so the seemingly relentless promotion of native plants as always superior for every purpose just strikes me as intellectually dishonest. And mind you that *wasn't* actually going on in this thread so again, it didn't make sense for me to become suddenly defensive as I appeared to. I was more lampooning myself with the suggestion I was going to become a 'Johnny Appleseed' of west Himalayan fir trees...an absurd thought. And how this would hypothetically offend the sensibilities of people who only support the planting of natives. (a reminder that Johnny Appleseed really existed, and was committing, presumably, "ecological vandalism" by spreading those dastardly apple trees not native to North America!)

    I am all for maintaining our ecosystems as best we can and taking strong action against truly threatening invasive plants. I definitely support efforts like this and think it is long overdue: https://vnps.org/action-alert-phasing-out-the-propagation-and-sale-of-invasive-plants/ About 10 years ago I couldn't believe that one of my hayseed neighbors, who I hadn't really talked to much but had obviously clued in on the time I spent gardening, proudly announced that she had just planted a "new flowering pear" called "Capital" that "doesn't have the problems with limbs breaking that bradford does". She had clearly heard this spiel from the guy at the nursery. My eyes rolled to the back of my head and I wanted to say "does it still have the problems of being incredibly invasive and smelling like dead fish when it blooms and just generally being a POS tree" but of course I didn't. It's a travesty that any pyrus calleryana was still being sold 10 years ago.

    What we don't need is alarmism that every exotic is destined to be become invasive...because they are not...and again that natives are always superior for every situation. Not a perfect example but I live in a county known by most people only for its I-95 highway rest stop haha. "Chesapeake House" is the name of the one here. The old CH, as long as I can remember, had pretty standard public building landscaping. Annual flower beds and azaleas. However maybe 20 years ago someone had planted some Ackerman camellias that bloomed in fall and they actually looked really nice and were growing into nice sized shrubs. There were maybe only 5 of them around the building but they really stood out because I'd say north of Richmond or even Raleigh, fall blooming Camellias are uncommon. (Camellias period, really) When they renovated the building I knew those would be goners. And sure enough they were replaced with a landscape plan praised in a couple media outlets for using only native plants. Well, I actually haven't been there in a while (one tends not to need to use a rest stop in one's own county ;-) ) but last I was there just looked like a really dull selection of plants with nothing that would have the visual pop and strong form of fall blooming camellias, and the kurume azaleas that had been there for spring flowers. At best there were some Summersweets, maybe Baccharis, and native grasses. It just looked very perfunctory like "yeah, we planted some natives. Yee haw". This was not a place you were going to find a patch of Helonias bullata! And I just thought - really? I can actually see getting rid of the bedding annuals but nobody is going to a rest stop to study or learn about native plants. Why in *this* venue does the use of native plants mark some kind of improvement compared to what was there before? To 99% of people, anyone who remembered how it looks before will just think "huh, they replaced the flowers they had before with a bunch of weeds". NOT that we should always pander to the LCD!

    And I mention Helonias on purpose because when I got into horticulture in the 1990s it struck me that, I dunno, you'd go to something like the Green Springs Gardens annual sale outside DC, and there would be a couple native nurseries exhibiting and piously talking up the benefits of natives plants. (And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that in some cases, there are not some benefits) And they had I dunno, coneflower, lonicera sempervirens and all the various standard native stuff, and I'd ask about Helonias or Stenanthium or other rare natives...and these experts touting the superiority of natives would not even know what I'm talking about! So I got the impression these people weren't really interested in plants in the way that I was interested in them, but interested in ideas about the possible ecological benefits of the plants they were selling. Which is fine but it seemed alien to me and still does to some degree. Stenanthium in the late 1990s was actually listed as available in the RHS plantfinder in the UK, from more than one nursery, but not at any nurseries in the US at our equivalent. FINALLY Bill Cullina started growing them for the erstwhile New England Wildflower Conservancy nursery, and I picked a couple up on a trip to New England in the late 2000s. But last I was there the manager told me they were 'moving away from carrying things not native to New England' and that was probably why they didn't have it LOL. As is almost always the case, ideological movements get more ideological! I relished explaining what I saw as the rich irony of that to the friends I was there with.

    More recently, I'm looking for a somewhat* rare North American tree, and finding myself surprised how hard it is to find. Again because to me a lot of native plant wholesalers are about "offering natives" "because native" not "offering a wide range of rare species of plants", which is my interest.

    SO yeah, every plant is native SOMEWHERE. And everyone has their own priorities of why they do what they do in the garden. I collect based almost purely on what I see as the aesthetic benefits (or in the case of edibles, alimentary) of what I collect. Plants around the world are often under more immediate threat than ones in North America. In my opinion - and it's just an opinion - anyone buying some rare Chinese Codonopsis from Far Reaches is doing just as much "for the environment" as someone growing a native. Because the Chinese plant is more likely to be threatened with extinction in the next 50 years than the average North American one. It's fine if you don't agree with that. So if someone wants to focus on natives...great, go for it...and I really apologize for being a jerk even if I was, in my mind, just 'trolllng'. (which is kind of 'being a jerk lite' LOL. Maybe because I work in IT I just hang around too many Gen Ys and Zs lol)

    * somewhat means, NOT something like Elliottia or Planera!

  • davidrt28 (zone 7)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    FWIW, I apparently became familiar with them during the brief period they were calling themselves the New England Wildflower Conservancy, and the name has stuck in my brain!

    http://www.nycbigcitylit.com/aug2001/contents/Articles.html

    FWIW pt 2, the nursery I have visited 11 years apart in western MA now goes by the rather grandiose name of: Nasami Farm Nursery Native Plant Trust.

    And I did buy some things the 2nd time I was there! I clearly don't think exotic plants are superior for every purpose. 😏

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month

    David - I am a purest at heart. I started gardening organically 40 years ago for the first time. A friend had an organic vegetable garden and that’s how I got into gardening. And I wanted to prepare the soil by hand, and find out how to improve the soil. Wanted to allow the ecological balance of the garden to work itself out without interfering any more than necessary. Never used a pesticide in 40 years. Used to warn my neighbor not to use Round Up. Only Seaweed/fish emulsion for fertilizer. Won’t use Miracle Grow potting soil. Won’t use lawn fertilizer from Scott’s. Etc., etc.

    But I do grow more than natives in my garden. I feel that I can be nuanced for sure. I also have that complaint today that people’s views are developed without enough nuance. But, I also believe in black and white too. So it’s complicated. [g]

    Where is the line? Are there some native supporters who want the world to go back to where it started out with only plants that are native in every location? So where did roses come from? No one should grow a rose except where they are native? Even if they are not disturbing the ecology of that region? What about hybrids then? Are we talking about going completely back to species?

    I guess if that is the case, then I’d have more to say in that regard. I think before we start trying to turn the clock back to the beginning, we’d have to lose a few billion people that are overpopulating the planet as well. [g] And while we’re at it, I’d love to go back to horse and buggy days and ditch all the cars, but is that in any way going to be the way things proceed? No, it’s right on to electric cars that drive for you.

    I support getting rid of invasive plants, 100%. But what about natives that are tough to control even in their own native environment? Like Virginia Creeper, that I pointed to before. Ivy is invasive isn’t it? Isn’t it strangling trees? But that has to be native somewhere, right? Does it strangle trees where it is native too? Bamboo..has to be native somewhere.

    And from the example you gave of your conversation with your neighbor over the Pear tree…we are just not going to all get on the same page about much of anything, are we? The world is overwhelming at this point, not just the gardening world. I’m just glad I am not in charge of the world and have to figure out all these problems and then get everyone else on the same page. About the best I can do, is…the best I can do and be willing to look at something I’m doing that might not be best practices when someone points it out to me. And that's not meant as a cop out. I think we do have to start somewhere and try to work toward good solutions.

  • Skip1909
    last month
    last modified: last month

    David as a millennial I could smell your trolling from a mile away. You are a very niche buyer and unfortunately the industry has really turned away from people like you, and me. Jay and I talk regularly and also get frustrated by the lack of availability of some rare (and even common) natives. I have heard the side of the bigger native nurseries, and they are just not able to grow the rare fussy plants at a profit. It doesn't make sense for them to grow trilliums that take 7 years to bloom when they could grow 14 crops of a wetland grass instead to sell to a restoration. There isn't enough stability in the economy for a lot of businesses to offer plants like that. Places like Native Plant Trust discontinuing southern species are just playing to their audience and board.

    Funny though, the two plants you mentioned, the Stenanthium and the Helonias, are not really ecologically productive plants in terms of number of species and individuals visiting them or using them. I would love to grow both to prove our flora has interesting plants, but for groups pushing ecological landscaping it doesn't really make sense.

    As someone on the I95 corridor you would have noticed the decline in native vegetation. China has its problems and doing ex situ conservation of their plants is helpful but we are in trouble here in the US as well. Native groups should want you to build your yard starting with the framing timbers (the plants with the highest ecological value) like native oaks, willows, birch, pine, maple, hickory, goldrod, asters, wild strawberry. Then you can pretty much decorate it with whatever finishes ( exotic flowers) you want. You can't build an entire structure out of finishes. The structure in this metaphor is a landscape with ecological value. That message is often lost on proponents I will admit.

    I personally take it a step further to try to build an attractive garden/yard/habitat from 100% natives but that is more of an experiment I'm doing and isn't something I would expect of anyone else.

    https://vimeo.com/516024290/69954c9159?fbclid=IwAR1s8_pWaHKl5KZnaCJ9P45aLm1w7zDgfcpuUnwlRkMXu5Oib76YtwdDZH4 another Doug Tallamy talk where he addresses many of the counter arguments, but even he isn't saying only 100% native.

  • davidrt28 (zone 7)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Thanks for the thoughtful response Skip; it opens a Pandora's box of things to potentially reply to or comment on and although I don't really have time for a complete response what is most striking is that you seem to now segregate some native plants as being more virtuous than others. And again that's fine...but what I do is gardening. Horticulture. It's not 'natural habitat remediation' or whatever we could call being more concerned with the 'ecological productivity' of a species. I see habitat remediation as desirable in a different context (and perhaps, meta-context) than you or jay, apparently. I'm perfectly comfortable with the habitat I'm creating and the creatures in my garden seem to agree with me. Every summer there are more fireflies in my yard than any other one on the adjacent streets. Have so many toads and frogs I don't have to worry about (non-native, you know) slugs at all. A massive flock of robins eats the berries on my Koehne hollies late each winter and don't care that it's non-native. Have never seen a dead one on the ground because it didn't agree with their digestive system vs. Ilex opaca. Seems like your bigger quarrel should be with people who want nothing but an expanse of green suburban lawn with no 'messy' plants, than with someone who collects plants for an artificial woodland, without regard to whether they are native or not...but eschewing ones that do show signs of being invasive, much better than his Joe Schmoe neighbors and their goddamn rose of sharon and norway maples! (those are fairly minor for this area, btw. There are nearby rural landowners with huge infestation of Celastrus orbiculatus, for example. It deeply infuriates me that they won't recognize them as a problem as do anything about them.)

    So I'll continue with the gardening and traditional horticulture that I find interesting and rewarding. There's actually an incredibly fascinating article I have somewhere tying horticulture to the universe of other human cultural and economic activities that would be pertinent here, I'll post if I can find a copy of on the web.

    I think what it all boils down to - well, how to have a synoptic view of this really goes a lot into socioeconomic issues and politics that houzz has wisely decided is 'out of scope' for this website by closing hot topics, but I would just draw attention to the dichotomy between this article in the Washington Post and the most upvoted comments reacting to it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-child-policy-population-growth/2021/03/05/16dd613a-75b8-11eb-9489-8f7dacd51e75_story.html

  • mxk3
    last month

    Honestly, David -- it seems like your replies are intentionally stirring the pot, especially the last post. Can we all get back to regularly scheduled programming, which is about starting a lot of seed this year.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Seems like a few people think a lot about natives and the ecology and pollinators etc along with their gardening. That's fine, that's great. Sure it's not so black and white and in depth discussions are a good thing I'm sure, but as MXK3 pointed out, maybe allow this thread to be about seed starting. No reason at all why anyone can't begin another thread on native plants and related subjects.

  • davidrt28 (zone 7)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    actually mxk3, Jay and Skip had revived the 'sub thread' by directly address my post, and me by name, several days later. As I admitted I wish I hadn't stirred the pot I stirred a couple weeks ago or whatever now, but it's customary to reply to responses directly addressed at oneself. There's a long gardenweb tradition of posts meandering into other areas of discussion. BTW Prairiemoon had already brought up how environmental and ecological concerns are tied to population with: "I think before we start trying to turn the clock back to the beginning, we’d have to lose a few billion people that are overpopulating the planet as well. [g]"

    I would add that more advanced 'internet discussion software architectures' have a way to branch off discussions as required. Since this one does not, perhaps Jay, Skip and I can agree to continue our discussion - if necessary - in another thread. And whoever else wants to join. I will stop responding here. They can "@ me" to pick it up somewhere else. This actually works on houzz, apparently. (they sound youngish so I guess they will know what I'm talking about bwahaha)

  • beesneeds
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I've got kale and cabbage popping indoors :) The scented Pelargonium cuttings I took are looking good so far, got lemon and rose scents. And the first of the lupines are popping out on the porch. Got kale and spinach showing up in the big pots outside, so will probably do an early sowing of some peas and spinach out in the pots on Sunday. They are in a toasty south facing niche so tend to warm up a lot earlier than other parts of the gardens. The overwintered carrots will go outside next week too.

    This weekend is supposed to be nice out, so it's a cleaning up and getting the south niche area cleaned up and ready. I got a lot of potted stuff overwintered under mulch too that should start getting uncovered a bit.

    I'll probably have an idea what's going on out back by the end of the week. There's going to be a couple really nice days and I know my love has been itching to get out and walk the trails.

    My next bigger round of starting seeds indoors isn't till next weekend.

  • Skip1909
    last month

    Alright I'm good on that other stuff.

    Anyway, do you guys change your seed stratifying material? If so, how often? I have seeds in baggies with a moist coffee filter, in for 60 days, should I change the filter once a week?

  • cecily 7A
    last month

    I don't change the coffee filters, not even if they mold. I don't even look at them for at least a month and my family is accustomed to seeing weird little baggies in the veggie crisper so they don't take them out either.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Sorry, Skip have not stratified seeds yet, hopefully someone else can answer that for you.

    I did a search through the house for shoeboxes of seeds and came up with 6 of them. lol One was just old plant labels, but the other 5 actually had seeds in them. Mostly they were commercial seed from Fedco, Johnny's, Botanical Interests, Seed Savers, etc. But I also had some that people gave me in trade and those I saved of our own seed.

    I've been sorting through them for 2 days. [g] I really want to get all the seed that are not any good any more and throw them out and reorganize the rest. I had seed going back to 2004! I have 6 plates of wet paper towels with a lot of old seed folded into them, and waiting to see what happens. I already see some germination from some of the newer seed, going back to 2014. I just put the 2004 -11 seed on a plate today.

    I had some garlic bulbets that I collected after the flowers dried on 'Music' garlic a couple of years ago. They were the first to start showing roots. The same day I wet them, they started growing. Seeds are amazing.

    And I found trades that had no date on them. And silly me, why didn't I put a date on them when I got them? I've gone through all the seeds and already filled two plastic containers with the new seed and those that I know are viable and their back in the fridge with silica gel packs in them. Now I just wait to see how many I am going to end up throwing out.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    BeesNeeds - Since I am testing germination on seeds, it is amazing to me how quickly and vigorously just about all the Brassica seed are to germinate. Even the older seed.

    I love the sound of your Pelargonium cuttings. I used to have a collection of them and I don’t know what happened that I didn’t keep them going. I may try to pick up some new Pelagoniums this spring. I enjoy them in the house all winter too. I don’t have a South facing window in the house which as a gardener has always made me gnash my teeth….lol.

  • beesneeds
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Lol prariemoon, I feel your boxes.. though I use 10 lb tomato boxes. Had 4 to sort through at first. One whole box worth got culled off for experimenting with. A smaller pile to the compost bin- got one ready for sitting this year, so will sprinkle on top and whatever pops up, bonus.

    Fortunately, my micro greens box and "bags-o-marigolds" piles were already cleaned up.

    I try to kind of stick to starting seed on even weeks out in general. Gives me 2 weeks between rounds for stuff to pop, tend to, clean up outside... and so on.

    My brassicas were from a friend of MIL who kindly shared seed, taped in little clusters onto regular paper. I wanted to blow through a lot of those offerings.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Prairiemoon, um, the Passiflora lutea is technically not native to my region of Illinois.😲🚔😵 I assumed it was native here until after I had already winter sowed the seeds. It does occur in southern Illinois. I'm going to try it anyway.

    Passiflora lutea

    The genus Aster was split up into 10 new genera. The vast majority of those species are now included in Symphyotrichum. Why they couldn't have given it a simpler name I don't know. See link, circumscription.



    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aster_(genus)

    The 72 cell trays don't allow much space for root growth. They can work ok with some species if you are on the ball and able to transplant them soon after things germinate, but they were a nightmare for some plants like milkweeds whose roots grow fast and get hopelessly entangled in those small plastic squares. I really could discuss native vs. non native til I'm blue in the face. It's probably a better idea to start a thread specifically for that discussion although it is more fun to hijack someone else's thread to fight about it on lol.🤣 I was thinking the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and I think our biggest people problem now isn't horticulturist but all the humans on the planet that are plant blind with no connections to wild nature at all. They're probably the scumbags that toss all their fast food trash right out of their car windows and never put shopping carts back in the racks, or follow up good deeds done to them with thank yous and acknowledgment. They are destroying the natural world and they don't have a clue. A forest is only worth something to them if it's cut down. The horticulturist do have a love for beauty and nature. Please don't grow heavenly bamboo because it's very invasive and it's berries kill birds.

    Tetraneuris acaulis. We have our extremely endangered Lakeside Daisy, Tetraneuris herbacea here in my local area. Seeds are impossible to get, so I'm growing the almost identical Tetraneuris acaulis. It's occurs more to the west, but I'm pretty sure that it will do well here if given good drainage. I'm going to start training to monitor threatened Illinois plants with Plants of Concern. Tetraneuris herbacea is one of the species they monitor. I ran into it last year and was awestruck, and had to pinch myself.
    Iliamna remote. This native Mallow exists in only one place on earth. Langham Island, a little Island on the Kankakee River in Illinois. It almost disappeared forever, because of the island becoming crowded with invasive plants, most especially Japanese Honeysuckle, but in the 80s a group of friends got together and formed The Friends of Langham Island. They meet at the Island once a month during spring, summer, and fall to remove invasives, and restore this tiny Island to it's former glory. I'm hoping to join them this year when I have free time. Some great friends are in that group.❤ I started the Kankakee Mallow from Prairie Moon seed last year. I think it's great that Prairie Moon is helping preserve this rare species. I'm hoping it blooms this year.
    Dalea foliosa. Another extremely rare and threatened prairie species that occurs in the same Prairie remnant as the Tetraneuris herbacea. I grew these from seeds coming from Prairie Moon. I get my seeds from a lot of different places. Various vendors, trades, wild collected, mysterious packets sent from China.🤣 But the majority of my seeds I buy from Prairie Moon Prairiemoon.
    Hieracium venosum. I ordered 2 of these Rattlesnake Plantains in 2019 from Woid Thrush Natives. They did well, but they didn't return the next spring. Needed better drainage I guess? I collected seeds, and I'm hoping to grow these successfully again this year, and hopefully figure out how to keep them happy.
    Dregea sinensis. I grew a few of these from seeds in 2019. I was trading native seeds and got seeds for this Asian species in return. I'm fascinated with the Apocynaceae subfamily Asclepiadoideae, so I jumped at the chance to grow this fragrant, Hoya - like vine. Unfortunately my growing season isn't long enough to grow this to flowering stage, so rather than let the frost kill them, I sent them to a fellow milkweed nerd buddy in south Texas and got some coveted milkweed seeds in return. I really wanted to see and smell the flowers, oh well. They live on for others to enjoy. Oh, by the way, nothing wrong with planting trees that will grow for others to enjoy when you aren't here anymore.
    Asclepias hallii. This is native to the west, but not here in Illinois. There was this guy here at gardenweb who's goal was to grow every north American Asclepias species in his home state of North Carolina, for the sake of the Monarchs of course.🤔 I thought it was a cool idea, but after more thinking I realized it wasn't really feasible, you know trying to grow desert, arid loving milkweeds in a rainy, humid climate. I'm still experimenting with growing some milkweeds that aren't native to Illinois. This is one species that I'm trying this year. Dave, I'm going to sneak onto your property at night, when you're asleep and broadcast Tallgrass Prairie seed mix EVERYWHERE.🤣


  • davidrt28 (zone 7)
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Hi Jay!

    "I thought it was a cool idea, but after more thinking I realized it wasn't really feasible, you know trying to grow desert, arid loving milkweeds in a rainy, humid climate. I'm still experimenting with growing some milkweeds that aren't native to Illinois."

    Again, I find myself veering off-topic! But hopefully it won't create as much a fracas this time. Looking back 15 years ago now, I had no idea what an effect buying a rambler would have on my gardening. Because it has deep eves, it create a 2 foot strip along its flanks that are rainfall-reduced. There is more and more stuff I'm finding just won't survive in the rest of the garden. A strip I piled 4-6" with rubble, pea gravel, chicken grit and sand is even better - allowing me to grow Agaves, a Dasylirion, various Nolinas, a single cactus because I really find too many thorns in the garden intolerable LOL etc. Switch to "normals" and you will see my area is a lot wetter than Chicago in winter. https://water.weather.gov/precip/ 

    (the new version of that website is not as good as the old one. To see a finer gradation of avg. winter rainfall, there are these maps: https://prism.oregonstate.edu/normals/

    Looks like Jan rainfall for me is 3.2-4" - and I know my microclimate at the northern tip of the Bay is near the high end of that...1.6" to 2" for Chicago.)

    I can tell you from experience that with virtually all dry climate plants, it's the winter that is more likely to kill them. Whether they be succulents or forbs. It has a silly name but the midwestern Penstemon murrayanus is one such example. Even on very well drained soil they die in my east coast soppy winters. The next one I try will be in the rain shadow of the eves. It's a really cool looking native one in my opinion, screaming red with glaucous, perfoliate foliage. So exotic it looks like it could come from another continent ;-) bwahaha. Hummers loved visiting it. I've now had 2 in the last 15 years and they did well for a year or two before drowning in an extra wet winter!

    So just an idea, if your house doesn't have such a spot, do what agave lovers do in the UK and build a little rain shield to keep the soil dry over your Asclepias hallii. That's a beautiful looking milkweed! I have one of those western milkweeds in my garden from high country gardens but I can't even remember the name of it. It's not that one.


    btw please - I go by David!

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Jay, I think, one of the disconnects between gardeners who focus on natives and other gardeners, is that most of the plants that are native are unfamiliar to most gardeners. I don’t know any of the plants you are talking about. And when you stop and think about it, a native plant is regional, so even one person’s native plants that they are familiar with might be different from someone else’s.

    I was watching a show on Alaska a few weeks ago. It was all about a conservation area where people are not allowed to build or live, but there were 6 families who already had cabins there so they have the right to stay there until the last person in their family dies. After watching what they had to do to live in that area, cut off from electricity and running water etc., for the first time, I was struck with the idea of how human beings are forced to use the natural world to survive. They have to cut down trees, they have to find a way to stay warm and to eat. And that made me look at the problems with the environment a little differently. I feel more sympathy for human beings. I think a lot of people on the planet have as much of a struggle to live life, as plants and animals do.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I'm growing vegetables this year, hopefully. I'd really like to eat what I grow, if the rabbits and other critters don't come along and decide they like my vegetables more than the clover in the lawn. After all we are all supposed to be staying out of the doctor's office by eating a lot of vegetables. I'm starting pepper seeds this weekend and I'll probably wait a couple of weeks to start tomatoes. I don't have an extensive light set up so I don't want to be growing tomatoes in gallon pots by the time they're ready to go outside. And it's probably time to start lettuces and broccoli, Kale and Bok Choy.

    I found old Morning Glory seeds, that someone gave me in a trade a long time ago. They were some pretty unusual ones. One was Pink Shibouri, a variety from Japan I think. I also found old Love in a Puff seeds. I had forgotten about those. I love the seed for that plant, they have a white heart on a black round seed. The only time I ever saw this growing, was at Sturbridge Village in MA. I am testing it for germination now. I'd like to grow it again.

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