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We are so happy to share this wonderful seed saving information on harvesting Milkweed seeds and reasons for hope from our friends at Fruition Seeds.
As always, Petra has such important information to share and a beautiful presentation. Click on their blog link below to see the full video on how to best save Milkweed seeds to support monarchs next season.
Hello, Fruition Family!
What does hope look like?
First and foremost, hope looks like voting! We’re about to cast our ballots early, in person, and so can you! Here‘s a link to find one near you 🙂
Hope has also been floating by, flying south. The last handful of the millions of migrating monarch butterflies have been fluttering across our farm. Monarchs often migrate hundreds and sometimes thousands of feet above the trees, flashing black and bright copper as they make their way from the Northeast to Mexico to overwinter.
Monarch butterflies have made an incredible comeback in the last five years, in no small part thanks to gardeners saving, spreading and sharing seeds widely across our continent. If you’ve been growing milkweed — or at least not pulling it as weeds — we love you and thank you! Never doubt that your actions, like seeds, are deceptively small 🙂
A few years back our dear friend and mentor Kim Delaney of Hawthorn Seeds in Ontario, Canada shared with us her technique for harvesting milkweed seeds. Especially if you’re harvesting more than a few pods or are really invested in cleaning them with ease, it’s a complete game-changer! Indeed, this is the technique we use to harvest many thousands of milkweed seeds each autumn to share with you in our packets 🙂
Our blog shares this technique and so much more about saving seed and growing milkweed:
This technique is fabulous for all species in the Syriaca genus, by the way, and
~ if you know someone who would love this info, please don’t hesitate to share ~
Also, if you’re looking for fun, gorgeous packets to share the seeds you save, we’re thrilled to share our commUnity art packets with you!
Here are some favorite bulb varieties, tricks and tips from our friends at Espoma.
The chill of Winter finally begins to subside. After months of gray skies, sunlight slowly begins
to warm the earth. Your heart warms too, because the bulbs you planted last Fall are just
starting to emerge. At least, that’s what ought to happen. And why shouldn’t it? Bulbs are so
easy to plant, and so worthwhile when they bloom. What are you waiting for? Get inspired by
our favorites and get started by following a few simple steps.
6 Bulbs That Turn Us On
( All of the Following Varieties and More are Available in the Garden Center )
- Darwin Hybrid Tulip is a
Natural Selection. It’s a
very large tulip with the
classic shape that comes to
mind when you think of tulips.
Most are reddish-orange, but
you can also find them in
pink, yellow and white.
- Parrot Tulips are All the
Talk. We just had to mention
these. Like the birds, they
come in all kinds of beautiful
vibrant colors, and their curly,
frilly petals wave like feathers
in the breeze. Huge blooms
hold up well.
- Nothing Daffy About
Daffodils. Nearly everyone
loves to see these sunny
yellow or white flowers.
Daffodils stand up to the cold
and are always among the
first flowers to send shoots
upward in the Spring.
- Let’s Go Dutch – Iris,
That is. Dutch Irises are a
favorite because they are just
so dependable. Flower petals
luxuriously drape over their
sides, and the blooms come in
a wide variety of intense colors
- Wow, a New, All-Time
Hy–acinth. Sweet fragrance
and flower clusters stemming
from low plants are characteristics of this perennial spring
- Crocus Pocus. Almost like
magic, these lovely little
perennials(2-4 inches tall)are
always among the first signs of
spring. Crocuses come in
many colors – red, orange,
pink, purple and more. A side
benefit: pesky critters don’t
seem to attack them.
7 Steps to Fall Bulb Planting
1. Be Picky. Specifically, about your bulbs and where you’re going to plant them. At your
garden center, choose bulbs that are free from obvious physical damage, mold or mildew.
2. Timing Isn’t Everything. But it’s pretty doggoned important. Plant your bulbs when the
soil has cooled, but well before the ground freezes. Late September and October are
normally just about right.
3. Get in Deep. There are exceptions, but here’s a good rule of thumb: dig a hole about three
times deeper than the bulb is tall. So, a 3-inch bulb needs a 9″ hole. Sandy soil? Go slightly
deeper. Clay soil, go slightly shallower. Choose a well-drained spot for planting that will get
at least six hours of sun each day. Constantly wet, mushy ground is a good way to rot bulbs.
4. Don’t Miss the Point. When you plant bulbs, ALWAYS do so with the point facing up.
5. Get Good Dirt on the Subject. Bulbs like well-aerated, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. If you
have poor soil — too sandy or too much clay — add amendments to improve it. Be sure to add 1-1/2
heaping teaspoons of Espoma Bulb-tone® or Bio-tone Starter Plus® into the planting hole with the bulb,
where the roots can find it. This rich, organic, slow-feeding plant food is especially formulated to meet the
nutritional needs of bulbs. Feed again at the same rate when plants are about six inches high.
6. After Dinner Drink. After covering the bulbs with rich organic soil, water well to help them become
established before winter.
7. To Mulch is Enough. Adding a 3-inch layer of mulch over the surface of the soil will help insulate and
protect the bulbs against freeze and thaw conditions. If you’re worried about the shoots finding their way
through it in the Spring, you can always pull back the mulch in April.
Other Bulbous Tips
• If you have destructive pests like voles and squirrels, you may need to plant bulbs in a cage. Bulb cages
may be purchased at garden centers or fashioned by hand with a bit of wire mesh or chicken wire.
• Consider planting bulbs in groups or random order, keeping in mind that some will not sprout. This will
create a more natural-looking appearance than a regimented, straight line.
• Consider planting low bulbs in front of high, or layering bulbs to create striking combination arrangements
when they bloom.
• Bulbs don’t usually need to be dug up at the end of the first year. After the second year, watch for signs of
crowding, like smaller blooms. That’s a signal it’s time to dig bulbs up, dry them out for a few days, divide
and replant them.
• For fun, try planting bulbs in containers.
Are you still wondering if you have time to seed your lawn this Fall? Good news, our friends at Jonathan Green have put the following guide together to let you know that October is not to late to establish a lush, beautiful lawn for next spring!
Seeding early in the fall is always best, but there is still time to develop a thicker, greener lawn if you seed now. It is always better to do so in the fall than waiting for next spring when weeds and cold weather can hinder your efforts. Despite evening temperatures dropping below 60ºF, the soil temperature is about 5º to 10ºF higher. Newly planted grass seed likes warm soil which is one of the reasons why fall is the best time to seed. In warmer soil, grass roots reach down deep to establish the plant before winter weather sets in.
If you’re reseeding or overseeding this fall, follow these steps:
1. Test and Amend Soil pH
If you haven’t tested your soil pH, ( We have soil test kits available at the Garden Center. ) do so now. Your soil pH is critical to growing a healthy lawn. If your pH is not balanced, it can cause weeds to thrive, and limit the amount of nutrients available to your grass plants. Cool-season grasses thrive in soil pH values between 6.2 to 7.0. If your pH is below 7, which is common in Madison and surrounding towns, add Mag-I-Cal, to balance your soil pH. The calcium in this product also helps to strengthen cell walls and prepare grass plants for winter, while reducing disease potential.
2. Prepare Soil and Seed
Proper soil preparation is key to growing a successful lawn. Although some of the seeds may germinate if you were to simply throw the seed onto your lawn, you will not see great results without preparing your soil.
First, rake the areas that will be seeded vigorously to loosen the soil. Alternatively, rent a power rake or slit seeding machine for the best results. If needed, level the ground. Next, apply the seed with a spreader to ensure even coverage. Be sure not to bury newly planted grass seed more than ¼ inch in depth. Once seed is applied, turn your rake over and gently swish it back and forth to barely cover the seed. Seed to soil contact is very important and enhances germination.
By this time of year, we may experience the first frost, but lawns will still grow with sunny days ahead. The first frost also will kill any existing crabgrass, which is another reason fall seeding is preferred to spring. If you notice bare spots in your lawn after crabgrass has died, you can fill them in with new grass seed.
Fall is a great time to grow grass, and thus is also a great time to feed your lawn! An application of Winter Survival Fall Lawn Food or other low nitrogen fertilizer is great at this time. Fertilizing twice in the fall, once in late August and once in late October, will keep your lawn green throughout the rest of the year. Winter Survival is not too high in Nitrogen, as excess Nitrogen can lead to snow mold disease problems later in winter and spring.
4. Control Weeds
Another reason fall is ideal for seeding is that there are less weeds! This means that weed control in lawns at this time of year is generally limited to broadleaf weeds. Provided weeds are actively growing and soil temperatures are above 55ºF, you can successfully control many types of broadleaf weeds.
If you only have a few weeds throughout your lawn, spot spraying is most effective. However, if you have a lot of weeds, a broadcast application of Green-Up Weed & Feed is best. Why not give your lawn its last feeding for the season and clean out as many weeds as you can before next year?
Note: Do not apply weed control for at least four weeks after seeding. If you do, it will hurt the new seedling’s development. Before four weeks or up until the second mowing the new grass will not be able to handle the effects of the herbicide.
One last tip before you go: keep mowing your lawn as long as it needs it into late fall! Be sure your mower blades are sharp and in good working order. You can leave clippings on the lawn provided they are not wet or developing clumps which may kill existing grass.
In conclusion, it is not too late to seed your lawn in October and it always better to seed a lawn in the fall, than waiting until next spring.