Category Archives: Seeds

Cold Stratification List

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Note – Shaw Nature Reserve uses 3 months Cold Stratification for most natives.

Plant Cold Stratification
Agastache 30 days – Surface
Asclepias incarnata – Swamp Milkweed 30 days
Asclepias tuberosa – Butterfly Weed 30 days
Blazing Star – Liatris 60 days
Bronze Fennel Not needed
Cleome Not needed
Coreopsis lanceleaf 30 days
Coreopsis plains Not needed
Dianthus barbatus Not needed
Echinacea 0 – 30 days ????
French Hollyhock – Malva sylvestris Not needed
Gaillardia Not needed – press into soil
Gomphrena – globe amaranth Not needed
Helenium amarum – Sneezeweed Not needed – surface sow tiny seeds
Lobelia cardinalis 60 days – Surface Sow
Maltese Cross Not needed – do not cover????
Marigold Not needed
Rudbeckia 60 days
Rue Not needed
Salvia – purple perennial Not needed???? – needs light to germinate?????
Verbena bonareinsis Not needed
Verbena hastata – Vervain 30 days – tiny seeds
Zinnia Not needed

 

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Time to Plant Seeds

seeds-in-the-fall-600

If you haven’t already, it’s now time to get those native seeds into the soil.

As you can see in the picture, I clean out the area, put in the seeds and then cover them with potting soil. I use a plastic lawn edging to keep the seeds in place and also make it easier to know in the spring where the new plants are.

I also mark the seeds with stakes to know for sure what is coming up in the spring.

This technique is an easy way to grow your own plants for your own garden or to share with others.


Option #2 – 1020 Daisy Trays

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Here is another option I am trying this year.
I am using what is called a 1020 Daisy Tray. Sometimes you can get them for free when you buy a flat of plants, but I bought some from Greenhouse Megastore.

Here’s what they look like below when they are finished.
Theoretically, I could either just let the seeds germinate in the trays over the winter, or I could try bringing in the whole tray inside during March to let them get a head start germinating inside.

1020-trays-fall-seeds-600

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Planting Seeds in the Fall

While most annual seeds are planted in the spring, many native seeds need to be planted outside in the late fall. They need what is called cold-stratification to break the seeds out of their dormancy. While this can be done artificially, it’s easiest for the home gardener to just do it in an outside garden.

Here’s a technique that I use with good results. I would normally suggest planting the seeds around Thanksgiving. If it is still warm, wait until things cool down.

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  • Scrape off the top half inch of soil and mulch. You want to get down to the soil level. Set that material off to the side – we won’t use it. If you have weeds in the area, dig them out and put them in your compost.
  • You then want to define your seed area so it will be easy to identify in the spring. You can use anything you want – hula hoop, wood, bricks, etc.
  • I used a product called Terrace Board which is usually used as a lawn/garden edging. I cut it into twenty foot lengths and then drilled a hole into both ends and used a bolt to connect the overlapping ends. You will probably also need to buy plastic pegs to keep the board in place.
  • Another option if you have lots of weeds and/or grass is to lay a couple layers of newspaper to smother the old growth and fill the area with good potting soil.
  • I usually also add a half inch layer of compost or potting soil over the soil. We have clay soil in my location and it is not the ideal germinating medium.
  • Put in your seeds, cover with another 1/4 inch of potting soil/compost and then water.
  • Label the area so you know what seeds you planted.
  • The plants you see are Asclepias incarnata – Swamp Milkweed.
  • The advantage of this method is that you know that the plants coming up are the ones which are on the label.

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Free Milkweed Seeds

monarch-800I have some milkweed seeds that I’d be glad to share. The seeds are Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica. Plant the seed so it is slightly covered and keep warm and moist to start. If you start these inside, you can get a a head start on spring. Plant when all danger of frost is gone – usually around May 1st in St. Louis Missouri.

Another option is to plant these in the soil and let them come up naturally.
Send a SASE – Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope to:

Free Milkweed Seeds
9016 Robyn Rd
St. Louis, MO 63126

The best way to start these seeds is with bottom heat. 

80-degrees-covered

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80 degrees and seeds slightly covered seems to be the best. I did put the plastic top on this to keep in the heat and moisture.

 

 

 

Here’s the procedure I use.

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113,000 Seeds – $17.59

monarchs-milkweed
asclepias-113000I just found a deal on milkweed seeds that I thought I’d share. I just bought 113,000 asclepias curassavica seeds for just $17.59.

I got them from MyDirtyGardener.com. The link will take you to this offer.

asclepias-oregon-800Note – the main Monarch migration is going through St. Louis right now, so get outside and enjoy this phenomenon.

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Seeds for 25 Cents

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Gateway Greening has seed packets of flowers and vegetables for sale for only 25 cents per package. The main reason they are so cheap is that they are last years seeds. Some may even be older, so they probably won’t germinate as well as fresh seeds.

I’ve been told they are only for sale on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, but since no one is there to take your money, you may be able to get seeds most of the day. You put your money in a box in the seeds area. It’s run on the honor system.

They keep the seeds in the “Carriage House” which is just up the street from the Gardens and they are on the second floor.

http://www.gatewaygreening.org/grow/gardens/bell-demonstration-and-community-garden/

As of today, March 5th, they still have a good selection.

Note – this is only a St. Louis thing, you may be able to find another group like this in your city.

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Cold Stratification in the Refrigerator

I tried the three month cold stratification in the refrigerator for a number of seeds. I use 2/3 peat moss and 1/3 fine sand and then made sure it was moist. After 3 months I took it out of the refrigerator and then made the mistake of leaving it on one of my tables for a couple of weeks. As you can see below, the seeds were ready to sprout. My “Lesson Learned” is that as soon as you pull your seeds out of the refrigerator, put them in a pot so they can sprout.

asclepias-currassavica-3months-in-frig

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