When to Plant?

I am already getting questions on when to plant in the St.Louis area, so I thought I’d do a little research on the weather averages.

May 1st is my standard answer for best planting date and it seems to stand the test of time. While you can certainly put in tougher plants like pansies, most annuals and more tender plants need the warmer temperatures.

If you look at the graph below, you can see that while the Normal Lows for April are in the 50’s by the end of the month, the Record Lows can be in the 20’s and 30’s. The Climate Graphs for May also show that there are no instances of freezing weather in the last fifty years.

May 1st seems to be a good planting date in this area. If you want to live dangerously you can plant earlier, but I would look at the 10 day forecast to be safe.

Temperature-Averages-Saint-Louis

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Free Tropical Milkweed Seeds

monarch-dsc04726I 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 the seeds in the soil and let them come up naturally.

You can pick these up at Saturday’s presentation – March 3rd – 1 p.m. at Whitecliff Recreation Center – Crestwood, Missouri.

OR – please 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.

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Butterfly Gardening with Native Plants

sue-leahy-3

Sue’s Backyard

Tuesday, March 27th.

7:00 p.m. at the Oak Bend branch of the St. Louis County Library
842 South Holmes, St. Louis, MO 63122 (near I-44 and Big Bend).

Presentation by Susan Leahy and Dawn Weber.

Sue and Dawn are two of the best St. Louis experts on native plants.
They both have front and back yards filled with native plants.

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What to Plant?

While most of my emphasis is on growing specific plants for butterflies, there are many other insects and birds which I enjoy. Unfortunately, numbers seem to be decreasing every year. Here is a good video on what we can all do to bring nature back to our yards.

 

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Seed Test Results

Here are the results of my seed tests – they will be updated daily.

Seeds From My Garden

  • Agastache regular – 6 days
  • Agastache  Pink Rapp – 5 days
  • Blazing Star spicata
  • Bronze Fennel – 4 days
  • Cleome
  • Coreopsis lance leaf – 8 days 
  • Coreopsis Plains – 4 days – 100%
  • Dianthus barbatus – 6 days
  • Echinacea – CS
  • Echinacea – no CS
  • Gaillardia small – 5 days
  • Globe Amaranth pink – 3 days – 100%
  • Gomphrena Fireworks –
  • Helenium amarum – 4 days – 100%
  • Maltese Cross – 7 days
  • Marigold –
  • Partridge Pea – 
  • Rue –
  • Salvia pink – 4 days
  • Salvia purple – 6 days
  • Tropical milkweed – 6 days
  • Verbena hastata –
  • Verbena bonareinsis
  • Zinnia angustifolia – 3 days
  • Zinnia profusion pink –

Seeds I bought for 2018

  • Ajuga reptans –
  • Alyssum Royal Carpet – 3 days
  • Creeping Thyme Magic Carpet – 6 days
  • Creeping Thyme Mother of Thyme – 4 days
  • Pussytoes Red – 4 days
  • Rock Cress Cascading
  • Sedum acre – 4 days
  • Sedum Dragons Blood – 3 days
  • Sedum oreganum – 3 days
  • Snow in Summer – 6 days
  • Veronica repens – 6 days

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Seed Testing in January

seed-testing-bags-600If you have leftover seeds from last year or seeds that you collected in the fall, now is a good time to test the seeds for viability.

 

 

seed-testing-800

I prefer to test the seeds through my standard seed starting process.

  • I use the 36 per tray plastic cells in a 1020 tray.
  • I put this tray in a heavy-duty plastic tray.
  • I use my preferred potting mix as a base – BX Pro-Mix with some Osmocote.
  • Make sure the mix is well watered before you add the seeds.
  • I put 3 or 4 seeds on top of the mix.
  • I top the seeds with a light layer of vermiculite.
  • I spray the vermiculite with water.
  • I label each cell with the date, seed name and number of seeds. I use vinyl blinds that I have taken down. These are easy to cut and label with a pencil.
  • I also put in about 1/8 inch of water in the bottom of the tray in case the mix needs to absorb some water.
  • I cover the tray with a plastic clear top.
  • I lower my shop lights to within 1/2 inch of the plastic top.
  • I keep the lights on 24/7 to keep it all warm.

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Watering at Christmas?

drought-mo-dec-17-2017With winter and Christmas just around the corner, one of the last thing on most people’s mind is to get out the hose to water the plants and trees. Yet in Missouri with most of the state in drought conditions, that may be just what is needed.

A recent MU bulletin told people to check their soil around the drip line of newly planted trees and if dry then watering would be beneficial.

This would also be true of fall planted perennials.

A soaker hose set on low would probably be your best bet.

My guess is that established trees and natives will weather the drought just fine, but if you have invested money in a fall planting, those perennials and trees would probably appreciate a through soaking and may be the difference between them surviving the winter or dying in the spring.

Here’s the link for the Missouri drought monitor.
https://www.drought.gov/drought/states/missouri

 

 

 

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