Prairie Planting Day 1: #SOL Day 8/Year 3

It’s  6: 38 p.m. Central Standard Time and it is still light out! Whoo-hoo! Yay! It was 63 degrees when my husband and I headed outside to plant our prairie patch today!

First, we took five-gallon buckets of crushed stone that he had bought last year for another project and spread them for a make-shift path, halfway into the garden bed. It’s not much but will begin a path into the prairie patch for gazing, picking, and relaxing.

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Then, we broke open the seed packets I had been saving since last August for this project. They were a Dry Wildflower Mix I picked up at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa last August when I was there for a Master Gardener tour.  When I examined the seed mix, I noted that the seeds included were all seeds of plants native to our area – which once was covered in prairie.

The seed mix included:

Nodding Onion                                     Partridge Pea                           Foxglove Beardtongue

Lead Plant                                             Sand Coreopsis                         Longheaded Coneflower

Butterfly Milkweed                            White Prairie Clover                Black-Eyed Susan

Smooth Blue Aster                             Purple Prairie Clover                Stiff Goldenrod

Upland White Aster                           Dotted Blazingstar                    Hoary Vervain

Canadian Milk Vetch                         Wild Bergamot                          Golden Alexander

White Wild Indigo                             Wild Quinine

In addition, we spread some seeds that I had in the refrigerator for cold stratification.  These included Joe Pye Weed, Short Green Milkweed, Whorled Milkweed, Indian Paintbrush, and Purple Giant Hyssop. These seeds were obtained in 2019 from Prairie Moon Nursery in Winona, Minnesota. Prairie Moon Nursery has a wide selection of native wildflower seeds that can be ordered from their catalog.

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Unlike the Seed Savers Exchange, they do not have a showroom. I would highly recommend either of these companies for their native prairie seeds and seed mixes. Neither can be called inexpensive, but you are getting native seeds from reputable sources, not filler seed. I heard the woman at Seed Savers tell another customer that they guarantee their seed for five years!

After we spread the seed on the compacted ground, we walked over it to press it in. The soil is quite moisture-laden right now, which will help to break seed dormancy once it gets warm enough. None of our efforts took very long today which felt a little odd. I know that this first year, we will have to keep the area mowed to a height of 4-6 inches and refrain from pulling any weeds so we do not disturb the developing root systems on the prairie plant seedlings. But, we are hopeful that our prairie patch will draw all kinds of pollinators to our yard in the coming years.  For now, we just have to be patient!

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Suggested Resources:

Prairie Moon Nursery Resources and Information

Prairie Moon Nursery – How to Grow a Prairie from Seed

Favorite Links from Prairie Moon Nursery

 

 

8 Thoughts

  1. You have a lot of the same flowers my students and I planted in our native pollinator garden two summers ago! You’re going to love the asters and the bergamot, or as I prefer to call it, bee balm. I have some great PDFs of informational signs for a lot of those plants that I’d be happy to share with you if you’re interested. We have them printed on an aluminum backing and put them on stakes in our garden. Really nice touch for folks to be able to know the name and some quick facts about each flower.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks For the offer Jordan- very nice of you. But, this is not my first rodeo with these plants! I’m an environmental educator and master gardener of 16 years- my first experience in planting natives was with school children much like yourself when we planted a monarch way station in 2006 and had it certified by Monarch Watch in 2008. I’m a long time conservationist who now works educating the public on these very plants and ecosystems. This Prairie is a patch of my own yard tucked away behind our barn – just for my own enjoyment and to help fortify the pollinator habitat. I am glad to hear of a like minded individual who likes to provide folks with information! It’ll be a couple of years before we have lots of blooms- if I change my mind about the signage, I’ll let you know! Thanks, again!

      Like

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