Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March Madness - Pollinator Projects and Our First Hort Workshop of 2015

In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours. ~Mark Twain

Mark Twain hit the nail on the head with that description!  

Our weather has fluctuated from snow and ice to 55 degree temp to -8 to flash flooding and more snow predicted for tomorrow.  Certainly sounds like spring to me.

Our committee is anxious to start again.   It is too early to report on the progress of our December "Winter Sowing Workshop" with milk jugs.  All the jugs have been having a nice, long stratification period and no signs of any germination. 

One change in the way we will write the blog this year - instead of browsing individual 'sprout's' journals, we will post by type of plant and each blogger will journal their experience under that post.  This should make it easier to share the experiences of all without having to flip back and forth.

We met Monday at noon (March 2).  A fun get together with lots of catching up, snacks and of course, planting.

As part of GCA's focus on pollinators as well as a global focus on monarch butterflies (Monarch Monitoring Project), our club will tackle a couple of small projects to help in our community. 

Four types of milkweed seeds were ordered from Prairie Moon Nursery.   Our propagation efforts will be discussed on a separate post starting in the next day or so.

Additionally hyacinth beans are being started, also to be discussed in another soon-to-be started post.  These are from hyacinth beans saved from last year's seed share projects.  Success was easy with the hyacinth beans and we sent some back to the Shirley Menice Conference last fall as well as saved some for our members.  A different approach in this year's planting workshop.

A photograph taken by Blondie Sprout
last fall in Old Town Alexandria, VA of
hyacinth bean vines growing on a shop front.
Our intent this year is to have enough milkweed and hyacinth bean plants to give to our entire membership at our June picnic.   Great optimism for the milkweeds even though we have been advised they are somewhat difficult to propagate and may take until the second year to bloom.

We will also be sharing milkweed seeds with a local group, SAGE (Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurs), a "farmer-training-program that teaches participants how to grow large amounts of sustainable produce in urban spaces and how to sell this produce as a stream of household income."

And, we will contribute many of the seeds left over from both members who collected from their gardens and from seed share at Shirley Meniece last year to the CMS Edible Schoolyard project - a team project involving a local Montessori school and students from Marshall University's Physical Therapy Program.

In the meantime, we've discovered another great source for seeds: The Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, not too far from Charlottesville, VA.   In addition to their web site they write a wonderful blog titled simply enough The Southern Exposure Seed Exchange Blog.   So, while the weather still keeps us indoors there is plenty of reading material to make us dream of sunny days and digging in our gardens! 


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