Native Seed Workshops: Winter sowing, preceded by more cleaning (Updated)

Above: A new workshop invites participants to create greenhouses in a bottle to use in their backyards this winter to germinate native seedlings to plant this spring. (images contributed)

The Open Space Preservation Commission is bringing more native plant workshops to the Southborough Library. The community is invited to join one or both of back to back seed workshops a week from tomorrow.

A “Winter Sow Workshop”. It will be run by gardening expert Nikki Howell. The focus is on sowing seeds to generate native plant seedlings this winter for planting in the spring. Participants will get to bring home their own mini greenhouse in a bottle.

The group will be using seeds collected at the well-attended Seed Cleaning Workshop last week at the Library. I’m told that while a lot of great work was done that night, the OSPC still has more seeds to prepare.

Seed Workshops - Feb 6Expert Ellen Sousa is returning to lead an abbreviated cleaning session. Anyone interested in helping can drop in starting an hour prior to the Sowing Workshop.

Both workshops will take place on Thursday, February 6th. Attendance is free. But to ensure enough supplies are on hand, registration is required for the Sow Workshop. (Click here.)

The encore seed cleaning workshop will take place from 6:00 – 7:00 pm on the main floor. The “Native Plant Winter Sow Workshop” will run from 7:00 – 8:30 pm  in the downstairs Eaton Meeting Room

Here are more details from OSPC on the sowing event:

Most native seeds require cold stratification to germinate. That is, they need repeated freeze and thaw conditions after being planted.

Join Garden Expert Nikki Howell as we prepare containers and then plant them with native seeds. You’ll bring the planted containers (plastic jugs) home to set outside and overwinter. The milk jugs act as mini greenhouses while allowing the seeds to freeze and thaw as native seeds require. The jugs also protect the seeds from birds and squirrels.

In the spring you’ll have numerous seedlings to transplant.

We’ll provide many species of native seeds for you to choose from.

These seedlings will become beautiful flowers in your yard that also support our native pollinators

Bring clean and dry plastic milk or water jugs (½ gallon and gallon), roast chicken containers, 4 inch or deeper plastic food containers like lettuce or take out will work also. Must be deep containers with tightly fitted lids and must be Clean and Dry!No prior gardening experience needed!

Next week’s seed night is the third Native Seed program held by the OSPC. The first workshop took place last fall at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land where participants helped collect seeds. (The commission has also received some native seed donations that they’ll be sowing next week.)

Updated (1/31/20 10:22 am): Initially, I wrote that both events are in the downstairs Eaton Meeting Room. It turns out that the 6:00 pm event will be on the main floor.

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