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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Collecting and Drying Local Seed

Collecting

Make a point of picking only plants growing in prime locations. Individual plants with many insect holes and obvious poor health are probably located at the extremes of their preferred growing conditions and may also have distinctly atypical biochemistries as a response to their compromised growing conditions. Always check around the vicinity after you have located a desired plant.; in fact, it should be stated that the best collector has scouted the area weeks ahead of going to collect seed – this needs to be a thoughtful and deliberative process. However, there may be times when there isn't any 'wiggle' room – in that case, still maintain a considered posture. Remember, a thoughtless collector can wreck havoc on an ecosystem. There may be a whole field of your desired plant over the next rise or around the bend in the road. On the other hand, this plant may be the only one in the whole valley – and should absolutely be left alone. Furthermore, a plant common in one state may be a rare, protected plant in the next state, or even the next county, so check with a local California Native Plant Chapter first if in doubt.

Certain conservation practices are always necessary. If a plant grows in large stands, never take more than a third of the plants' seed. If it is a large, solitary bush or tree, never pick more than a fourth of the seed. If the plant is an annual, do not exceed these suggestions – perennials will have the chance to set seed again next year, but even then, leave ample seed behind.

Wherever you gather, presume that you will come back the next year to the same place and find the plants still healthy. Don’t make a common mistake of looking many days for a plant, finding it at last, and taking a whole load of its seed back with you – it’s like you are punishing the plant (indeed the species!) for your frustration. And most seed collected in gobs and gobs, mark my words, will go to waste. Do not collect beyond your ability to deal with the result.

    z Know a few plants well, know what you will need
    z Don’t try for the record amount of seeds never planted (and in a year, designated 'uncertain germination percentage').

Drying

Dry your seeds promptly upon return. Lay the seed on screens away from direct sunlight in a dry place and, above all, away from rodents and insects. Fear of insects and rodents have spurred me to use my food dryer to do the job as quickly as possible. Dry your seed as promptly as possible and, once dry, place in paper envelopes or in glass jars.

Storing

Store your seeds in a dark, dry and cool location, the darker, drier and cooler, the better. Make sure your seed stock is insect free before storing. It can be terribly disconcerting to find your stored seed has become insect larvae feed and you have nothing to show for your work.  

david 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Rootstock!! Updated!!

LAST UPDATE (I hope.)  BRING YOUR KNIVES! 

UPDATE:  Eleu will NOT be with us tomorrow because of some filming of his project.  He will drop off a garden salad, but if we want more than that, we are on our own.  If a lot of us bring something, we'll have something to eat, if not, hope you can get along on salad only!  There might be rain - dress warm and dress to stay dry.  We can do a lot of our work in the classroom as we are not too many people, but I would much rather we fling dirt and stuff out in the rest of the shade house.  



A phone call this morning confirms that Raintree Nursery is shipping out our rootstock (MM111) today. We will have them for the March 12th meeting - on that day, please bring your knives and any sharpening device you prefer and be prepared to make new trees - those with budwood will want to make certain to have it at this class.

This Sunday, my friend and colleague, Katerina Erickson, will wow you and zow you with all kinds of interesting other worldly plants and their special requirements for growing them.  Kat was a long time gardener and propagation expert at the Huntington Library (I always think of it as the Huntington Gardens which also happens to have a library). 

We will start both weeks at 1:00 PM 

david 











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