The viburnum plugs got planted, plus I got some seed planted and some seed cleaned. Now I can’t wait for spring!

Once you learn the basics of seed collecting, storing and sowing, there is no limit to what you can grow. Most seed is pretty easy to handle and sowing in outdoor beds or containers is usually a fairly low maintenance method.

This is a great way to get a few or a lot of plants for yourself or to share. If you have some property that you’d like to restore some diversity to, and you are patient, planting seeds is a great way to do that. It’s inexpensive, often free once you are set up, its a pleasant way to spend time outdoors with your hands in the dirt, and something anyone can do to improve the environment. What about growing enough to offer to a local natural area??

Today I had some maple-lvd. viburnum seed that I had collected while on a nearby trail several weeks ago – with permission. I put the seed in ziplock bags with a little water for a week or so to let the pulp soften, then used a spray setting on the hose nozzle to rinse that off over a screen. Next took cleaned seed to the propagation beds, with 2 dogs and a cat as escorts, made a narrow furrow with my hands, spread the seed out in the furrow and covered them back up. Labeled it of course. Some spicebush seed that was large and easy to handle I sowed in plug flats that will over winter in an unheated coldframe.

Many native seeds from this region need a cold moist period (stratification) of about 3 months before they will sprout. Basically this simulates being in the ground over winter. So These seeds will sprout next spring when the soil warms up. Seeing seeds you collected, cleaned, and sowed with your own hands, poking through the soil is always a happy, happy moment. And addicting!

Here’s a little graphic walk thru of the process:

Big-leaf Magnolia, Viburnum, American Bittersweet, Holly seeds collected recently

Fleshy fruits soaking

Cleaning bittersweet seed on a screen

Happy hands with viburnum seed ready for planting.

Baby sitting on the planting furrow in the propagation bed.  Why do cats do that??

Spicebush seed.  Sowing one seed per cell in a plug tray.