Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winter Seed Workshops Jan-Feb 2009

To launch its seed bank project, the BNPSB, will run a series of three winter workshops, January 9, January 23, and February 7, to encourage area residents to become seed collectors, savers and sowers.

The first session, a Seed Cleaning & Sorting Workshop, will be held indoors at the Berks County Agricultural Center, January 9 at 10 a.m.. Mike and Jan Slater will teach participants how to clean seeds, evaluate viability, and sort the seeds by height and habitat. Seed collected this past fall from native plants will then be ready for sowing in containers or onto outdoor sites.

The second session, a Propagating Native Plants from Seed Workshop, January 24, 9 a.m., at the Ag Center, will be indoor hands-on instruction on how successfully to germinate seeds in pots to grow on seedlings of native plants. All participants will be given potted native seeds to take home.

This will be the beginning of the Berks Backyard Native Plant Seed Bank. We hope that the participants will grow the plants on and plant some of them in their garden’s and collect seed each autumn for donation back to the BNPSB for use in future native plant revegetation projects. The species we have this year are uncommon showy flowering native plants that people will want in their gardens and are great plants for wildlife.

Area residents will be given the opportunity to register their properties as Backyard Native Seed Banks. Registered growers will be given seeds and seedlings of desirable natives for their home gardens in return for a commitment to collect and save seed for the Seed Bank. Full instructions will be provided.

The third session, February 7, 9 a.m., will be Hands on Experience Sowing Native Seeds to re-establish a meadow, held at an outdoor site in Union Township where the Slaters, The Union Twp. Recreation Board and other local enthusiasts have already begun to establish native plant meadows under the auspices of the township.

For more information and to register for the free workshops, call …….



Douglas Tallamy’s book Bringing Nature Home has inspired gardeners across the country to explore gardening with native plants. When Tallamy spoke at a Berks County Hort Club program in October his message was enthusiastically received by local gardeners, many of whom are eager to incorporate more native plants into their landscapes.

Recently several Berks Countians met to discuss how to make native plant seeds and seedlings available for the increasing needs and opportunities in our area. The result was formation of the Berks Native Plant Seed Bank, whose goal is to make native plant seeds available for planting of public and private lands, to restore habitat, discourage invasive plant populations and provide sustainable biodiversity.

Mike and Jan Slater of Brecknock (?) township have collected seeds of as many as 100 native species. The Slaters have created an electronic database of all identified plants in Berks County, both native and non-native. This index is annotated to indicate which seeds the Slaters have available.

The BNPSB will create an electronic clearinghouse to list seed availability, along with photographs and profiles of each native plant from which seed has been collected. The site will also list county locations where seeds are needed and will provide tools to create an accurate profile of each site to facilitate plant selection.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Organizational Meeting

Thursday Dec 12, 2008 8 am at Nolde Forest Env. Ed. Center

Larry Lloyd, Berks Co. Conservancy
Beth Finlay, Berks Co. Master Gardener Program
Chip Karasin, Organizer
Mike and Jan Slater, Muhlenberg Botanical Society (Seed-a-holics and meadow planters)
Linda Ingram, Nolde Forest EEC and Union Twp. Rec. Board

Unable to attend:
Karl Gardener, Mengel Natural History Society