Pam Frink’s seed and seedling planting tips

Pam Frink runs the White Bear Lake Seed Library which maintains a stock of open-pollinated native plant and vegetable seeds that are available for free.  The library accepts donations of open-pollinated seeds to share with gardeners.

She compiled a list of resources to help with planting our seeds and seedlings:

How to start native plants from seed, the easy way (PDF)

In-depth information about how to propagate native plants (PDF)

Instructions for your container of newly planted seeds (PDF)

Germination times for native plants (PDF)

How to Transplant a Plant

Send your questions to Pam:

Preparing your site

You can start now! Proper site preparation gives your plants a great head start. Removal of competitive weeds and grasses must be accomplished before planting begins. One option: cover the area with 4-6 layers of newspaper or cardboard to block out sunlight. Saturate the newspaper or cardboard with water to prevent it from blowing away, then apply clean shredded mulch. A few weeks later, after the newspaper or cardboard has softened, punch holes in it and insert your new plants.

Healthy Soil, Healthy Plants

Matching plants to your site

It is important to match species requirements with site features such as soil type, light conditions, moisture and drainage for the planting to be successful. Mesic (medium) soil types drain well but contain moisture all or most of the time. Clay soils will hold higher moisture levels and sandy soils are often drier as they will drain faster.  Some plants are more sensitive to conditions such as moisture and light, so it is best to match your conditions with those described for each plant or flat in the seller’s catalog.

The Importance of Eco-Regions to Native Plantings (PDF)

Native plants for different gardens / landscaping situations by Terry Serres (PDF)

Installation and maintenance

Wild Ones Prairie Edge Chapter produced an excellent overview of how to install and maintain a native plants garden in pdf format.

Wild Ones members offer their perspectives:

Backyard Gardening for Nature by Michelle Kalantari (PDF)

Improving the Environment One Rain Garden at a Time

Many of the gardening practices we learned to take care of our yards and gardens are different from the best practices recommended for native gardens.  For example, we are encouraged to give up the practice of raking our leaves in the fall and spring and to hold off on cutting the plants down until April or May.  This article explains this in more detail:

Don’t Spring into Garden Cleanup Too Soon