Growing West Side is happy to invite you out on Monday, January 25th, to hear a great talk on Endangered Birds in MN, by our own amazing, nature photographer (and neighbor), Monica Bryand! Information below! Join all your neighbors at Cherokee Park United Church to learn how we can help protect our native birds.
by Maureen Hark, Growing West SideOne of the most important plants for Monarch Butterflies is Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). The butterflies lay their eggs on the undersides of the Common Milkweed leaves. The hatched caterpillars will live their entire life on the plant, eating the leaves and eventually developing into a chrysalis. In order to survive, the Monarch needs a healthy supply of milkweed and is completely dependent on us to see that it continues to be available to them.
Common Milkweed as it looks in early September. The leaves are green are healthy with some just starting to turn yellow. The seed pods are full.
When to Collect Seeds
The time to start looking for common milkweed pods is now. Go out and see if you already have some growing in your garden. If not, look around the neighborhood, but be sure you get permission from who’s ever yard you find them in before you make plans to harvest.
What to Look For
You will be looking for pods that are with in a day or two of opening up and contain mature brown seeds. The closer to maturity the seeds are the easier they crack open when gently pinched. Pale or white seeds should not be collected as they are not fully mature and most likely will not germinate when planted
The trick is to get the seeds as soon as they are mature but before the pod fully opens up and they are blown away by collection window.the wind. If it is hard to visit the plants on a regular basis to check if they are ready to harvest, you could try putting netting over the pods, or a rubber band around the widest part of the pod to hold the seeds in. This will extend the collection window.
Harvesting the Pods and Separating the Seeds from the Fluff
To harvest the pods, gently pull or cut off the plant. Dry the freshly collected pods in a place where there is good air circulation until they are completely dry.
To separate the seeds from the fluff, open the pods and scrape the contents into a paper bag. Shake the bag vigorously to separate the seeds then cut a small hole in the corner of the bottom of the bag and shake out the seeds into a bowl. Or put the seeds and fluff into a plastic container with a tight fitting lid with several coins. Put the lid on tightly and shake. The coins will help separate the seeds from the fluff and they will fall to the bottom of the container.
Labeling and Storing the Seeds
Put the cleaned seeds in an envelope or small paper bag that can be sealed. Label the package of seeds with the type of seed, date you harvested and the location where it was collected. Store the seeds in a cool, dark dry place till you are ready to plant.
Sharing the Seeds with the GWS Seed Library
Bring your extra seeds in marked packages to the Riverview Library and turn them in at the front desk. The Librarians will see that they are given to the Growing West Side Seed Library for distribution in the neighborhood.
Important Things to Know about Milkweed and Seed Collection
Milkweed Sap/Latex allergy
Milkweed sap can irritate your skin, especially if you have an allergy to latex. Be sure to wear gloves when working with the pods. Avoid touching your face. The sap can be damaging to your eyes and the effects from the sap do not always show up right away. Be especially careful if harvesting the seeds with children.
Milkweed bugs are not harmful to Monarch larvae or milkweed plants but they do feed on the seeds. The damage is difficult to see but the seeds will not germinate if they have been pierced by the milkweed bug. When collecting milkweed seeds, pass by those plants that have milkweed bugs present. This will increase your chance of collecting viable seeds.
Harvesting Milkweed Seeds http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/seed-collecting-processing/
Milk Weed Bugs
For a photo identifying Milkweed bugs, go to: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/diagnose/plant/annualperennial/milkweed/
Maureen Hark, Growing West Side 9/2015
Come Join Us to help Celebrate the 2015 Opening of the
GROWING WEST SIDE SEED LIBRARY!
Saturday, February 7th from 12-3 pm
at the RIVERVIEW LIBRARY
1 East George Street
The Growing West Side Seed Library is starting its second year of providing free seeds and education to the neighborhood. Bring your friends and family. We will have activities for kids, information on Community Garden Plots, Youth Farm and up coming Growing West Side Events.
Kids, roll up your sleeves and learn about composting worms as you help us separate and move our composting worms to a new composting box.
Starting Seeds Indoors Workshop 1 pm
Get ready for planting your vegetable garden this spring by joining us for a workshop on Starting Seeds Indoors. Learn which seeds need to be started early inside and which are planted directly in the garden and learn how to start and care for seeds as they grow. Then go up stairs to the Seed Library and “check out” some seeds for you to start at home.
Winter Sowing Workshop 2 pm
KIDS! Get down and dirty learning about composting worms and help us separate and move them to a new composting box!
WEST 7th/WEST SIDE RESOURCE HUB- 2013
What is the Gardening Matters Resource Hub? The West 7th and the West Side neighborhoods have come together to form a Resource Hub. The Hub is a community based network of residents, organizations, and businesses supporting each other to grow, cook, and preserve fruits and vegetables and increase health and access to fresh food. By becoming a member, we can become part of a network of people building a vibrant and inclusive local food system. Through out the year our neighborhoods will come together and share what resources and knowledge we have. The kick off event is April 2nd. But, more about that later….
How do you Join the Hub? To join, individuals or organizations pay a small membership fee and choose the garden package of seeds and seedlings that best suits their needs. The suggested membership fees are lower than the actual costs, to make memberships available to everyone. If you can contribute more, you provide critical funds for operating costs. To sign up, go to the Gardening Matters Resource Hubs page ( http://www.gardeningmatters.org/hubs ) and select “sign up now”, or come to the next GROWING WEST SIDE MEETING Saturday March 23rd at the Riverview Library and sign up there OR at the Seed Disbursement Event on April 2nd.
These are the Garden Seed/Seedling Packages you can sign up for:
Small Garden Package Suitable for a small plot, raised bed garden or container garden. 10 packets of seeds and 12 seedlings. Suggested membership fee $10 to $20. (approximate retail value $45)
Medium Garden Package Suitable for a 12’ x 12’ garden. 20 packets of seeds and 20 seedlings. Suggested membership fee $25 to $40. (approximate retail value $85)
Large Garden Package Suitable for a very large garden or community garden. 40 packets of seeds and 72 seedlings. Suggested membership fee $50 to $100 (approximate retail value $225)
You can also become a member by making a donation, and not receiving seeds.
In Addition to Purchasing Seeds members will be able to purchase strawberry and raspberry bare root plants at a very good price through this program. Demos and classes will be available to help you grow fruit. Look on the Gardening Matters resource Hubs page for information on ordering. PLANTS MUST BE PRE-ORDERED.
The Seed Disbursement Kick Off Event! This is the event where the seed packages you have signed up for are distributed. Rivers Edge Academy has invited our Resource Hub to their Community Event on April 2nd from 6:30 to 8pm. There will be food, gardening demonstrations, information about River’s Edge programming, and of course the SEED DISBURSEMENT!
Volunteers Are Needed! The event is being planned right now! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping.
Help us grow the West Side of Saint Paul by learning more about participation in our projects.
Growing West Side organizes Beans on the Boulevard, classes, a seed library, the West Side Farmers’ Market, and much more. Grow with us!
We are a grassroots collaborative that cultivates opportunities to learn, to access locally grown food, and to build authentic connections with neighbors to create a vibrant, thriving West Side community.