Marisa Lee

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since Mar 13, 2021
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South Shore of Lake Superior
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Recent posts by Marisa Lee

Mk Neal wrote:

Besides collecting and giving out seeds we've held some workshops, skillshares, and plant swaps.

That sounds great! I hope my local one develops to the point of being able to do that. Right now it's basically one librarian doing the work, and it was just getting started when this pandemic happened, so off to a slow start.
2 hours ago
You can also make fertilizer by steeping nettles (and other plants, possibly those you are weeding from your garden, I don't know the details on all that) in water, like in a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. It then needs to be diluted.

The instructions on this link describe both how to make what I was thinking of, steeped for a couple weeks, but also a quicker tea that can be used the next day, undiluted.
2 hours ago

Dan Fish wrote:I was going to participate in one at our local library but it got cancelled because swapping seeds gives you covid. However! I am keeping an eye out for one this year. I just learned what landrace means (during the Lofthouse book giveaway here) and I can't wait to get started. I will not be sharing any seeds because my garden has nothing to offer yet. Hoping to start changing that.

Thanks and looking forward to this thread.

I found out that I'm able to share purchased seeds, not only the ones I grew and saved. For instance, seeds I ordered this year or last, but don't plan to use all of them myself. I figured, if two or three people grow all these seeds this year, and next year I plant some of the seeds we all saved, then I'm getting locally adapted seeds more quickly than if I grew the purchased seeds two or three years in a row. That's why I'd rather give away the excess and receive saved seeds next year, instead of holding on to these for myself. But I understand not everybody has leftovers to share.
1 day ago
I read a great one in the signature line of fellow permie Matt Todd: I don't own the plants, they own me!
2 days ago
I can't give a rating yet, but I ordered from Fedco (and Johnny's) this year on a recommendation from a farmer friend. Thoughts so far: great selection & great prices. Shipping was expensive because I wasn't ordering enough to get free shipping, but on the whole it was still a good price. If I had planned better, I could have gone in on the order with a friend and gotten free shipping I believe.
2 days ago
Oh! I forgot to mention, the last Saturday in January is National Seed Swap Day (in the U.S.). Even if you don't have access to a seed library, it's a good day to swap with friends
2 days ago
I have been recently learning about seed libraries and setting aside seeds to contribute to the one in my (nearby) town. They are often housed within regular public libraries, and unlike a seed bank, the seeds are grown out every year by community members, saved, and returned. This means your neighbors are developing locally-adapted landraces. It's a relatively new concept to me, but I was surprised there are several around here (and hundreds around the world - but mainly in the U.S.). You can borrow seeds even if you don't have any to contribute to start with, though you are making a commitment to bring some back after the growing season.

So I'm curious, have you participated in a seed library in the past? If so, what was your experience? Or, will you this year?
2 days ago
You have good ideas already. Some others that come to mind, for native trees and shrubs that support wildlife: juneberry, chokeberry, hawthorn, hazelnut.

Habitat additions may include:
ringing the bottom of the bed with stones (or including a little pile of them somewhere, if fully surrounding the bed isn’t an option)
laying a terra cotta pot on its side in the soil, facing north/east or on the shady side of the bed, great reuse for a cracked one
placing a dish of small stones and adding water daily (I use a huge terra cotta saucer for this, catching water under my spigot)
leaving small log or board on the ground to rot

These things are helpful for many animals, but in my garden I’m thinking mainly of toads and salamanders when I do these things. Oh a little brush pile is great, too - cover for small animals like snakes, and maybe home to beneficial insects.
3 days ago
Oh, I just reread your original post, and I realized I’m such a woodland girl and not offering you prairie plants. I do have some native grass seeds if you like. They are direct sow in spring. You’d have to remove existing grass first, in order for them to take hold. Mainly I have tall grasses you wouldn’t want, but some cute shorties I have seed for include little bluestem and side-oats gramma. I am not sure how much prairie drop seed I have, but it is easily found online and I do recommend that one, very pretty.

Do you have a place for taller grasses? (Like 4+ feet tall - the ones I already listed are more like 18” on average.)

Oh another pretty ground cover is Antennaria, various species of pussytoes. Not edible to my knowledge, but has some traditional uses I’m not super familiar with.
3 days ago
Another alternative lawn that works well here (north of you but not too far) is Pennsylvania sedge. It looks like a grass but technically isn’t. Doesn’t need to be mowed, but can stand to be mowed like once a year if you want. It spreads so will fill in from a modest amount of transplants, but can be interplanted with flowers and other things you want to grow. From what I’ve seen (in nature and in gardens) it is a nice ground cover that isn’t so aggressive as to form a monoculture. In nature, it grows in shade, but does fine in a sunny garden.

Speaking of groundcover, wild strawberry could replace some of the other plants you mentioned. Also wood sorrel, or some other species of Oxalis. Self-heal, Prunella vulgaris. Wild basil, Clinopodium vulgare I think is the name - takes mowing well, but might get a bit tall without it, like a foot or so. Plantain of course (both the introduced and the native P. rugelii grow in my yard). Native Potentilla/cinquefoils (there are several). Yarrow, not a ground cover but also does well in lawns. Those are all plants I have growing wild here - I can send a package in early summer if you like. It is too late for me to send seeds as most of my seeds are already outside (and I didn’t collect seeds from all these). Oh!! Violets.
3 days ago