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Davy: This Ottawa ‘library’ crops the seeds of a good suggestion

The Ottawa Wildflower Seed Library desires to promote you on the concept of native plant gardening. Here is how.

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Possibly the primary snowfall of the season doesn’t make you consider flowers, however it ought to.

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Now’s the time for winter sowing of native crops and getting free seeds from upcoming occasions hosted by the Ottawa Wildflower Seed Library.

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Native crops are tailored to the freeze-thaw cycle of our fall and spring and want publicity to the chilly stratification this cycle provides them to sprout. Now’s the right time to plant seeds for pure chilly stratification outdoors.

Direct sowing within the floor can work, however the Seed Library recommends reusing clamshell containers such because the clear plastic containers grocery shops promote fruit in. These normally have drain holes in them already and may maintain just a few inches of soil or potting combine and be full of snow after planting. This creates a type of mini greenhouse for germination within the spring. It additionally prevents seeds from blowing away, drying out an excessive amount of, or getting eaten over the winter.

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Even in the event you aren’t going to winter sow, now could be your greatest probability to get free native seeds for native crops. You may mimic the freeze-thaw cycle in your fridge for planting within the spring, however if you wish to get free seeds from the Ottawa Wildflower Seed Library, now could be the time. The library goals to provide all of them away earlier than the tip of December. A listing of seeds, ideas for newbies, and extra details about sowing is accessible right here.

At seed-sharing occasions, the seeds are organized by their most well-liked rising circumstances. Volunteers may help you discover what’s going to develop within the area you may have, whether or not that’s solar, shade, dry, moist or containers on a balcony.

The Seed Library features like an everyday library in that individuals “try” seeds, and persons are requested to “return” seeds to the library after their crops bloom and set seeds. This manner, we redistribute native plant seeds throughout the area and improve the restoration of wholesome ecosystems. Within the final two years, the library has distributed greater than 20,000 seeds of greater than 100 species of native crops to a whole bunch of people and teams in and across the area.

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Founder Mélanie Ouellette says. “We solely settle for ‘straight’ species for donation — no ‘cultivars’ or ‘nativars.’ ”  Some cultivars have extra petals or totally different colors than the unique “straight” species and make it more durable for bugs and different pollinators to get to the nectar they want. Even these which can be labelled “nativars” would possibly present lesser high quality meals sources, and never present appropriate habitat.

Native crops are simple to take care of as a result of they’re tailored to our local weather. Not like sustaining a garden, no mowing or raking is critical. As soon as established, native crops require just about no watering or weeding so they’re much much less work than gardening with non-native crops. Additionally they help wildlife by offering meals and habitat for birds, butterflies, bees and different native pollinators. Launched and modified species displace pure meals sources. Rising native crops may help restore ecosystems and re-establish corridors of habitat for wildlife.

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The Ottawa Wildflower Seed Library might be distributing free seeds for native crops at Springhurst Park from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 26; on the Elmvale Acres department of the Ottawa Public Library from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 3; at Hunt Membership-Riverside Park Group Centre in partnership with the Ottawa South Eco Motion Community (OSEAN) from 1 p.m. to three p.m. on Dec 10; and on the Beaverbrook Group Centre in Kanata from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (1st ground) on Dec. 17. They might not be capable to promote you on the concept of native plant gardening, however they’re giving it away without spending a dime.

Barbara Jane Davy has a PhD in social and ecological sustainability and is the secretary and communications strategist for the Ottawa Wildflower Seed Library.

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