January Notes 2018

As you can probably tell from my posts, the biggest reason I garden (other than the fact that I just like it) is to support a healthy ecosystem. After the devastating shock of finding out that many of the seeds I’ve been planting in my garden might not be too good for local natural communities, I’ve come to the decision it’s time to move on. For now, I’ve decided I’m not going to tear up everything I’ve done and start over. That would probably be ridiculous. The seeds have been planted. Established plants if maybe not the best are doing something. If anything, they aren’t the worst. They aren’t classified as invasive and they feed and shelter many animals. Maybe not the specialists but at least a large variety of generalists and maybe occasionally even some specialists.

On the other hand I’ve decided not to keep on doing what I’ve been doing which is buying native seeds that aren’t of a local ecotype. Instead, in order to do what I’m trying to do which is support a diversity of life while also supporting my immediate needs while also inspiring others, I’m going to practise a strategy of multiple methods. For now, this strategy will be as follows:

  1. Buying native plants locally that are grown from local native plants while keeping a few things in mind:
    • Make sure the plant isn’t the same species I already have growing.
    • Grow things that will spread but aren’t too weedy.
    • Grow plants that I can easily propagate from one plant so I don’t end up spending more than necessary.
  2. Collecting local native seed when possible and with permission.
  3. Continuing to study plants that come up in my garden on their own and allowing many to grow and self propagate. These are the wild naturally occurring plants that most likely work successionally to heal the land while supporting life.
  4. Grow some non natives such as herbs, annuals and maybe some perennials that have a good track record for providing ecological services without causing ecological harm.
  5. Grow food for my immediate needs. Since most of these types of plants require soil amendments as well as repeated cultivation, I think it’s good to alternate these areas with perennial areas that can hold and filter any runoff resulting from cultivation.
  6. And I will continue to face the new challenges that come my way. Ecological gardening is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard knowing what’s the “right” thing to do. So, I’ll be continuing my search for reliable, science based information to learn from. Sources like:
    1. Awkward Botany 
    2. The Prairie Ecologist
    3. In Defense of Plants
    4. The Field Guides Podcast
    5. The Native Plant Podcast
    6. And the many other sources listed in the sidebar of my blog.

Also, in order to learn more about natural communities I’m planning to write more about them. I think I’ll start with different wetlands.

Crackers and water for whoever gets there in time.

So, on to more exciting things like weather! I admit to being a wimp in cold weather and it’s so COLD out. The wind is whipping. I’m feeling for the animals (or anyone stuck in it) like the squirrels and rabbits and birds getting blown around. How do they survive in it? I found some old crackers with lots of grains and seeds that I put out on a log for the same squirrels who probably snacked up my tomatoes. I’ve also been filling the garbage can lid/bird bath with hot water but it doesn’t stay water for long. But I’m glad it’s cold because it’s suppose to be cold and I can wear my new snow pants. But for all those who have to drive, I won’t wish for snow. (Even though it would be nice and pretty for awhile)

Happy New Year!