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Ready, Set, Sow...But First...

October 28, 2019

By: Barb Holtz

For many folks, autumn is garden clean up time. Snip dead bloom heads (WAIT! - those dead heads hold savory bird seed snacks!) Rake the leaves. (Actually, better to leave them - Put Down the Rake.) Or maybe you're planting bulbs and placing mums on your stoop. Whatever your fall garden routine, if you plan on sowing native seed, now isn't the time to hang up your tools.

Before any seeds leave your hand, the seeding site must be prepped. Do it now. October is the perfect month to rid an area of weeds and other plant debris to ready a spot for sowing. Mulch or bare, untilled soil is the goal.

Once your plot is prepared and you have seed in hand, sow away. WAIT! While many native species require a cold period for spring germination, restrain that need to sow for just a bit. We're all too familiar with lingering summer temperatures in these parts. Hold on until at least late November when we've had a good frost or two under our belts before tossing and tickling the seed into the soil. Heck, you can even wait until after it snows! No problem releasing seed onto a dusting of the white stuff. The freeze and thaw of winter perfectly pushes seed just far enough under the surface for optimum seed to soil contact.

October is the "Ready" time of ready, set, sow. Let the green shoots of late spring dance in your head as you ready the bed for your seeds' long winter nap.

This bed still needs some work before I sow seeds late this fall. While the area is free from cover, I'll sift through the top layer for root leftovers. I may cover this area with thick newspaper then top with shredded mulch.
The end result will look like this mulch bed. This plot is ready for Lanceleaf Coreopsis come consistently cold weather.

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