Every year, BHM spends a significant amount of time collecting seeds from native prairie plants in our area (LaGrange and Steuben Counties). The collection locations are typically places on which we work (or have worked). Other times, we are granted permission to collect on non-BHM affiliated sites. You may have heard us talk about collections and ask for help, but wondered what it’s all about.
Why do we collect instead of just buying the seed?
There are many reasons, but some of the easy answers are:
- It’s far less expensive to collect local seed than to purchase it- allowing us to seed more acreage.
- We know the quality of the seed and what we’re planting.
- Seeds collected from local plants contain a local genotype, which means that the plant will be better adapted genetically to the conditions of the area, and more likely to survive. This helps maintain the unique characteristics of the lakes country ecoregion and begin to recover the native landscapes we are starting to lose.
- We enjoy collecting it!
What do we do with the seed?
The seeds that are collected throughout the year are cleaned and stored in Nate’s barn and then used to BHM projects to restore native prairies.
How much seed do we need?
As much as we can get! About 15 pounds of mixed native grass and wildflower is needed to sow one acre of prairie. We are specifically in need of seed for a 108 acres restoration project at Duff Lake Fen in LaGrange County. You can read more about this project in the article Wait For It, in the October 2016 Rustling Grass.
How can you help?
Join us! It’s that simple. Watch for updates via email, Rustling Grass, and our Facebook page for information on where and when we’ll be meeting.
What type of experience is needed?
None! Seed collection isn’t difficult, in fact, young children are frequently part of our team of volunteers. Many seeds are collected by simply popping the seed head off or stripping them off the stem with your hands. Some require a little more persuasion, and for those, we remove the heads with knives. We provide all of the necessary tools.
Many of our volunteers look forward to collection time each year. Our seed collection blitz is usually on Saturdays in October, but we collect throughout the year, whenever the seeds are ready. Depending on the plant, this can range from gathering Lupine seeds in June, to New England Aster in Early November.
Collection time is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the specific plants and their habitats. It’s also a refreshing time to slow down and soak in goodness of Creation.
Please consider joining us as we gather together this year.