Soil Prep for Fall Sowing

misterpatrick(4)October 20, 2012

Hello all,

I have a collection of seeds that I'm planning on fall sowing. It's a mix of sun/shade border seeds from Prairie Moon. This will be on the edge of my woods that I've been rehabing for the last two years. My question is this. For fall sowing, should I rake all the leaves out, broadcast the seed, then put the leaves back? Or maybe run over the leaves a few times with my lawnmower to mulch them up then put them back which is how I mulch my garden. I have a lot of oak, elderberry and other trees in the woods so plenty of leaves and I don't want to just broadcast onto the leaves.

How much do I need to loosen the soil before broadcast?

Any other tips? I have also saved a bunch of my Jack-in-the-Pulpit seed - I still haven't cleaned them off. Should I hand plant those or broadcast?

Finally, right now we getting some warm temps again, so when would the best time temp wise be for planting. We're getting down to 30F or so at night. But for the coming week looks like highs in the 60's and lows in the 40's.


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I don't clean the Jack seeds unless I am saving to share. At home I just make a small slit in the soil with my Japanese knife (everyone should get one of these!)..and drop the uncleaned seed in. I get good results. I have also done that for Panax and Trillium.

If I am just going to broadcast, I scrape the leaves off and scratch the surface a little, put the seeds down and usually put just a few crushed dry leaves over the seeds...but not much. I never just toss the seeds out unless I have tons of seeds and need to get rid of them.

Most everything else I winter sow in the plastic containers, such as the milk jugs they talk about on the winter sowing forum. They really work for me! Anything that needs stratification needs to be planted by Jan. to get those months of cold, and some need two years, so I can just leave them in the jugs...which also provide shelter for items that are tall but not quite strong enough to be put out in the woods.

Right now I have Franklinias that will overwinter in their extra large jug that came from cat litter. I hope I can pot these up next spring. I have heard they are easy to germinate but not to grow out in the landscape.

Hope this helps. I have really enjoyed my seed projects the last five years...easy gardening for an old lady!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 7:24PM
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