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December is the perfect time for growing Maine native plants from seed

“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” 
—Henry David Thoreau 

Does it seem a little cold and early for sowing seeds? While that may be the case for vegetables and annuals, this is exactly when our native plants go dormant and disperse their seed in nature. For more information on why fall is the best time to sow seeds, click here for our November blog post

In-person workshops

If you’re looking for something fun to do with your friends and family in the coming weeks, come join Maine Audubon and Wild Seed Project for an introduction to native seed sowing. In these hands-on workshops, Maine Audubon & Wild Seed Project Staff will lead a presentation of all aspects of native seed propagation. The classes will begin outside with a walk to identify native plants and demonstrate ecologically-responsible seed collecting, before moving inside to teach seed storing and seed sowing.  Each participant will leave with several pots sown with Maine native seeds.

The workshops are being offered at the following times and locations:

When: Saturday, December 10, 2022, 9 am – 12 pm 
Location: Gilsland Farm, Falmouth, ME

When: Saturday, December 17, 2022, 9 am – 12 pm
Location: Fields Pond, Holden, ME

When: Saturday, January 7, 2023, 9 am – 12 pm 
Location: Gilsland Farm, Falmouth, ME

Winter Seed Sowing Kit
Winter Seed Sowing Kit, collaboration with Wild Seed Project, to sow seeds over the winter, in a kit that has soil, pots, seed

Seed Sowing Kits

Can’t make it to a workshop? Looking to share what you have already learned?  Maine Audubon & Wild Seed Project are once again offering native plant seed sowing kits available for purchase online or at the Nature Store. Each kit provides a link to a short instructional video to show you why and how to grow your own native plants from seeds, using the supplies provided in the bag. Choose from Sunny Dry, Sunny Wet, or Shady seeds. 

To purchase the 2022 Fall Seed Sowing Kit for yourself and for others on your list:

  • Shop online here (purchase online for pick-up at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth/Greater Portland
  • Visit a Maine Audubon Nature Store at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth or Fields Pond in Holden/Greater Bangor (call ahead to Fields Pond at 207-989-2591 to be sure kits are in stock).
New England Aster (<em>Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)</em>. Artwork by Jada Fitch.
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). Artwork by Jada Fitch.

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT: One of the species included in the Sunny-Wet seed sowing kit is the New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). This a darling of fall natives. A pollinator magnet, it produces a riot of daisy-like blue to purple, and sometimes pink, flowers with yellow centers from late summer to early fall. It’s naturally found in meadows, but thrives in poor and disturbed soils often growing along roadsides and edgeland environments. Reaching 3-6’ in height, it’s a great plant for the back of the garden, or if you have hungry groundhogs like we do at Gilsland Farm, it may only reach 2-3’ in height. This is one of the primary sources of nectar for Monarch butterflies in the fall as they prepare for their journey south to Mexico.