Saturday, May 1, 2010

Your local nature preserve needs you


We had a great day today at the Great Swamp Conservancy in Canastota, NY. It was their annual Spring Migration Fest. There was live music, artists demonstrating and selling their work, lots of good food, live animals (from a miniature pony to a wallaby), and an informational reptile show that one of my kids just LOVED. The weather was warm, and our homeschool co-op had a table set up to demonstrate leaf rubbing and making twig frames. We had a number of kids exercise their creativity. And, of course, the nature preserve trails were available to everyone. Do you have a nature preserve near you? Their work is important; maybe you'd consider visiting them to support their work.

In other news, we've got the house partially dismantled so we can get our tiling project done this week. The mess will be worth the results, and I'm excited.

And, best of all, I've started planting out my winter sown seedlings. I LOVE winter sowing. If you've never heard of it, it's a method of starting seeds outdoors, during the winter, which sounds counterintuitive, but it really works. The seeds are sown in recycled containers (such as milk jugs, or 2L soda bottles). No, it's not like getting the ship out of the bottle once the seeds sprout - the containers are cut in half, drainage holes made, several inches of dirt added, seeds sown, and then the top half of the container is taped back on. The mini-greenhouses get set outside in the dead of winter, in a sunny spot like a deck or porch, and they wait for spring. When the weather warms, the seeds sprout in their own good time. Check out www.wintersown.org for more information, or the Winter Sowing forum at www.gardenweb.com. I had about 70% germination this year - not as good as usual for me, because I used a lot of older seed I acquired before our move. With fresh seed, the rate can be 80-90%.