A bumblebee approaching light purple colored flower
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Bumblebees and Seeds

I never realized how much I did not know about bumblebees. And, this week I started going through the seeds that I collected and chose several that I want to test. I really wanted to test the pepper seeds that I collected to see if the seed was viable.

Greetings fellow gardeners,  

Bumblebee Photo (by: Danny Kingsbury)

On Saturday, January 8, I had the opportunity to attend (virtually) the Toronto Master Gardeners’ technical update.

Bumblebee Recommended Reading

The first speaker was Dr. Sheila Colla who is the co-author of Bumblebees of North America. Her topic was ‘The Role of Grassroots Movements in Pollinator Conservation’.  I never realized how much I did not know about bees and bumblebees! A few years ago, I had joined the Bumblebee Watch and this Saturday I went in search of my membership. This year I am going to make a point of photographing the bumblebees that visit my garden and send the photos to Bumblebee Watch. It is a fascinating project, why not check it out?(https://www.bumblebeewatch.org/).

The second speaker was Cole Burrell, author of Perennial Combinations, whose topic was ‘A Gardener’s Primer to Understanding Nature’s Cycles and Flows’. He lives in Virginia, USA with a landscaping and travel tour business. His take on ecology mirrors my own and I thoroughly enjoyed his in-depth explanations of how a garden works.

The third speaker was Rebecca McMackin whose topic was Brooklyn Bridge Park: Lessons in Built Ecology. They took 85 acres of shoreline and concrete in 2000 and now it is an amazing and thriving park that is open to the public. It was a very productive meeting.

Thoughts on Seeds

This week I started going through the seeds that I collected and chose several that I want to test. I really wanted to test the pepper seeds that I collected to see if the seed was viable. To do this I went about trying to track down my potting soil. Note to self: if you store your soil outside, it will freeze as solid as a brick. So, in comes the soil to thaw out.

I found several containers, filled them with the soil and left them on the kitchen counter to warm. You do not want to plant your seeds into cold earth. The too-many cats were very interested in the pots of earth, so I had to move quickly to get them into my plant compound. I am putting a few seeds in each container to see what happens. 

Pimento pepper seeds held in the palm of a hand
  Pimento pepper seeds

Seed Suppliers

I am also trying to collect some more interesting seed companies to share with you. The first one is Northern Wildflowers https://northernwildflowers.ca/ . This is a catalogue of native wildflowers from Northern Ontario. A fellow Master Gardener recommended it to me, and I think it is truly worth a look.

The second interesting site I would like to share is https://goodfoodgarden.ca/. There are seeds, bedding plants, workshops and more. As they are based in Vankleek Hill, I think a field trip is in order. I am always looking for new and interesting seed outlets although the latest seed catalogue that I received from OSC is beautiful. I am really enjoying it.

The weekend would be a good time to clear off the second shelf of my seed compound, move out the old pots and redo the netting. Of course, I will need to keep feeding the woodstove. The too-many cats like to stay warm. Enjoy your week.  Judith. 

(Email:  sghorticultural@gmail.com

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