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FutureStarrNative plant nursery
Imagine, you are a squatter in a rainforest that is on fire. The humidity is so high, you feel as if you're breathing smoke. Giant, rolling flames that scorch the earth and eat away at the heavens have covered the steaming ground, blocked off your means of escape, and left you without hope.However, many people today want their yards and gardens to include species native to their region in order to provide habitat for native animals, including pollinators, and to function as part of their local ecosystem. This means they don’t want to have landscapes filled with cloned plants produced with poisonous chemicals. This creates the possibility of a niche market for nursery growers who produce native plants that are genetically diverse and free of synthetic chemicals.
Double flowers or other garden traits may appeal to some people, but they lack the genetic diversity, reproductive ability and pollen supply that is necessary for plants and their pollinators to adapt to changing environmental conditions. If we want our gardens to support nature and play a role in preserving local biodiversity, we should include many wild-type native plants and grow them without harmful synthetic chemicals. (Of course if you are growing highbush blueberry or elderberry plants for fruit production, you may want to grow the larger-fruited cultivars.)You don’t need expensive or sophisticated facilities to start propagating native plants. Seeds can be sown outdoors in nursery beds, flats or pots. Native plants are adapted to the fluctuating temperatures of our Maine climate. For many species, outdoor germination is often more successful than germination when seeds are sown in a greenhouse. Seedlings grown outside in good organic potting soil rarely suffer from the pests or damping-off commonly seen in greenhouse-grown plants.
Seeds that need a cold period (stratification) to germinate can be sown outdoors in the fall; seeds that need no pretreatment to germinate can be sown outdoors in early spring. Seeds germinate when conditions are optimum for each species. You will quickly learn which seeds germinate in the cool or frosty temperatures of early spring and which wait until the heat of summer.Along with creating shade, protect your nursery from browsing deer, rabbits and squirrels (particularly if you plan to grow nut trees and shrubs). Deer fencing around the nursery is often necessary to exclude these browsers. To exclude squirrels that dig, attach rabbit wire screening to the bottom of the growing frame and make a wire screen lid for the top. Otherwise, they will dig in the seed flats and make a big mess. If your site is windy, planting a hedge or some other barrier to create a less windy microclimate will help plants get an earlier start in the spring. (Source: www.mofga.org)