Tom's Blog

Monday, September 22, 2008

The latest at Goose Pond and Black Earth

Saturday we had another fine day collecting seeds at Goose Pond. It was an interesting group, some novices and some old hands. My photo here does not show the whole group, just those who were collecting with us at a special prairie. This was a three-year-old planting which had been especially planted to emphasize dry mesic prairie plants. There was little grass, which made it lots easier to collect.

We collected tall cinquefoil (Potentilla arguta) and Canada milk vetch (Astragalus canadensis). Both were really ready to collect. The cinquefoil in particular just poured out of the seed heads into the collecting bucket. There was a real lot of it to collect, and two large garbage cans were full by the time we had finished.

Two students in the group were taking a course at U.W. Madison that required participation in a volunteer project. Since they liked the outdoors, they choose Madison Audubon. Neither had collected seeds before but it doesn't take long to learn.

Sunday Kathie and I led a seed collecting group of 8 people at Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie. This State Natural Area is only 16 acres, but really high quality acres. There we collected a large variety of seeds, including wood lily (a Rettenmund Prairie specialty), short green milkweed, butterfly milkweed, naked sunflower, flowering spurge, big bluestem, rosin weed, compass plant, coreopsis, and a few others. For this sort of collecting, you need to carry two buckets and in addition have some empty bags, both small and large.

At the end of three hours we had a very satisfying array of seeds. They are now drying in the barn, and will then be cleaned and stored until planting in November.


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