News article

Native Seed Sowing 2020

Seed sowing is usually a communal Friday morning activity, but needs must!! Since Christmas we have been busy collecting native seed around the property (and that has been a Friday morning volunteer activity until lockdown) – firstly the grasses – e.g toetoe (Astroderia richardii), red tussock (Chionochloa rubra) and Carex (Carex secta). Our diligent volunteers collected lots of those species before lockdown and helped clean the seeds (ie pulled or shook the seeds off stalks into bags). Then the fleshy fruited plants like wineberry (Aristotelia serrata) (which even we failed to get this year) and Coprosma’s (eg Coprosma propinqua, Coprosma lucida) and now the capsule seeds like the tiny koromiko (Hebe salicifolia), manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) and the sticky seeded kohuhu (Pittosporum tenuifolium) and lemonwood (Pittosporum eugenioides). Those are just a few of the species we have been collecting. Now its time to sow the seeds – so I have started doing that this week – photos below. For the plants we want a lot of in the nursery, we sow into larger trays, sprinkle onto the surface of potting mix and cover with a layer of pea gravel (or more potting mix).

For a lot more detail of what, when and how to collect and sow seeds go to the following link

Once you have sowed your seed we recommend you make some shadecloth covers (to keep cats off!) and leave them outside for winter so that they get rained on (we dont recommend putting into tunnelhouses as they then need to be watered every few days over winter). A future article will cover the structures we recommend for setting up your own community nursery (they dont need to be complicated or expensive).

Here at the Community Nursery we are specialising in those natives that grow naturally in Southland. There are a few interlopers we don’t want in Southland like Coprosma robusta, Hoheria sexstylosa or Pseudopanax laetum as they can displace our local Southland flora. Please don’t collect just any seed even if it’s a native. I know it sounds pedantic to some but its like looking after sparrows instead of kereru and if we want kereru to prosper, we need to look after them (the sparrows can look after themselves!).

To see photos and descriptions of any of the plant species, the best place to go is to the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN) website and search for the species (that’s where the scientific name comes in handy, as many plants have a number of common names, but you can still look up common names too).

We are happy to discuss and assist with any plant queries so feel free to email.

Bronwyn will be doing a number of Facebook stories around children’s activities while in lockdown.

Chris and Brian