Free flower seeds just for the asking! Lake County residents can become part of the worldwide effort to help boost bees and other pollinators by stopping in at the USDA building on the south side of Ronan.
All the work to figure out what to plant, how to plant, where to plant, to encourage pollinators — a keystone to the future of agriculture, and most plant life for that matter — has been done for you. Now all you need is a little cleared soil and the sweet April rains to grow a vibrant bee haven.
Lauren Odom, environmental science volunteer (through Americorps) for Lake County Conservation District, and Heidi Fleury, Conservation Coordinator, have worked with the NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) to evaluate what seeds do best on what types of sites, and to purchase non-invasive and native plant seed for the Lake County Pollinator Initiative.
Packets of five different mixes are available for free to all Lake County residents. Lauren and Heidi will help you decide between them based on your site and desires for your place. The conservation/pasture mix is for areas with established grass and other cover, sites that are not easy to prepare with exposed soil. The forest mix is for shady areas. An annual mix helps establish a cover crop for gardens that are expected to be tilled in at a later date. There is a mix of all native seed (the “Pollinator” mix), and the “Bee-autiful” all-around flower seed mix.
APRIL IS the best time, say Lauren and Heidi, to plant flower seeds, as the soil is moist, and the rains help move the seeds down into the soil to just the right depth for best germination. For most mixes, the flowers grow most successfully if you clear and prepare a bare soil bed.
The District sponsored two workshops related to pollinators. “Bees and Blooms” was held last Saturday, April 13. “Huckleberries and Pollinators” was on tap Wednesday, April 17 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Johnny Arlee/Victor Charlo Theatre at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo.
More information on seeds and workshops can be found at lakecountyconservationdistrict.org, or by contacting Lake County Conservation District at 406-676-2811, ext. 102, or firstname.lastname@example.org.