How to protect and locate seeds in a crowded garden?
November 14, 2020 1:14 PM   Subscribe

How do you protect seeds in a crowded garden from being trampled or buried under mulch?

I built a busy garden in my back yard. It's on a 8' deep rockery and I have tons of plants on there, many close together. Walking through requires careful stepping on rocks, bricks, etc. due to density. Kneeling can be hard.

I like to plant small clusters of annual seeds in spring to fill gaps, but between animals digging, mulch shifting, and me stepping on them, the seeds often get completely lost, buried, or trampled.

I have tried a couple solutions to mark/protect seeds, but they weren't really good enough. I cut the top 2" ring from plastic pots and buried it, but it's not sturdy. I also have tried wire hoops, which works ok but not well enough.

How do other people solve this??
posted by zvs to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It would help to know what plants are in your garden. Seed collecting depends a lot on the plant and how it produces seeds - tomato vs strawberry vs cilantro vs milkweed vs violet, etc.
posted by shoesietart at 1:29 PM on November 14

I use a thin layer of chicken grit from the local Agway equivalent. It makes the spots easy to find in the spring. So far I can attest it works for stinking hellebore and for butterfly weed. Next year, I'm going big time: carrots.

Sand would probably work as well but shifts more and doesn't offer any nutritional value. I think chicken grit has at least some calcium.

I also use a cheap ($10) woodburning tool to label some spots w/small stakes that just say 'seeds' but that's mainly because it's fun to space out while doing it. This is the first year I'm doing that.

This stuff is for overwintered seeds but I think it would work regardless.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:53 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]

Seed mats. Start indoors, water until germinated, place in desired area and continue watering until they've taken root. You can find them in spring in most hardware stores and year round anywhere that stocks hydroponic growing supplies.
posted by givennamesurname at 3:20 PM on November 14 [3 favorites]

You can get steel or pvc landscape flags from lots of places (eg lowes).

The field ecologists I work with often use this type of thing to mark plants and points of interest over winter or for a season or so, and I find them useful to mark various things around my gardens.

If you need to mark for longer maybe you need a different strategy, like painting on larger rocks etc.
posted by SaltySalticid at 3:28 PM on November 14

> animals digging,

My wife uses a temporary overlayer of chickenwire to protect newly planted seeds from Team Squirrel. After a week or so, the dirt doesn't look disturbed and the squirrels are no longer interested.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:59 AM on November 15

Seed balls
posted by flabdablet at 5:06 AM on November 16

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