MicroNursery Program

MicroNursery AKA
‘The Props Department’

Sometimes native plants are hard to find – but you can grow them yourself, and we need your help! We winter-sow native plants for sale on a Pay-What-You-Can basis at seasonal Plant Sales in the spring and in the fall, to help make plants more accessible and help fund our programs.

A photo of a plant sale. Several folding tables full of small pots of various kinds of native plants.

Understanding Winter Sowing

Native plants have evolved to cope with the intense pressures of Canadian Winters. Seeds grow and form in the warm seasons, but then they don’t germinate until springtime – how do they handle five months of frozen nonsense? Understanding this is how we get them to grow.

Seeds native to cold climates evolved a tactic called Dormancy – essentially, they sleep until they feel that the winter has passed, and THEN they start the growing process. If they don’t feel the winter passing, they don’t break dormancy.

In the wild, seeds fall to the ground; they get wet in autumn rain, then frozen with frost, then thawed out and wet again; eventually they freeze, and get buried under snow; then they just hang out frigid for several months, until spring approaches, does a bunch more freezing and thawing, melts the snow into more water, and then brings out the sun. The three most important parts of this process to the seeds are:

  • That it’s cold
  • That it’s moist
  • That it takes time.

Learn about how to harness this evolutionary process to grow your own native habitat plants above!