Welcome to the beginning of our seed farm.
We are happy farmers on a plot of farmland generously lent to us by the Norwell Conservation Commission. We are wildflower seed farmers and although this is a new endeavor we are quickly adding to the land. By farming wild collected native seed we can increase the supply of wild seed to meet the demand without over-harvesting seed in the wild.
We are stewards of this farmland, with the goal for us to keep it farmland for future generations. This requires occasional mowing (or a controlled burn which we will avoid as it's a residential area and the property contains poison ivy), as most New England meadows will revert to forest if given a little time. Mowing keeps woody species down. Our plan is to keep the area that is not yet farmed as meadow with a three year mowing plan, moving only 1/3 of that meadow each year. This allows the other 2/3 to go to seed and host wildlife.
All of the plants we are farming here were grown by us from locally collected seed.
About the Seed Farm
Our seed farm is located in Norwell, Massachusetts. Although we are not open to the public we will have occasional tours.
Our seed that we farm is all collected from locally wild populations, making it "local eco-type". We have permission from several Conservation Commissions and owners of private land to collect wild seed. We do so only as needed and in keeping with a commitment to good genetic diversity. We aim to participate in an "honest harvest".. In addition, we don't sell the seeds we collect from the wild, those are used to grow plants to harvest their seed.
Our seed is mainly grown for our own nursery to use, but each autumn we also package some seed to share. Our long term goal is to also be able to also share seed with non-profit organizations whose aim is to protect native plants communities.
Ready to purchase seeds? You can visit us in person or in the link below. Please note that building. a seed farm takes time so for the 2022 season several of the seeds we carry are not local ecotype. There's a different range but often from cultivated plants with specific unknown origin (not cultivars).
Although we, in New England, could easily ship in seed from California or Florida for species native to New England...these seeds would be adapted to the climate of their original source. Boston weather might be a bit of a surprise. We are in ecotype 59: Northeastern Coastal Zone. So we collect within this region. A map for a more detailed summary of ecotype can be found here.
As we farm this seed we have several goals we aim for. These are well established goals within the native seed farming community. Our goal is to have at least 200 plants within a species collected from at least 3 "parent" communities. Roughly every 5 years we will till under and replant. These are goals we are aspiring to and as you can imagine this takes time to build.
So far we’ve been tracking what species are growing wild, removed many of the invasive species such as autumn olive, multiflora rose, and purple loosestrife.
In building planting beds we mowed and laid down bio cloth (thick landscape fabric) for about 6 months. After rolling up this fabric (to reuse elsewhere) we rolled out ram board. This thick paper can be found in the flooring section of Home Depot and is a great option for us to keep weeds down. This will break down over time but we are planting densely so hopefully we will then be able to naturally keep weeds away. After pinning down the ram board, we drilled holes straight through it for ease of planting the small plants we first grew off-site.
Our first harvest: Houstonia caerula (bluets).