Ask a Question forum: How to sow seeds in spring with regards to pre-existing mulch (Minnesota zone 4)

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Marine on St. Croix, MN (zone
Levijoseph
Feb 10, 2018 5:46 PM CST
This is a "newbie" question, just bought a home and I'm hoping to spread some seeds this spring (poppies, columbine, coneflower, cosmos, zinnia, etc). Last fall, I planted a bunch of bulbs (daffodil, tulip, allium, hyacinth) and covered the beds with a layer of raked leaves followed by a thin layer of pine bark mulch. So, this spring, I was planning on raking mulch into piles, spreading seeds, and re-applying mulch. Will this prevent my plants from germinating (I believe some require light)?

Also, are there any zone 4 flowers that you recommend starting indoors opposed to sowing directly in flower beds?

Thank you!
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Feb 11, 2018 8:47 AM CST
Levi - are you planning on broadcasting the seed in that area for a mixed effect or planning on individual plants? IMO, the mulch (while a good idea) will inhibit good seed germination. Have you thought about starting the seeds indoor and then planting out in the spring?
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Feb 13, 2018 10:08 AM CST
Levijoseph said:This is a "newbie" question, just bought a home and I'm hoping to spread some seeds this spring (poppies, columbine, coneflower, cosmos, zinnia, etc). Last fall, I planted a bunch of bulbs (daffodil, tulip, allium, hyacinth) and covered the beds with a layer of raked leaves followed by a thin layer of pine bark mulch. So, this spring, I was planning on raking mulch into piles, spreading seeds, and re-applying mulch. Will this prevent my plants from germinating (I believe some require light)?

Absolutely do not spread mulch on top of seeds!
How thick is the mulch now?
It might be possible to sow the seeds on top of the existing mulch... if it isn't real thick... otherwise... I would leave the mulch alone, and prepare a different area for the seeds...
It's important to remember that all those bulbs will produce a lot of foliage which must not be removed as long as it is green... the foliage will make it difficult or impossible for the seedlings to get enough light...

Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
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sallyg
Feb 14, 2018 6:24 AM CST
I agree,yes, probably that mulch is too loose for good seed growing. That is mostly the reason for mulch- weed seeds don't grow well under it.

I think your poppy and columbine seeds need a cold period(stratification) to grow.If you rake up mulch and sow now, these might sprout. Shorter, early spring bloom, so put those in front. The conelflower, being perennial,may not bloom this year. Cosmos, and most zinnia, are tall summer flowering annual. Wait until bulbs are up, then if there is room,remove mulch and plant those in back.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Feb 15, 2018 7:41 AM CST
Im unfamiliar with Pine bark mulch, but believe the acid will keep allmost any seeds from sprouting.

The leaves (good addition) have formed a barrier for winter weed's, they should be tilled under come planting time. Butt ! You have bulbs, you don't want to destroy.
Not to worry 😀!!! When ready to plant seeds. Rack areas that you want to plant down to the soil. Plant seeds, In ground.

DON'T ! cover seeds with mulch or leaves.

Leaves can be replaced after plants get growing.

Depending on how thick layer of leaves are, your bulbs may not be able to penetrate the layer of leaves. Since the leaves get wet and form a mat like barrier.
Dig around a bit, to see if any are trying to come up yet. Im in warmer zone than you, but my crocus and daffodils have been blooming for over a week.

All the flower seeds you mentioned, can be broadcasted and just racked into soil, to plant.

Some pictures, both far and close, would really be helpful, and your plans, rows or broadcasted.

Get back to us.
Do you have any place to make a mulch pile ???

Philip
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Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

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