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Spring Means Freshly Tilled Soils

As cliché as spring can be with people going on about the birds singing and flowers blooming, my favorite part of this season is stepping outside and enjoying the smells that have erupted from seemingly nowhere all winter long. My favorite springtime aroma is that of freshly tilled soil. I am never sure if it is the actual smell that I like or if it’s what this scent evokes that I like so much. To me, this smell has always been associated with a fresh start, new beginnings and the hope...

Fall Harvest is Upon Us near Glyndon, Minnesota

combineThe harvest season is upon on once again and we are working in full force here on the Bluestem Farm near Glyndon, Minnesota. Harvest season usually consist of harvesting native grasses and forbs on our farm but this year, we are harvesting an additional 550 acres off site. This additional seed that is being collected will be used to enhance existing prairies and create new ones throughout western Minnesota. The process of collecting a large volume of seed is not easy and takes the right equipment and experience. Each day our...

How Can We Save the Monarch Butterfly Populations in Minnesota? Part 3 of Our Interview with Prairie Restorations Inc.

EastmanParkMonarch (2)Editor’s Note: In Part 1 and Part 2 of this interview with Janna Jonely, our Director of Retail Operations, we talked with her about pollinator conservation and potential solutions to their disappearing habitats. In this final segment we asked her specifically about monarch butterflies and planting milkweed. Question: What’s all the fuss about milkweed, and how can we help the monarch butterflies? Answer: Certainly. And I just bring this up because it obviously has received a lot of attention recently....

How Can We Protect Threatened Pollinators? Minnesota Bee & Pollinators Solutions! Part 2 of Our Interview with ‎Janna Jonely, Director of Retail Operations at Prairie Restorations, Inc.

shoreline pondEditor’s Note: In Part 1 of this interview, Janna Jonely, Director of Retail Operations, discusses pollinator conservation and conditions that threaten their survival. Continuing with the interview, she talks about possible solutions. Question: We’ve talked about the threats to pollinators. What is the solution to our problem here, and how would you define the problem? Answer:The problem is the habitat doesn’t exist, and so we have to build new habitat. Basically what it boils down to is the wilderness that is left in this part...

Native Seed Harvesting Has Begun

Bagged SeedThe Boreal Natives’ seed department has started collecting seed for the 2015 season. We kicked off our season picking some woodland grasses in the middle of July. Moving from the woods to the wetlands, we have started and will continue to pick sedges as they ripen. The past two weeks have been very busy for us, combining Poverty oat grass (Danthonia spicata) last week in northeastern MN and this week Blue joint (Calamagrostis canadensis) in Central MN. The fields look...

Native Orchids of Minnesota

Purple Fringed OrchidPurple Fringed OrchidI have had the opportunity to come across a few orchids while harvesting seed. I have seen two different species on the Princeton farm. One species, Spiranthes cernua, Nodding ladies-tresses, was found in our wet basin’s about three years ago and I have not seen it there since. This year, I found Platanthera lacera, Ragged fringed orchid, in the ditch adjacent to our Indian grass field. Both of these orchids commonly grow in the Anoka...

Western Prairie Fringed Orchid – Look But Don’t Touch

prairie fringed orchadI am truly blessed with the job I have at Prairie Restorations Inc., Bluestem Farm as Native Seed Production Manager. Every Fourth of July our nation celebrates its independence with celebrations and fireworks. After the fourth I begin my quest to observe one of Mother Nature’s fireworks – Platanthera praeclara (western prairie fringed orchid) – a stunning wildflower. On September 28, 1989 Western Prairie Fringed Orchid was placed on the U.S. List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Bluestem Farm has a resident...

Red -Berried Elders a Great Shade-Tolerant Shrub

RBEIn the Duluth area where our Boreal Natives production site is located, this is the time of year when we start to see signs of a common understory shrub, Sambucus racemosa, or the red-berried elder. This plant is common throughout most of the state, though there are a few counties on the western edge of Minnesota that it does not occur. Usually found growing in the shade of hardwoods, it can also be found with conifers. This shrub is shade tolerant; we find it growing along...

Importance of Natives & Diversity

walmart 010 (2)I had recently taken a trip to northern Minnesota to our family cabin. It isn’t located on a lake, but 1.5 miles back into the woods. Peace and quiet – nature at its best. The land consists of multiple acres that contain oak savannas, mature oak forest, wetlands, and creeks. There are also multiple lakes in the area. A lot of this area has minimal disturbance and is about 99.9% native vegetation cover. I have grown to appreciate pieces of property like this as I know their importance...

Wrapping Up End of Year Projects

PluggingIIOur fall “push” is upon us and we are all very busy seeding and planting before the ground freezes and the snow begins to fly. It is always fun to look back on what we as a team here at PRI have accomplished so far this season: • Many pounds of seed have been harvested, processed, mixed and packed for our various customers. • Thousands of plants/shrubs were grown from seed for us to sell and use to enhance our own restoration projects. • Hundreds...