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Plant rain then seed to vegetate your rain gardens for FREE with Brad Lancaster

This video is about how you can vegetate your yard, neighborhood, school grounds, and more for FREE by planting seed of desired multi-use native plants after planting rain.

If you do this at the beginning of the rainy season/growing season and you get at least average rains that season your chances for success are very good. And you likely will not ever need to irrigate the plants if you first plant the rain, so the seeds and resulting seedlings get direct rainfall AND additional runoff water that runs off adjoining surfaces to the planting(s). Depending on the rains, you may also have good success if you do this after the rainy season is well on its way and the rains are good.

If you do this in a drought year, and the seed germinates with the rain, but then no more rain comes, you could give the seedling supplemental irrigation as needed.

A big advantage of planting by seed where you want the plant to grow in the ground is that the plants’ roots will never be hemmed in by a planting pot, so the roots will grow deeper and wider than they likely would if transplanted from a planting pot. This will make for plants that are more drought resistant and better anchored in the soil and thus more resistant to high winds.

As many other plants’ seed will likely be germinating with the rains, chances of your seedling being eaten will be greatly reduced because there will be so many other plants/meals to choose from. But if the risk of predation or trampling is high where you plant, you could put up some protective fencing around the seedlings. If a lot of weed seed also germinates around your seedling, pull those weeds so your seedling won’t be mistaken for a weed, nor will it have to compete with the weeds.

NOTE: in this video I plant the seed in a spot with a lot of mulch, but I find I have much more success if I plant by seed when there is NO mulch. Mulch can be added later after the plant is of good size (at least a foot tall).

More info and photos of planting native seed with the rains:

The idea is to create water-harvesting earthworks that plant the rain, then plant multi-use vegetation, which once established will be able to live on just the passively harvested rain—no supplemental irrigation with costly imported waters.

The more desired beneficial vegetation you get growing in your yard, neighborhood, watershed—the more resilient and diverse its living seed bank becomes! When we started in our neighborhood we had to collect almost all seed for desired native plants from outside the neighborhood. Now that we have some much growing from our replanting efforts, most of our seed can be collected within the neighborhood (but we still keep on introducing additional species of multi-use natives to further enhance the diversity). Wildlife, water, and wind then all help to further disperse that seed enhancing more of the larger watershed.

For more info on the community water harvesting and native food forestry work check out:

Neighborhood Food Forestry