On June 6th and 7th, the Aspetuck Land Trust hosted their first native plant sale pickup at Gilbertie’s Organic Farm in Easton, Connecticut. This sale marks the culmination of two years worth of partnership and careful curating among botanists, farmers, nursery growers, and conservationists. The Ecotype Project of CT NOFA (The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut) is delighted to announce that their first round of “wild-collected seed, locally grown plants” was sold out at this event in just five days. Many thanks go to Ecotype Project partners, Planter’s Choice Nursery and Highstead Arboretum.*
There are now 176 more ecotype pollinator habitat “way-stations” along Aspetuck’s Green Corridor. 3700 ecotype plugs and 371 native shrubs and trees were distributed to native plant stewards across Ecoregion-59.
Each ecotype species sold was the offspring of seed wild-collected by expert botanists from our region and represents the local genetics of the native plants from our region. Being truly “from here” means these plants have the best chance of persisting in our environment and adding resilience to our local ecosystem for years to come. Aspetuck Land Trust’s sale followed two weeks after the Wilton High School championed the Ecotype Project with the sale and distribution of over 5,000 ecotypes into backyards and conservation sites across Connecticut and Massachusetts.
“A single species of plant will have different genetic information based on the environment it evolved in. These plants are from seeds harvested from local native plants. By planting these gardens, you will help these local plants thrive- not to mention, our lovely pollinators!
Simply plant, and watch the magic unfold.” – Mary Ellen Lemay- Director of Landowner Engagement – Aspetuck Land Trust.
To help the customers understand how many plugs to purchase as well as how to implement, The Aspetuck Land Trust devised a plug-and-plant system complete with planting plans and directions of how to implement ecotypes on your landscape. Two of the offered packages for the ecotypes were the Pollinator Garden Kit and the Mailbox Garden Kit. ** To support gardeners who are unfamiliar with “plug planting,” Planter’s Choice Nursery worked with the Ecotype Project to create how-to instructions for gardeners.
The Pollinator Garden Kit
Designed for a 5’ x 10’ space and included one flat of 32 plugs.
The Mailbox Garden Kit
Designed for 4’ x 4’ space as a perfect fit for the Aspetuck Land Trusts Green Corridor Partner mailbox signs and included half a flat of 16 plugs.
This plant sale directly supported the efforts of the Green Corridor Initiative of the Aspetuck Land Trust, which is creating “a 40,000-acre Green Corridor that will extend through Fairfield, Westport, Weston, Easton, Wilton, and Redding. “The Green Corridor will protect, connect, and improve the ecological health of our region for all people and wildlife.” To all that purchased plants at this sale, thank you for helping to fortify our collective ecological corridor!
CT NOFA is following in the footsteps of some leading conservation and farming organizations across the country championing “local ecotypes” in nursery crops and is proud to bring this forward-thinking movement to fruition in Connecticut. Join the Ecotype Project here and stay apprised of future Ecotype Project plant sales and events.
*Funding for the Ecotype Project has been provided by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program of the Agricultural Marketing Service, US Dept of Agriculture, awarded and administered by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.
**Drawings, planting plans & tables from Paige Lyons of Aspetuck Land Trust.
The Aspetuck Land Trust
Native/ Ecotype Plant Sale at Gilbertie’s Organic Farm in Easton, Connecticut
June 6th and 7th 2020