Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds (KSNS) understands that our impact doesn’t stop once our seeds are collected and cleaned. How we package and ship them matters as well. That’s why we’ve invested in eco-friendly, circular packaging that is 100% recycled and recyclable. Learn more.
And we’ve partnered with EcoEnclose for our packaging materials.
We use EcoEnclose mailers that are water resistant for the majority of our orders, and we are switching over to EcoEnclose paper packaging tape to limit the amount of plastic we use, to help reduce waste in landfills.
Our seed packets and seed packet labels are made out of recycled paper material.
Our packing slips are printed on 100% recycled, post-consumer paper.
And our whole operation is run off of solar power from our off-grid location in the Siskiyou Mountains.
Our orders are shipped from the Jacksonville, Oregon post office. Maybe some day we’ll have an electric vehicle powered by solar power to drop our orders off there, but for now we still have a gas powered pickup truck. We are taking the steps we can to be as sustainable as we can, one step at a time.
We are committed to a high ecological standard that limits our impacts to the environment and the climate. Thanks for sharing that commitment with us! -Suzie & Luke
Happy New Year from Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds!
Although we have been collecting and using native seeds for various work and projects in our lives for more than 15 years, 2024 officially marks the 9-years anniversary of Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds (KSNS), and it has been our biggest year so far! We have sold more native seeds and seed packets than ever. Thanks to you and your enthusiasm and passion for native plants, native pollinators, and native habitat, we continue to grow and provide more seeds and more services for increasing native plants. Our work with KSNS also allows us to work for native plant conservation and protection in our spare time as volunteers, or in other work we do with other organizations. We love what we do and we look forward to continuing this work in 2024! Here’s a recap of some of our very busy fall projects.
In November KSNS returned to Troon Vineyard to help sow native seeds collected in the Troon Vineyard Native Plant & Pollinator Botanical Garden, for use in other areas of the vineyard. We also dug up and transplanted more plants out of the gardens for use in additional areas of the vineyard as well, as part of an effort to increase native plant habitat in more areas on the property. While there we used propane torches to burn the small native meadow that is part of the botanical garden. Burning the area helped control non-native seedlings that were starting to germinate in early fall. It also helped remove thatch from last year’s growth, mimicking fire in nature, and creating more space where we sowed additional native seeds for increased diversity in the meadow. Three years from establishment, the meadow is starting to shift from annuals to more perennials, as the perennials grow and start to hold more space in the meadow area.
Even small areas in a backyard can have a big impact for native plant habitat. We recently helped with a small native seeding project in a backyard garden where a small “meadow” strip will be incorporated into existing native and non-native drought tolerant landscaping. The bare soil in the photos was seeded with 30 species of native wildflowers after planting a few potted Roemer’s fescue native grasses among the rocks. The rocks are in place to discourage the friendly deer that live in the area from laying down on the small native seedlings when they start to emerge in the spring. This is a wildlife friendly garden where the deer like to rest.
This native seeding project that took place in November utilized seeds from 38 species of native wildflowers and grasses. The property owner helped sow the seeds, along with her little dog that supervised the project. After the seed sowing was completed a temporary fence was erected to keep the many deer and turkeys in the area from trampling and scratching the seeds and emerging seedlings. The temporary fence will be removed after plant establishment. A very light layer of straw was used to cover this seeded area because of the erosive nature of decomposed granite soil on a slight slope. The straw will help keep the seeds in place during heavy rainstorms, but it will still let enough light through for seeds that require light to germinate.
Who needs a fence to catch errant basketballs on a sport court when you can grow a native hedge for that purpose? As part of a 6-year long native seeding and planting project at Klamath River Club on the Klamath River in northern California, where native plantings and native seeded meadows have been incorporated into many different areas of the property, the recently constructed sport court is no exception. A native hedge with many different species of native shrubs and perennial wildflowers, many grown using KSNS native seeds, has been planted to define the edges of the sport court and provide important native plant and pollinator habitat in an area that had recent ground disturbance. This will also help combat the many non-native species that are trying to move into the disturbed ground. A basketball game while taking in the wonderful scents and colors of the blooming native shrubs will be a lot of fun. This proves that anywhere can be native plant habitat!
Another interesting project we helped with this fall was a project that focused on seeding and planting native plants on berms. The berms were constructed a year prior and were tarped with black plastic to control weeds. The concept is to create layered habitat, with native trees and shrubs in clumps, interspersed with native wildflowers and grasses. Another crew helped with the tree and shrub planting from potted nursery plants, and when they were done, KSNS helped with sowing 44 different species of native seeds, including annual and perennial wildflowers, and a few native bunchgrasses, into the open areas in between the tree and shrub clumps. This layered habitat will allow for a wide variety of pollinators, birds, and other wildlife to utilize the diverse structure and diverse species included in the project area. Tarps will be placed in between the berms this year for continued weed control and possible future seeding to expand the footprint of the native seeding and planting project in future years. The property owner helped sow the wide variety of native seeds, and when done a very light layer of straw was used to hold the seed in place on the berms during heavy winter rain.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are some of the biggest shopping days of the year. The celebration of consumerism results in a huge environmental impact, as most of the “bargain” products are created in ways that harm the environment, and most will eventually end up in the landfill. Whether you boycott Black Friday and Cyber Monday altogether, or commit to purchasing from only reputable sustainable or eco-friendly businesses, there are ways protect the environment and lessen the impacts to our climate during the holiday gift giving season.
In order to promote an alternative to plastic, electronic, or other unsustainable holiday gifts, we are offering a 20% discount (Enter Coupon Code: NATIVESEEDS4THEHOLIDAYS at checkout) on all our native seed packets for orders $25 and up, from now until Giving Tuesday. And on Giving Tuesday we encourage you to donate to your local, grassroots non-profit working to protect native ecosystems.
Limited Time Offer!
Enter coupon code: NATIVESEEDS4THEHOLIDAYS at checkout to receive 20% off native seed packets on orders $25 and up.
This offer will end at midnight on Giving Tuesday, November 28, 2023!
Late fall to early winter is a great time to sow native seeds so they can overwinter outside and germinate in the spring. Right now is a great time to buy native seeds for yourself or as a holiday gift for friends or family. Native seeds are a gift that keeps on giving — for pollinators, for habitat, and for the future of biodiversity!
Happy (Sustainable) Holidays from Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds
Last week, Suzie from Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds gave an online presentation for the OSU Extension Land Stewards Program, based out of the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center in Jackson County.
Presentation description:This class presents basic skills for successful native seed collection, cleaning, and propagation to help you grow native plants to increase biodiversity and habitat on your land or in your garden. Topics include ethical native seed collection techniques, seed cleaning with basic home supplies, seed germination requirements for specific species, growing natives in nursery containers, and direct seeding techniques.
The presentation is about an hour and fifteen minutes, with some Q&A at the end. There is a few minutes of announcements by the Land Stewards host at the beginning of the recording, and the presentation begins about four minutes into the recording. Click on the YouTube link above to watch the presentation.
KSNS thanks the OSU Land Stewards Program for hosting this presentation, and for all the work they do to inform rural landowners in southwest Oregon about how to foster and support native plant communities.
As summer heat moves into cooler, moister fall weather, it’s time to start thinking of sowing the native seeds acquired this year. You may have collected and cleaned native seeds from plants on your own land or purchased some native seeds that are in a box in a drawer or sitting on your desk. The next step is to plan what to do with these seeds.
Fall to early winter is the best time to sow native seeds to help restore native plant communities, increase floral biodiversity for pollinators, and reduce invasive species. Native plants are known to support a greater abundance and diversity of bees, butterflies, and other wildlife compared to nonnative plants.
More and more people in the Applegate Valley and the larger region are wanting to increase both the quantity of native species on their land for higher quality wildlife habitat, as well as for community and cultural benefits such as native plant medicine, traditional foods, basketry materials, or to simply luxuriate in a more attractive and colorful landscape. With the right species selection, native plants also require much less watering.
Although it seems counterintuitive, the seeds of many native species germinate in the fall. Seeds respond to fall rain or dew that moistens the soil and triggers fall germination. This strategy enables these species to overwinter as a small rosette of leaves, ready to bolt and flower as soon as the weather warms in the spring. These cool-season species get a jump start on growth in the fall, putting energy into underground root systems and basal leaves through the winter.
In nature, wildflowers disperse their seeds onto the ground or into the air in the summer, and as fall rains begin, some of these seeds can germinate and grow rapidly during cool, rainy fall and winter conditions. Annual wildflowers are more likely to germinate and grow in the fall, but some perennial wildflowers and native grasses will as well.
In order to help these species achieve fall germination, the seeds must be sown outside just before the first fall rain to mimic the natural cycles of seed drop and germination in the wild. The warm fall soil temperatures and rain trigger seed germination. Sowing the seeds before the first significant fall rain enables them to have enough moisture to germinate before the temperatures turn colder in early winter.
The following are examples of native species whose seeds can germinate in the fall.
Diamond clarkia (Clarkia rhomboidea)
Blue eyed mary (Collinsia grandiflora)
Bluehead gilia (Gilia capitata)
Bicolor lupine (Lupinus bicolor)
Shortspur sea blush (Plectritis congesta)
Woodland madia (Anisocarpus madioides)
Western thistle (Cirsium occidentale)
California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
Western buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis)
California brome (Bromus carinatus)
Tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa)
Blue wildrye (Elymus glaucus)
Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha)
To prepare a spot for sowing native seeds, first remove existing weeds or grass without digging or tilling any deeper than a few inches. Deeper digging may unearth dormant weed seeds and encourage them to germinate, thereby increasing weed growth, which you don’t want. It is best to leave the deeply buried weed seeds undisturbed in a dormant state beneath the soil. If you have weedy rhizomatous grasses (e.g., crabgrass) or groundcovers (e.g., vinca or ivy), you will need to either solarize or tarp the area for at least one summer before seeding to clear the area of invasive plants.
For optimal results, sow seeds on a cleared area of soil, lightly rake the seeds into the soil, and then gently water. Since seeds need light and air, as well as contact with bare soil to germinate well, they won’t succeed if scattered directly over thick mulch or buried too deeply. The rule of thumb is to sow seeds as deeply as they are thick. You can cover seeds with a very light dusting of sifted potting soil, but keep in mind some seeds need light to germinate.
If there is a dry spell between rains in the fall, be sure to water! Seeds must receive regular moisture for optimal fall germination. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, as that can cause the seeds and/or seedlings to rot.
Other native plant seeds that don’t germinate in the fall should still be sown outside in fall to early winter to achieve the varying lengths of “cold-moist stratification” required for them to germinate in late winter to early spring.
Each fall we work as hard as we can to clean as much seed from the year’s seed collecting season as possible to get folks what they need for all their various native seeding projects. We still have a lot more seed to clean!
At the end of summer and on into late fall, native plants produce many different types of fleshy fruits that have different structures, such as berries, drupes, and pomes. Most people use the colloquial and scientific term “berry” as a general way to refer to fleshy fruits, even though that may not be the correct botanical terminology, depending on the species and fruit. Even still, it’s easy to just use the term berry as a catch-all term for all the colorful native fruits.
Collecting native berries is popular for food, natural dyes, beads, medicine, and many other reasons. Most likely you have a fond memory of picking wild, native berries at some point in your life: huckleberries, elderberries, currants, gooseberries and more!
Here at Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds, we spend a lot of time collecting native berries this time of year so we can supply the seeds of many different types of berry producing species. It’s a “berry exciting time of year!”
When berries are at their peak of ripeness we have to set all other seed cleaning aside to focus on getting the fruits collected and cleaned before the birds and wildlife beat us to them, before fall rains knock the berries off the plants, and before the berries either dry out or mold as the season progresses.
12 different species of berries collected in a couple seed collecting trips and waiting to be cleaned.
Although it creates a hectic, “collect them, clean them while you can” time period, this “berry time of year” is truly exciting. All the different colors, shapes and forms of native fruits we can collect in this area highlights the immense biodiversity of the Klamath-Siskiyou region that is home to a dizzying array of native plant species. From valley bottom chaparral and oak woodlands, to high elevation wet meadows and red fir forests, there are berry producing species that wildlife rely on for food and habitat.
Fruits are important for the evolutionary success of flowering plants because the fleshy fruit protects seeds, aids in seed dispersal, and sometimes even helps with seed germination. No matter the biological or evolutionary reasons berries exist, they are colorful, beautiful parts of the ecosystem that light up the forest or woodland with adornment and nourishment, and are something everyone can appreciate and enjoy for so many different reasons.
We hope you enjoy this “berry exciting time of year” as plants produce colorful fruits for the future, and as the weather shifts and plants go dormant, waiting for the burst of life next spring.
A selection of the fruits of our labor, from seed collecting trips are below. Now is a great time to sow seeds of berry producing species!
Suzie and her mom, Joy, collecting western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) seeds a couple weeks ago.
The summer seed collection season will be winding down over the next couple months as we shift into cooler, moister fall weather. This time of year we are usually too busy with seed collecting and cleaning to do much blog writing, but we wanted to share some highlights from this spring and summer before the summer slips away.
On May 23rdSuzie Savoie of Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds gave a presentation, Food Plants for Butterflies Part 2, for Pollinator Project Rogue Valley. This presentation highlights native plants that are beneficial for butterflies in southwest Oregon and northwest California. You can watch the Zoom presentation below to learn more about native plants that butterflies love!
On June 1st, Suzie gave a presentation, Growing Native Plants from Seed, for the Jackson County Master Gardeners Association at the OSU Extension meeting room in Central Point in southern Oregon. This in-person presentation covered the basics of growing native plants from seed using simple techniques for the native home nursery.
On June 17th Suzie and Luke gave a tour of the Troon Vineyard Native Plant and Pollinator Botanical Garden, at Troon Vineyard in the Applegate Valley in southern Oregon. Suzie and Luke from Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds helped create the project and are really pleased to share the abundance of blooms, butterflies and bees in the native garden! Below are some photos of the tour and videos of the pollinator profusion on a couple species of wildflower growing in the gardens: coyote mint and arrowleaf buckwheat!
On July 1stSuzie led the first of a two-part workshop on private, conserved land below Mt. Ashland in southern Oregon, where participants were able to tour Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seed’s seven year old native seeding project on the property, and learn about how it was established. Workshop participants learned to identify different species, as well as the specific growing requirements to grow them from seed. Participants also learned to identify and pull non-native plants that have seeded into the gardens, and some time was spent pulling weeds and talking about weed management and overall site maintenance. You can view the photos from Part 1 of the workshop at PPRV’s photo album from the day at the following link:
Part 2 of the workshop is coming up this coming weekend, and will be focused on seed collection, seed cleaning, seed sowing, and more hands-on activities. We’re looking forward to it!
On July 14-16 Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds (KSNS) sponsored the Siskiyou Crest Festival, organized by the Siskiyou Crest Coalition, that took place in Williams in southern Oregon. We were one of many businesses, non-profits, and individuals that chipped in to make the event a success! The event featured a series of field trips, speakers, poetry, an art show, and so much more! Luke from KSNS was part of a keynote speaker lineup at the event, with his presentation, The Siskiyou Crest: Relationships, Biodiversity & Connectivity. And Luke and Suzie led one of the free field trips on July 14th, as part of the Festival, up to Lily Pad Lake in the Red Buttes Wilderness.
Lily Pad Lake field trip in the Red Buttes, led by Luke Ruediger and Suzie Savoie as part of the Siskiyou Crest Festival.Luke Ruediger, keynote panel for the Siskiyou Crest Festival
And of course we continue to be out and about and in the field as much as possible collecting seeds to bring you the species you want to grow! Every year is different, with some species producing seed more than others, but every year we add new species to our offerings, and this year is no different. We’ve recently added the following new, late blooming wildflower species to our SHOP page:
If you live in southwest Oregon or northwest California, this upcoming workshop with Suzie Savoie of Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds will help you learn the basics of using native seeds for landscaping and habitat restoration. Topics will include seeding methods, plant ID, project maintenance, seed collection, and much more! You can register for this two-part workshop here.
After giving this presentation in person for the past two years at various events in southwest Oregon, Suzie recorded it on Zoom for folks to watch on video from the comfort of their own homes. Now that spring has arrived and wildflowers are blooming across the region, it’s time to grow our shared appreciation for the botanical biodiversity of the Siskiyou Mountains! Many of the species covered in this presentation are still buried under feet of snow from this winter’s amazing snowpack, so start dreaming of seeing these flowers this summer! In the meantime, this presentation does cover species from low and mid elevations as well, so check it out and get out and enjoy the flowers this spring and summer!
Oregon Native Plant Appreciation Month is celebrated throughout the month of April, and in celebration Suzie Savoie and Luke Ruediger of Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds will be giving multiple presentations to provide inspiration for the conservation of native plants and pollinators. If you live locally maybe we’ll see you there!
California Native Plant Week is April 15-22, 2023. Just before that Luke and Suzie will be in Arcata, California , on April 12th, to do a presentation about their local film, Sagebrush to Sea: A Journey Across the Siskiyou Crest for the North Coast (CNPS) California Native Plant Society.