Summer Maintenance of Native Seed Projects

Summer Maintenance of Native Seed Projects

Successful native seed projects benefit from at least a few years of monitoring, maintenance, nurturing and upkeep. The level of summer maintenance needed will vary depending on the location and site conditions of each individual project.

Some sites have much heavier competition from non-native or invasive species that can outcompete the native plants being grown from seed. Other sites may need some supplemental summer irrigation to help the native plants establish while they are young.

Monitoring the native seed project site through the summer can help identify any issues that may need to be addressed. Long-term monitoring and tending of the area will lead to a higher percentage of native plants, which will provide better habitat for pollinators and wildlife, as well as native edible and medicinal plants for people.

Using the example of one of our native seed projects at a private fishing retreat on the Klamath River, this blog post will discuss weeding, irrigation and monitoring for a successful native seed project. The project site was prepped and seeded in early fall 2018. The seed mix included 57 species of wildflowers and native grasses native to the local area.

Weeding invasive yellow star thistle and dyer’s woad out of a two-year-old KSNS native seed project site along the Klamath River in northern California.

Weeding

Summer maintenance includes weeding to help knock back non-native and invasive plant species in order to give the native species a better chance to establish and grow. Keeping down the encroachment of non-native and invasive species within your seed project area is an important part of the long-term maintenance of the project; however, different projects may need to work harder to eliminate non-native species than others, depending on the desired outcomes, and available time to weed yourself and/or money to hire someone to weed for you.

Although you may not completely eliminate non-native and invasive species altogether, it is important to keep in mind that native plants, in general, support three times as many species of butterflies and moths as introduced plants, and overall, native plants support more native wildlife and birds as well. The higher percentage of native plants you can achieve in your native seed project area, the more optimal habitat for native pollinators and wildlife you will create, as well as the potential for an increase in native edible and medicinal plants for people.

Identification of small seedlings can be tricky sometimes. When weeding non-native and invasive plants out of a native seed project it is imperative that there is correct identification of the seedlings so native plants aren’t inadvertently ‘weeded’ out of the project area. Additionally, careful weeding is important, so that root disturbance to the nearby native plants is minimized while pulling out non-native and invasive plants.

This KSNS native seed project site along the Klamath River uses a temporary sprinkler system to provide some supplemental water to help the young plants establish for the first couple years after seeding.

Supplemental Irrigation

The use of supplemental summer irrigation can help native plants grown from seed establish during the first year or two after seeding. Especially during drought years, like this year in the Klamath-Siskiyou region, young plants may succumb to drought stress and die. In nature this is just a part of natural cycles, but when a lot of time, labor and money has gone into a native seed project, the success of the project is important. Water is not available for every project site; however, if it is available, a little water can go a long way toward ensuring project success.

For projects that are using locally collected seed from drought tolerant species, regular irrigation is not necessary. In fact, some drought tolerant native plants can die from too much irrigation. You just need enough to help the drought tolerant plants establish.

In the Klamath-Siskiyou region on really dry, sun-baked sites, a deep water every 2-3 weeks may be helpful from late spring to late summer for the first 1-2 years, but for higher elevation sites, moister sites, or projects in part-shade, a deep water once a month may be all that’s needed to help the plants establish better.

Idaho gumweed (Grindelia nana) blooming during the summer of 2020 in our Klamath River project seeded in the fall of 2018. Idaho gumweed germinated readily and bloomed in the second summer.

Monitoring

Monitoring a native seed project is a visual assessment that tracks some the following aspects:

  • which species germinated well in the seed project area;
  • which species failed to germinate;
  • which annual species were able to flower and go to seed;
  • which perennial species put on growth or began to bloom;
  • what non-native or invasive species grew in the project area;
  • how many species in your seed mix did or didn’t survive the first year;
  • what insects, pollinators or wildlife used the plants in the project area;
  • and more!

Monitoring can just be a casual evaluation, or you can document the information in a file or spreadsheet for the future and implement more quantitative and detailed, long-term monitoring projects involving plots, transects and photo points. No matter how formal or informal your monitoring method, you can use the information gained to benefit your site or future project areas.

Learning, watching your plants grow, and observing their use by wildlife are the most rewarding parts of a native seed project. These rewards can be better appreciated if you monitor your site. Any form of monitoring, no matter how casual or formal, will help you learn from your project, refine your techniques and become a better land steward. 

Annual ballhead gilia, and perennials, Indian paintbrush and barestem buckwheat blooming in the second summer of the project.

Elegant tarweed (Madia elegans) is an annual wildflower that blooms late in the summer, providing beneficial floral resources for pollinators at a crucial time. It has long been valued as a native food crop. Tarweed germinated some the first year of the project, but germinated even more and bloomed profusely in the second year.

Silver bush lupine (Lupinus albifrons) and Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) have grown quickly in the project area, but invasive yellow star thistle is problematic. Weeding efforts are helping the native plants thrive.

Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) is a ‘workhorse species.’ It germinates readily, is drought tolerant and deer resistant. It also reseeds itself. Oregon sunshine bloomed in the second summer of the native seed project.

Whether you’re maintaining or ‘wild tending’ a large or small native seed project area, a little bit of work can make a big difference in successfully growing native plants from seed! Enjoy the results!

Western thistle (Cirsium occidentale)

Virtual Consultations Now Available

Due to a growing demand for native plant project consultation during the COVID-19 situation, Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds (KSNS) is now offering virtual consultations through Zoom or Facetime in order to accommodate social distancing options. Contact us for more information about our virtual consultations or to set up an appointment. We are still providing outside, on-site consultations as well, with social distancing measures in place. KSNS can provide consultation services for native planting projects and native seeding projects.

https://klamathsiskiyouseeds.com/contact-us/

PolliNation Podcast: Spring native pollinator plants

A brown belted bumble bee (Bombus griseocollis) pollinating a silver lupine (Lupinus albifrons) grown from Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds in a native planting project along the Klamath River. Silver lupine is one of the native plant species discussed in the PolliNation Podcast interview.

Listen to an interview with Suzie Savoie of Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds in a new episode of the PolliNation Podcast – a pollinator health podcast. Interviewed by OSU’s Pollinator Health Extension Specialist, Andony Melathopoulos, also of the Oregon Bee Project, Suzie discusses growing native plants for the benefit of pollinators.

You can listen to the PolliNation Podcast or read the transcript by clicking on the link below.

http://pollination.libsyn.com/135-suzie-savoie-spring-native-pollinator-plants

“Southern Oregon has some of the most amazing pollinator species, in large part because of the unique native plant communities. In this episode we learn about the best spring blooming plants for pollinators and how to grow them.” -PolliNation Podcast

The photo gallery above features some of the native plant species mentioned in the PolliNation Podcast interview.

Native Plant Appreciation Week

Following up on California Native Plant Week, yesterday marked the beginning of Oregon Native Plant Appreciation Week. These back to back weeks help celebrate the incredible native plants of California and Oregon, including the spectacular diversity in the Klamath-Siskiyou region.

Yesterday was the beginning of Oregon Native Plant Appreciation Week (April 26 – May 2)! This year’s Oregon Native Plant Appreciation Week poster includes myco-heterotrophic plants that are partly or entirely non-photosynthetic and obtain energy and nutrients from fungi. The Klamath-Siskiyou region is home to all three plants featured on the poster. Although you can’t easily grow myco-heterotrophic plants, there are many native plants that can be grown from seed.

To see our wide selection of native seeds go to our SHOP page at: https://klamathsiskiyouseeds.com/shop/ From there you can search for species you are interested in, or use the “Sort by” feature to find the plant that’s right for your specific site.

Need some sunflowers to brighten up your day during COVID-19 stay at home orders? Want to grow a native yellow sunflower similar to the Desert sunflower featured on the California Native Plant Week poster? Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds offers seed for Bolander’s sunflower (annual), Deltoid balsamroot (perennial) and Narrowleaf mule’s ears (perennial) and Idaho gumweed (perennial).  The Bolander’s sunflower can still be grown from seed this spring since it is an annual, but the balsamroot, mule’s ears and Idaho gumweed all have seeds that need to overwinter to achieve the cold-moist stratification requirements necessary for springtime seed germination.

Under stay at home orders there are still many ways to celebrate Native Plant Week: 

  • Learn a new plant on a hike
  • Share wildflower photos on social media
  • Teach a child about the importance of native plants
  • Create art of or with native plants
  • Plant native plants for the benefit of native plant conservation, pollinators and wildlife!

Learn more about Oregon’s native flora at the Oregon Flora Project website: http://oregonflora.org/

Learn more about California’s native flora at the Calflora website: https://www.calflora.org/

Learn which plants are native to your area in California. Go to calscape.org and enter your address. Calscape also offers great advice about gardening with native plants in California.

Get information about gardening with native plants in Oregon at the Oregon Flora Project’s gardening information page: http://oregonflora.org/gardening.php

Check-Out a live virtual garden tour series starting this week that features ecologist and author Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home.

Happy Native Plant Appreciation Week!

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

Today, April 22, 2020 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! Caring for the environment and growing native plants for the benefit of birds, pollinators, and wildlife is a good way to honor Earth Day.

With the arrival of spring we are enjoying the amazing botanical diversity and wildflowers of the Klamath-Siskiyou region. This is an exciting time of year as native seeds that we have direct sown outside in the fall and winter have germinated and are starting to grow more quickly with the unusually sunny spring conditions we have been having. In celebration of Earth Day, and the height of the spring bloom it’s a good time to revisit a previous planting project to check on its process and the excellent habitat it is providing.

The photos above show a wildflower meadow restoration project in the fall of 2018 and then again just this spring near a home in the Siskiyou Mountains at around 2,000′ elevation. The area was originally seeded with only native bunchgrasses about 15 years ago, and over the last few years wildflower seeds from Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds have been sown within the native bunchgrasses to increase species richness and diversity. The wildflower seeds have been sown in the fall after maintenance burning with a propane torch and after fire season has ended. Burning back the thatch in the fall clears the area and prepares it for additional seed sowing to continually add appropriate species to the site, and increase some that are slower to establish.

Effective site preparation in the fall pays off in the spring as seeds germinate in areas that were well prepared for native seeding. Site preparation is key to successful seed germination. Read more about site preparation techniques in our November 30, 2018 blog post Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding.

Spring is a good time start thinking of site preparation for fall seeding. Many project areas have intense weed competition that needs to be addressed before fall seeding can occur. We will be following up this blog post with one addressing springtime site preparation techniques.

A black tailed bumble bee foraging on Pacific hound’s tongue in a native seed project area.

Pacific hound’s tongue provides great habitat! Left photo: Hound’s tongue woolly bear or wild forget-me-not moth (Gnophaela latipennis) caterpillar on Pacific hound’s tongue (Cynoglossum grande) in spring 2020. Right photo: Hound’s tongue woolly bear or wild forget-me-not moth (Gnophaela latipennis) adult foraging on showy milkweed in the summer.

Now that the project area has matured it is supporting amazing biodiversity of both flora and fauna. The inclusion of abundant Pacific hounds’ tongue (Cynoglossum grande) attracts the Hound’s tongue woolly bear or wild forget-me-not moth, that uses the species as a larval host plant. Bumble bee queens of various species come out of hibernation happy to forage on Pacific hound’s tongue flowers. Early blooming species are critical for maintaining the lifecycle of many pollinators.

Lupines such as velvet lupine (Lupinus leucophyllus) and sicklekeel lupine (Lupinus albicaulis), seen below, fix nitrogen into the soil, add color and texture, provide pollen and nectar for a wide variety of pollinators and are larval host plants for numerous butterflies.

Below is a slide show of the seed project area in the fall of 2018 and then again in spring 2020. The area is on the edge of woodland and mixed conifer forest so there is abundant leaf litter and thatch. After propane torch burning in the fall the area is seeded with additional native seeds to annually increase species richness and diversity into the area. As an alternative to using a propane torch you can also rake an area free from leaf litter and thatch and seed into the opened area.

  • Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
  • Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
  • Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
  • Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
  • Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding

We hope you are enjoying your own native seed projects this Earth Day. Enjoy watching the seedlings grow and the wildflowers thrive, buzzing with pollinators and other wildlife. Grow Native — Grow Wild!

The Power of Lomatium

Fernleaf biscuitroot seed (Lomatium dissectum)
California lomatium root (Lomatium californicum)
Fernleaf biscuitroot seedling (Lomatium dissectum)

Surging Interest in Lomatium During the Coronavirus

The coronavirus has brought unprecedented changes to our lives as people practice social distancing to ‘flatten the curve.’ Many people are turning to the health benefits of native plant medicine to strengthen their immune systems during the pandemic. Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds has experienced a large amount of interest in lomatium seed over the last few weeks, primarily fernleaf biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum), as people research plant species they can grow on their own to have a more self-sufficient way to stay healthy.  The strong interest in lomatium is due in part to evidence that it was used by some Native American tribes “during the influenza pandemic of 1917, with reportedly good results.”

The coronavirus highlights a need to do more research about the medicinal uses of native plants. Lomatium dissectum has one of the largest ranges of any Lomatium in the United States. For this reason it is the most widely used Lomatium species in herbal medicine, however, many other lomatium species also have medicinal uses. “Of the 70 to 80 Lomatium species from western North America, only 20 occur in the ethnobotanical literature (Moerman, 2012).

In this blog post we will discuss different species of lomatium, the benefit of lomatium for pollinators, how to grow lomatium, and the medicinal benefits of lomatium.

California lomatium (Lomatium californicum)
Lomatium nudicaule
Common lomatium (Lomatium utriculatum)
Lomatium utriculatum
Lomatium macrocarpum
Lomatium triternatum
Lomatium dissectum

Lomatium is not typically grown in gardens or on a large scale for medicine or seed production, but there are many native plant enthusiasts, herbalists, habitat restoration practitioners, pollinator advocates and businesses that are trying to change that. It is a slow growing plant that can take several years to mature and set seed, or grow large enough to harvest plant material for medicinal use. Once established, however, growing lomatium is very rewarding. Although not showy in the traditional garden esthetic point of view, lomatium does have tremendous garden value because it is a larval host plant for butterfly species such as the anise swallowtail butterfly, and it is highly attractive to many pollinating and beneficial insects.

Anise swallowtail caterpillar on California lomatiumAnise swallowtail butterfly caterpillar on Lomatium utriculatum (top left and center) Lomatium triternatum (top right) and Lomatium californicum (left).

Although we have commercial seed collection permits to collect seed on both BLM and Forest Service land, a large percentage of the lomatium seed we sell is grown on our own land. For 17 years we have been growing a wide variety of lomatium species on our 24 acres of land in the Siskiyou Mountains. Various species of lomatium already naturally grow on our land and we have used wild tending techniques (seeding, forest thinning, strategic fire use to invigorate lomatium stands, etc.), that have drastically increased the amount of lomatium on our land that we use for seed increase and seed sales, as well as for personal medicinal use. In order to keep as much of our land in its natural state as possible we prefer to grow native seeds using wild tending techniques rather than agricultural methods, however, we do grow lomatium in some previously tilled and gardened areas of our land, close to our home and structures, where we are restoring previous agricultural areas into meadow systems for native seed increase.

Ecological integrity is important to us and we do not recommend harvesting lomatium root in the wild for medicinal use. We encourage people to grow lomatium from seed for ethical harvest in your own garden or on your own land. Lomatium dissectum, for instance, is on the United Plant Savers “At-Risk” list of wild herbs that may be under exceptional harvesting pressure.

There are many good sources of information about lomatium species both in books and online. For brief, yet dense information we recommend the USDA-NRCS Plant Guides that are available for some lomatium species that cover the ecology and growing requirements.

USDA-NRCS Plant Guide for Lomatium dissectum

The USDA-NRCS Plant Guide for Lomatium dissectum is a great source of information. It covers plant identification, habitat requirements, ecology, wildlife and pollinator use, propagation, growing conditions, as well as ethnobotanical use.

A few quotes from the Lomatium dissectum Plant Guide:

“Fernleaf biscuitroot, known as Toza by the Numic speaking tribes of the Great Basin, was commonly used for food, medicine, and ceremonial purposes (Meilleur et al., 1990). It is one of the most widely used plant species in native North American culture (Moerman, 1998).”

“Fernleaf biscuitroot is still popular as a natural herbal medicine, and has been shown to possess antiviral and antibiotic properties (McCutcheon et al., 1992; 1995).”

“In Pullman, Washington, best results were obtained when seed was sown into containers in the fall that were left outside to overwinter. Germination begins in March and growth continues for 3 to 4 months until the plants go dormant in late July or August. Containerized plants should be left outside in a lath house for an additional winter before transplanting the following spring. Flowering and seed production typically begins 3 years after transplanting (Skinner, 2004).”

Growing Lomatium from Seed

Like many native plants, the seed of most lomatium species that grow in the Klamath-Siskiyou region require 60-90 days cold-moist stratification in order to trigger springtime seed germination.

For personal use, the seed can be sown outside in late fall in seed trays and other nursery containers and allowed to overwinter outside with full exposure to winter conditions. The seedlings will typically germinate in March. If started in shallow seed starting trays the seedlings will need to be upsized into deeper containers for growing out over the summer.

Lomatium seeds can also be direct seeded outside in late fall. Weed and prepare a well-drained, unirrigated garden bed to sow the seeds in the garden setting. For direct seeding on land outside the garden setting, either rake the area to clear it of duff and thatch, or follow our Site Preparation Techniques for Native Seeding.

For many years Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds has been growing lomatium from seed in our nursery and through direct seeding methods. Below are some photos from our nursery and our land.

Lomatium californicum seed tray
Lomatium californicum seed tray
Lomatium californicum_seed tray
Lomatium californicum seedlings
Lomatium dissectum seedling
Lomatium macrocarpum seedling pot
Fernleaf biscuitroot seedling (Lomatium dissectum)
Lomatium dissectum and Lomatium californicum grown from direct seeding

For further reading, this enjoyable blog post below is a good account of growing lomatium species in a medicinal herb garden in Seattle. The experience the author shares is valuable not only for growing lomatium, but for growing native plants from seed in general.

Lomatium etc.

Growing Lomatium on a Large Scale

Lomatium is beginning to be grown more on a larger scale for medicinal plant material and seed increase fields for habitat restoration and commercial seed production.

The American Society for Horticultural Science has published a paper with detailed research about growing Fernleaf biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum) for commercial seed production.

Although most people don’t grow lomatium at this scale, it is helpful information even for backyard gardeners. The more lomatium can be grown from seed, the less pressure there is on wild populations from overharvesting for medicinal use.

Cultivation and Irrigation of Fernleaf Biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum) for Seed Production

https://journals.ashs.org/hortsci/view/journals/hortsci/47/10/article-p1525.xml

Medicinal Use of Lomatium

California lomatium root (Lomatium californicum)

Lomatium tincture

Below is a select list of resources that address the ethnobotanical and modern use of lomatium for medicinal use.

We recommend the book, Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West, by the great herbalist, Michael Moore. There is a section on Lomatium dissectum in Moore’s book where he says that lomatium’s “main value is for respiratory virus infections,” but we also wanted to share the following quotes:

“Lomatium has been used for centuries as a medicine by Native Americans who live in the Great Basin; it was used by many Mormon settlers in Utah and Nevada, and it was known by Oregon pioneers. They all used it for lung problems, bad fevers and pneumonia, and there are many references to its value for persistent winter fevers.”

“Lomatium definitely helps simple head colds and shortens the duration of overt influenza viral infections.” (Moore, p. 170)

  • Coronavirus Scare: 5 Tips to Help Ward Off and Manage a Viral Illness With Herbs

Coronavirus Scare: 5 Tips to Help Ward Off and Manage a Viral Illness With Herbs

“Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum) root is a potent and effective antiviral that is warming and drying in part due to a resinous property. However, this is the kind of herb one might reserve for the instance of a novel or exceptional viral infection because it is not abundant. Its range is limited, and the root is the part used. It is on the United Plant Savers’ “At-Risk” list of wild herbs under exceptional harvesting pressure (United Plant Savers, 2018). If a household were affected by a novel virus and advised to do care at home under medical supervision, and this herb was in ones’ home apothecary, this would be the time to pull it out. Typically, it has been prepared as a tincture, and used in small amounts regularly, ½ ml several times throughout the day while affected (Buhner, 2013). Small amounts of herbal tea infusion would have a similar effect but the taste is quite strong!”

  • Naturopathic Approach to COVID-19

Naturopathic Approach to COVID-19

by naturaldoc12 | Mar 4, 2020 | Of the Earth Wellness Naturopathic clinic

“Lomatium dissectum: Anti-viral, helps break up mucous.”

  • Lomatium dissectum: Medicinal use

The Naturopathic Herbalist

Lomatium dissectum

https://thenaturopathicherbalist.com/herbs/i-l/lomatium-dissectum/

“Medicinal use: Lomatium is useful in acute and chronic viral, bacterial, fungal infections and other inflammatory disorders of the respiratory system. It is most effective in treating infections when it is given as early as possible and in small frequent doses.”

  • Lomatium dissectum Inhibits Secretion of CXCL10, a Chemokine Associated with Poor Prognosis in Highly Pathogenic Influenza A Infection

Lomatium dissectum Inhibits Secretion of CXCL10, a Chemokine Associated with Poor Prognosis in Highly Pathogenic Influenza A Infection

“Conclusion: The observation that L. dissectum extract inhibits CXCL10 secretion provides a plausible mechanism for the efficacy of L. dissectum in influenza treatment reported in ethnobotanical studies and case reports. L. dissectum may reduce morbidity and mortality associated with influenza and merits further research.”

  • Lomatium-Uses

Kaiser Permanente website, 2019 Healthnotes, Inc.

“Native Americans of many tribes reportedly used lomatium root to treat a wide variety of infections, particularly those affecting the lungs.1 Lomatium was used, particularly in the southwestern United States, during the influenza pandemic of 1917 with reportedly good results.” https://wa.kaiserpermanente.org/kbase/topic.jhtml?docId=hn-2126009

  • Lomatium Root: Possibly the Best Anti-Viral
By: Adam Stark
“But the plant has had two strong advocates: the great naturopathic doctor, John Bastyr; and the great herbalist, Michael Moore. It’s because of these two men, I believe, that the knowledge of Lomatium is still alive today. Most everyone who uses Lomatium now can trace their knowledge back to either Moore or Bastyr, either directly, or indirectly, through one of their thousands of students.”
  • Cultivation and Irrigation of Fernleaf Biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum) for Seed Production

https://journals.ashs.org/hortsci/view/journals/hortsci/47/10/article-p1525.xml

“Lomatium dissectum was used by Native American populations as food, medicine, and a piscicide. Specific uses described in historic, ethnobotanical records cannot be verifiably linked to L. dissectum as a result of the morphological similarities, especially in leaf morphology, among some Lomatium spp. and revisions of taxonomic classifications after the ethnobotanical studies (Ebeling, 1986; Jones, 1941; Meilleur et al., 1990). More than half of the Lomatium spp. are relatively rare with geographically restricted ranges (Soltis et al., 1997) making proper identification by a generally trained ethnobotanist less likely and perpetuating possible cases of folk underdifferentiation, the use of one folk name for two closely associated Linnaean species (Hunn and Brown, 2011). Of the 70 to 80 Lomatium species from western North America, only 20 occur in the ethnobotanical literature (Moerman, 2012).”

Lomatium nudicaule seed
Pestle lomatium seed (Lomatium nudicaule)
Spring gold seed (Lomatium utriculatum)
Common lomatium seed (Lomatium utriculatum)
Fernleaf biscuitroot seed (Lomatium dissectum)

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds has six species of lomatium seed available for purchase. Our inventory is limited, please limit your purchase of Lomatium dissectum to five packets or less per order during the coronavirus pandemic in order to make the seed as widely available as possible.

Lomatium dissectum-Fernleaf biscuitroot

Lomatium californicum-California lomatium

Lomatium macrocarpum-Bigseed biscuitroot

Lomatium nudicaule-Pestle lomatium

Lomatium triternatum-Nineleaf biscuitroot

Lomatium utriculatum-Common lomatium

Growing Camas from Seed

 

Large camas (Camassia leichtlinii)

Growing Native Bulbs from Seed

Growing native bulbs from seed is a labor of love. Although it can take a little longer to reach flowering stage, growing native bulbs from seed is a very rewarding process that leaves a lasting legacy. With the long-term vision of native flowering bulbs in your garden, on your land, or in your restoration project in mind, and with some patience, you too can grow native bulbs like camas. Growing native bulbs from locally adapted seed helps continue the genetic diversity that is so important to native plant conservation.

Common camas (Camassia quamash)

Native Camas Species

The Klamath-Siskiyou region has two species of native camas: common camas (Camassia quamash) and large camas (Camassia leichtlinii). They are spring-flowering bulbous perennial wildflowers that are beautiful enough for the most high-end ornamental garden, yet are adaptable and ecologically important enough to be included in habitat restoration projects within their ranges. Camas prefers moist conditions winter through late spring, but it can dry out in the late summer months when the bulbs go dormant. In the wild, camas is typically found growing in vernally moist meadows, grasslands, or upland prairies, and on moist slopes or along seeps, springs, rivers, streams and gulches. Camas is tolerant of a wide variety of soil types, including serpentine and clay, as long as there is adequate moisture in the spring. Camas provides valuable, early-season nectar and pollen for a variety of native pollinators, especially overwintering bumble bee queens coming out of hibernation. Camas was a staple food for many Native American tribes. The bulbs were harvested in the fall and either pit roasted or boiled and eaten, or dried and pounded into a flour.

Large camas (Camassia leichtlinii) growing in a low elevation serpentine meadow.

Geophytes

The tips we will provide for growing camas can be used to grow any native bulb species, camas is just one of the most familiar and recognizable species of native bulbs in the region, making it a good species to highlight. Native bulb species are geophytes. A geophyte is any plant with some form of underground storage organ: bulb, tuber, corm, thick rhizome, etc. In the wild geophytes are dispersed by seed, vegetative propagation, and subterranean mammals. Geophytes are an important part of the food web, as they are eaten by small mammals, which in turn feed raptors and larger animals.

Seed Stratification Requirements

Whether you will be growing camas in a nursery or direct sowing on your land or in a restoration project, camas seed will germinate best when sown outside in fall through early winter, typically October through early January. The seeds need 60-90 days of cold-moist stratification or “winterization” in order to break down the seed coat and trigger springtime seed germination. The freeze-thaw cycle, rain, snow, and general winter conditions contribute to successful spring germination. If sown too late and the seeds don’t achieve the required cold-stratification in the first year of sowing, the seeds will remain dormant until the following spring after exposure to an additional winter season. These seed germination requirements work well in the Klamath-Siskiyou region, but may vary in other regions within the range where camas grows. You may also mimic natural cold-moist stratification artificially using the refrigeration method, by placing camas seed in moist seed sprouting paper or paper towels in a ziplock bag or small container as shown in the diagram. For more detailed information about seed germination, please see our SEED PROPAGATION page on our website.

Growing Camas from Seed in Containers

Large camas seed

Seed Flats, Gallon Pots, Seed Trays, etc.

Camas seed can be started in a wide variety of container size and shape. Seeds can be evenly spread and lightly covered with sifted soil, vermiculite or other grit in a seed flat or gallon pot, and once the seed germinates in the spring the seedlings can be plucked out and transplanted into larger containers or directly transplanted in the ground. The seed flat or gallon pot can also be grown out through the summer and the bulbs can be transplanted in the fall when they are dormant, or grown out even longer and transplanted the following spring when new growth emerges around the beginning of March.

Seeds can also be sown into seed trays with various sizes and depths of cells, tubes, Ellepots, or even common pony pack trays. Seedlings can then be transplanted into larger containers or directly transplanted into the ground.

bird netting on native seed pots
seed tray ready for seed
native seed tray

Camas seeds can be started in many different types of container or seed tray.

Camas grown in a gallon pot for one year are plucked out and transplanted the following spring.

Camas seedlings transplanted from seed pots directly into the garden (left), into band pots (center), and then later upsized into gallon pots (right).

Direct Sow Camas Seed

Camas can be grown from direct seeding in the garden or as part of a land management or habitat restoration project. In a prepared bed in the garden direct sow camas seed in the fall to early winter, just lightly covering the seed with soil, and allow the seeded area to remain unmulched through the winter. 

Site Prep Techniques for Native Seeding
Fall 2018
Sowing native seeds

Site preparation, direct sowing, and springtime camas seedlings emerging in a small area prepared with propane torch burning the previous fall.

Site preparation is key to successful camas seed germination when direct sowing for a land management or habitat restoration project. Read more about Site Preparation Techniques for Native Seeding on our website. Burning or raking the area you want to seed so it is free of thick thatch or competition will prepare the area for seeding. This allows the seed to have direct contact with the soil, which helps seeds germinate and grow through moisture retention and mycorrhizal associations.

Whether you are direct seeding in your garden, on your land, or in a small restoration project, make sure you mark, label or document the area that you sowed the seed so you don’t forget the exact location, and watch for seed germination in the spring as temperatures start to warm up. Camas seedlings look like blades of grass for the first couple years as the leaves feed bulb growth underground. The seedlings and mature plants will go dormant in the early summer.

Large camas (Camassia leichtlinii)Living Legacy

Growing camas from seed may take some time, but the rewards down the road are many. Camas has such an important ecological and cultural role in the Klamath-Siskiyou region and beyond, however, much of the area camas once inhabited is now destroyed by human development, farming, or other historic impacts. Bringing camas back to its native habitat, or at least growing it in your garden for the benefit of pollinators, helps camas maintain its ecological and living legacy. Enjoy the blooms!

Large camas (Camassia leichtlinii)
Anise swallowtail butterfly

Enjoy camas for pollinator habitat and beauty in your urban landscaping or on your rural land!

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds has camas seed available. Check out our online shopping cart today!

Camassia quamash-Common camas

Camassia leichtlinii-Large camas

 

Native Seed Success in 2019

Native Seed Success in 2019

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds are used for many different seeding and planting projects each year. We love to see how our seeds are successfully incorporated into habitat restoration projects, native plant gardens, pollinator habitat enhancement, ornamental landscaping, community planting projects, educational gardens, and much more! Our seeds are used to grow containerized nursery stock for native planting projects, or they are direct seeded, depending on the needs of the project. Our native seed or nursery plants grown from our seed are used on private and public land, as well as educational sites, botanical gardens, or are grown for small and large-scale nursery production.

We have featured some of the successful uses and applications of Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds in 2019 below. We’re looking forward to 2020. Happy New Year!

 

Siskiyou Mountain Homestead Wildflower Meadow Project

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds collected native seeds under contract for this project located around 5,000′ in the Siskiyou Mountains. The seed mix included 60 species of wildflowers and native grasses. 2019 marked year three of this successful seeding project. Many of the perennials have matured and have started to bloom alongside the annuals, creating a spectacular display around the home and gardens. The seeded areas started out as bare soil after hardscaping work, and have been restored into a fully functioning, high quality mountain meadow habitat. As non-native species have tried to get established, careful and persistent weeding has maintained a mostly native composition. Occasional summer irrigation has helped with establishment but the site will be further weaned from irrigation going forward. A diversity of pollinators are now feasting on the pollen and nectar of a high diversity of native flowering plants at the site, and many species are using the plants as larval host plants. Many caterpillars of various species have been observed. This project is now producing enough seed itself that further seed collection from the project area is helping seed other areas of the property.

KSNS native seed project
KSNS native seeding project

 

Butte Falls Natural Resource Center Monarch Waystation and Native Plant Education Garden

Suzie from Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds highlighting false turtlehead (Nothochelone nemorosa) plants grown from Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds in a native plant garden at the Butte Falls Charter School’s Natural Resource Center.

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds provided native seeds for growing out native nursery plants for the Butte Falls Charter School’s Natural Resource Center. In collaboration with other partners, such as Southern Oregon Monarch Advocates and Jackson County Soil and Water Conservation District, the students and staff at the Butte Falls Charter school constructed monarch waystations and educational pollinator gardens at a closed-down fish hatchery that was slated for demolition. Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds participated in a collaborative planting day with the students, planting 40 species of native plants grown from locally collected native seeds, in a designated monarch waystation area and in old fish tanks repurposed into native plant demonstration gardens. In 2019 the planting started to establish, and with the care and maintenance of the students and staff, the native plant gardens will thrive and provide excellent monarch butterfly and pollinator habitat, educational opportunities, and hands-on learning for the Butte Falls Charter School.

 

Klamath River Fishing Retreat Native Plant Gardens and Wildflower Seeding Project

This multidimensional project at a fishing retreat on the Klamath River used Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds to grow out native nursery plants for riparian restoration and native plant gardens, as well as direct seeding for dryland meadow restoration. Over three years of development the gardens have become established and are providing ornamental value for visitors, but more importantly, they are providing valuable habitat for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. The gardens now contain over 85 species of native plants, including, trees, shrubs, perennial wildflowers, annual wildflowers, and native grasses. This native garden has a diligent maintenance schedule that includes regular weeding and the use of bark mulch for weed management and soil building. Irrigation is used on a limited basis for areas that were designed for dryland species, while other areas that have more moist-loving species receive regular irrigation. Once established, the dryland areas and seeded dryland meadows will be further weaned from irrigation. The native dryland meadow was seeded with 57 different species of wildflowers and native grasses, all collected from native plants along the Klamath River corridor as well as on the land itself.

Grindelia nana-Idaho gumweed
Idaho gumweed – Grindelia nana

 

Backyard Native Plant Gardens

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds are used to grow ornamental and useful native plants for backyard gardens. Our native seed packets are used for direct seeding, or for growing out nursery plants for transplanting into gardens. No two native plant gardens or native plant gardeners are alike. We love to hear about how our customers use our seeds in their gardens and what species they are successfully growing. Our customers have different techniques and styles, but they all have the love of native plants in common. Share your photos and success stories with us at klamathsiskiyou@gmail.com. Nothing connects you to native plants more than growing them yourself. In your garden you can observe each species’ growth habit throughout the year, observe the pollinator-plant interactions, see what species use the plants as larval host plants, and enjoy the beauty while you sip your morning tea barefoot in the summer right out your back door. Grow Native — Grow Wild!

Landscaping with natives in the Klamath-Siskiyou

Native Plant Nursery Production

Agastache urticifiolia - Horsemint plants
Agastache urticifiolia – Horsemint plants

Thousands of native nursery plants are grown from Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds each year. We supply many nurseries throughout the West Coast with seed for growing containerized nursery stock. Gardening groups, botanical gardens, botany departments and researchers at universities, use our seeds, as well as habitat restoration non-profits, native plant societies, and everyday gardeners that choose to grow native seeds in the nursery environment prior to planting. Our individual seed packets can be used for nursery production, or we can provide larger amounts of seed when larger quantities are needed for large-volume nursery production. Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds is the only source for many species of seed. We strive to provide a diverse selection that will perform well under nursery conditions.

Cirsium ciliolatum seedlings
bird netting on native seed pots
Jackson County Master Gardeners with the plants they grew from KSNS seeds!
Jackson County Master Gardener's hot rock penstemon plants grown from KSNS seeds!
Ipomopsis aggregata seedlings
Eriogonum compositum - Arrowleaf buckwheat plants
Lomatium californicum seed tray
Lomatium californicum seed tray
Lomatium californicum_seed tray
Lomatium californicum seedlings
Wyethia angustifolia seedlings in tubes
Clematis ligusticifolia seedlings
KSNS booth at the Jackson County Master Gardener's Spring Garden Fair
Monardella odoratissmia - Coyote mint plants
California spikenard-Aralia californica
Blue mountain penstemon-Penstemon laetus
Roemer's fescue-Festuca roemeri
Narrowleaf milkweed-Asclepias fascicularis
Showing off shooting star success

 

Native Seed Packets

Each year we add new species to our online inventory of native seed packets. In 2019 we added 22 new species and we expect to add more in 2020! Our seed packet inventory fluctuates throughout the year, so check back often to see our updated inventory. If you see that the species you are interested in is currently out of stock, contact us to let us know that you want to be put on a waiting list for that species. When it becomes available we will notify you that we have it in stock again. Looking for something we don’t carry? If it is a species that grows within the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion we may be able to collect seed for you if we can find a suitable seed collection site. Let us know what you are interested in. We strive to supply a wide range of species for various uses and applications.

Wyethia angustifolia seed
Cirsium occidentale seed
Cynoglossum grande seed
Collinsia grandiflora seed
Eriogonum compositum seed
Grindelia nana seed
Lupinus albifrons seed
Lomatium nudicaule seed
Pestle lomatium seed (Lomatium nudicaule)
Madia elegans seed

Happy New Year!

Grow Native for the Holidays

GROW NATIVE FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Give the gift of native plant seeds!

 

Ipomopsis aggregata seedlings

Scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata) Buy seed packets now!

Are you looking for a unique, eco-friendly holiday gift for a nature-loving friend or family member?

Shop for native seed packets on our website now!

Early winter is an ideal time to sow many species of native plant seeds in order to achieve cold-moist stratification over the winter to help break down seed coats and trigger springtime seed germination. Many species of native seeds given as holiday gifts can be sown outside right away.

Giving native seed packets as holiday gifts brings the promise of spring wildflowers!

 

 

We recently added Brown’s peony (Paeonia brownii) seed packets to our online inventory. Buy now!

 

 

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds (KSNS) now has over 140 species of native seed packets in stock through our online inventory. We collect seeds from around the Klamath-Siskiyou region to help others grow native plants for conservation, restoration, wildlife and pollinator habitat, beauty and so much more.

Grow your own native plants.

Grow Native—Grow Wild

Shop for native seed packets on our website now!

 

Cirsium occidentale seed
Western thistle (Cirsium occidentale)
Western thistle (Cirsium occidentale)

Western thistle (Cirsium occidentale) Buy seed packets now!

KSNS also offers Gift Certificates that are available in any amount.

KSNS Gift Certificate
Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds Gift Certificate

To order a gift certificate just send us an email at: klamathsiskiyou@gmail.com

Happy Holidays!

Below are some of the new species we have recently added to our online inventory.

Anaphalis margaritacea-Pearly everlasting
Anaphalis margaritacea-Pearly everlasting
Brodiaea elegans-Harvest brodiaea
Brodiaea elegans-Harvest brodiaea
Rhus aromatica-Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica-Fragrant sumac
Lonicera conjugialis-Purpleflower honeysuckle
Lonicera conjugialis-Purpleflower honeysuckle
Cercocarpus ledifolius-Curl leaf mountain mahogany
Cercocarpus ledifolius-Curl leaf mountain mahogany
Symphoricarpos albus-Snowberry
Symphoricarpos albus-Snowberry

 

KSNS Seeds and Plants at the Talent Harvest Festival September 21st

Come visit our booth at the Talent Harvest Festival on September 21st!

50th Annual Talent Harvest Festival
Saturday September 21, 2019
10am to 4pm

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds (KSNS) will have a booth at the Talent Harvest Festival on September 21st. We will have a variety of native seed packets for sale as well as many potted native plants grown from our locally wildcrafted native seeds. Since we don’t ship live plants this is a great opportunity to purchase plants for fall planting.

Coming to the Talent Harvest Festival? Check out the PDF link below of our current nursery inventory to see the wide selection of native potted plants we have available. Email us at klamathsiskiyou@gmail.com if you want to pre-order nursery plants for pickup at the festival.

Click here: KSNS Nursery Inventory Fall 2019

Fall is the perfect time to plant native seeds and native nursery plants.

Agastache urticifiolia - Horsemint plants
Agastache urticifiolia – Horsemint plants
Eriogonum compositum - Arrowleaf buckwheat plants
Blue elderberry-Sambucus nigra spp.caerulea
Blue elderberry-Sambucus nigra spp.caerulea
Douglas aster-Symphyotrichum subspicatum
Douglas aster-Symphyotrichum subspicatum
Bigelow's sneezeweed-Helenium bigelovii
Bigelow’s sneezeweed-Helenium bigelovii
Broadleaf lupine-Lupinus latifolius
Broadleaf lupine-Lupinus latifolius

For many years KSNS has been the go-to source for retail native seeds in southern Oregon and northern California. Our motto, Grow Native-Grow Wild, says it all. We want to provide a wide diversity of native plant seeds from the wild to enhance botanical diversity and native plant conservation.

Can’t make the Talent Harvest Festival? Purchase local native seeds from throughout the Klamath-Siskiyou region through mailorder on our website.  KSNS offers nearly 150 species of native seed! You won’t find this wide selection anywhere else in the region. Shop for native seeds now!

See you there!

Balsamorhiza deltoidea seed
Deltoid balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea)
Deltoid balsamroot (Balsamhoriza deltoidea)
Silver lupine (Lupinus albifrons)
Lupinus albifrons seed
Agastache urticifolia siskiyou mountains
Horsemint (Agastache urticifolia) in the Siskiyou Mountains
Agastache urticifolia seed
Horsemint (Agastache urticifolia) seed

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds
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