Singin’ in the Rain!

By Mara Friddle and James McAuliffe

April 2022

Though the cool rains still fall at our Corvallis area farm locations, spring’s intrepid blooms have begun to brighten the gloom. Rather than describe their beauty, we thought a photo farm tour might be more fun!

Life under glass

We’ll start our tour in the greenhouse. Each year the farm team produces plugs that are destined for either amplification fields at the farm or planting back into restoration sites. This production season began in August of 2021 and, from then to now, the farm team produced a whopping 47,000 plugs!

Kincaid’s Lupine (Lupinus oreganus) seedling just emerging and destined for Herbert Farm, funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Lyngbye's sedge (Carex lyngbyei) plugs all set to start a new seed amplification bed for the Coastal Native Seed Partnership (CNSP).

A place in the sun

As our plug production season ended, our field planting season came into full swing. We planted 8 new seed amplification beds, braving the wind, rain and hail, but with much needed help and company. Each bed ranges from the smallest, being 5’x40’ through the largest being 30’x150’ in size.

IAE Intern Cierra Dawson and Deputy Director Jennifer Butler brave the pelting rain to get the coastal Oregon Sunshine (Eriophylum lanatum) plugs into the ground. This project is also funded by the USFWS.

A truck bed full of Willamette daisy (Erigeron decumbens) plugs ready to start an amplification bed for USFWS Willamette Valley Threatened and Endangered Species project.

IAE Plant Materials Coordinator Morgan Franke and new Plant Materials Program Director Alexis Larsen help plant the Willamette daisy into briefly dry ground.

Here is an expansion of a bed of field chickweed (Cerastium arvense). This chickweed is native to the Oregon coast and is grown for the USFWS.

Well worth the wait

In 2018, IAE began the process of installing several bulb crop amplification beds. They were first seeded into flats and allowed to grow their bulbs in those flats for two years, to achieve bulbs of sufficient size to plant in the field. In the fall or 2020, with the help of an AmeriCorps crew, 4 new beds were planted. 2022 is the first year we expect to have a harvest from these fields. Narrow leaved onion (Allium amplectans), and great camas (Camas leichtlinii) grown for the Willamette Valley Native Plan Partnership are not pictured.

Tolmie Star-tulip (Calochortus tolmiei) looks like a most inviting spot for a bumble-bee nap. This seed is being produced for the WVNPP.

Common camas (Camas quamash) putting on a show. The seed is being produced for the WVNPP.

Rose Roberts, Karla Jarecke and Zade Clark-Henry, Habitat Restoration Technician, planting at Echo Hills Farm.

Mckenzie McCoy planting Kincaid’s lupine at Echo Hills Farm.

Timeless beauties

IAE has many beds that have been in production for years. Those are all beginning to wake up from their winter slumber and push their flowers skyward.

A new inflorescence emerges on a Kincaid's lupine (Lupinus oreganus). These beds are funded by Clean Water Services and the seed is destined for the Hagg Lake restoration site

Flowers of cows clover (Trifolium wormskioldii) rest just above the soil surface. The seed from this bed is destined for Crook Point on the Oregon coast and is funded by the Oregon branch of the USFWS.

Sea thrift (Armeria meritima) are just about to present their globes of pink flowers. Seed from this bed is destined for Crook Point on the Oregon coast and is funded by the Oregon branch of the USFWS.

On a rare sunny day, a hawk perches atop a raptor post, patiently waiting for his field mouse feast. Spring brings a glut of new rodent life to the farm, which has the potential to be devastating to our crops. This hungry sentinel is a welcome sight!