2013 Oxbow Newsletter #14 – Oxbow Native Plant Nursery

This week I would like to introduce you to our new venture at Oxbow farm; our new native plant nursery and research facility, and to Bridget McNassar, our nursery manager. Many of the people who visit me at Oxbow are taken aback by our breathtaking setting down here in the Snoqualmie Valley. While beauty certainly abounds in the cultivated fields of veggies and the magical children’s garden, much of it is provided by the native plants and trees that have been growing here for many years. Natives at Oxbow surround us with lush foliage, interesting and varied forms, and a constantly changing display of flowers, fruits and seeds throughout the season. Beyond their aesthetic value, these natives perform valuable services, such as preventing soil erosion, providing food and shelter for wildlife, and attracting of natural pollinators. All of these enhance both the farmed fields where your veggies are grown and the natural areas surrounding them. Oxbow has been conserving natives and restoring land by planting more natives along the river and wetlands ever since the first days of the farm. This season, a new branch of the farm has sprouted with the completion of our new native plant greenhouse and launch of our native nursery production, research and education program. Nestled in amongst the berry patches and children’s garden, we are growing our first crop of western Washington native plants and shrubs, which we will begin selling this fall. As we expand, we will be working on developing sustainable and organic growing practices for our plants, such as using compost produced from the farm, creating irrigation systems that conserve water, and developing the least harmful pest management systems. Additionally, we will be hosting graduate students from the University of Idaho each year, who will be researching native plant production techniques. As the years progress, we will develop an education program around the native nursery and restoration practices. We aim to grow the highest quality native plants, using ecologically sound practices, and become a facility fostering research and education that contributes to the restoration and nursery-growing community. Please feel free to take a peek at the Native Plant Nursery in person when you visit the Pumpkin Patch and farm this fall, we’d love to show you around! We’ll also have a small offering of our plants for sale at our Farm Stand – Thursday through Sunday September 28 to Oxtober 27. Organically, Bridget, and, Luke, Adam, Sarah, Megan, Carson, Tino, Yolanda, Valentin, Julio-Cesar,Mike, Marianna, Lisa, Alice, Sarah D, Dana, Joshua, Arwen, Grace, Brandon, (and our inspiration Pearl, Emuna, Avi Ray & Zoe Rose) Here are a few images of the nursery greenhouse being built and starting to fill up w/ plants: Native nursery skeleton Native nursery walls Native starts Planting native seeds