Spring is in the air and the Native Seed Farm is in full bloom! Thanks to the efforts of volunteers, rows and rows of colorful wildflowers are growing across the seed farm, and there’s never been a better time to register for a stewardship program to help care for native species. Harvesting seeds and growing seedlings is vital to the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, and creates a self-sustaining process that keeps local plants and wildflowers thriving from season to season. Take the opportunity to connect with nature while enjoying the surrounding scenery and join a stewardship program at the Native Seed Farm!
The Native Seed Farm is nestled in the City of Irvine, located on Jeffrey Road just north of Portola Parkway. The farm offers convenient parking near the farm entrance, and is a flat, easy-to-access site with shade available. A hub of the Landmarks, the farm harvests as much as 1,000 pounds of seeds per year which fuel various restoration projects throughout the lands. This year, California goldfields—a flowering plant in the daisy family—were planted for the first time, and their yellow blooms were a welcome addition to the farm. Pink hues of Owl’s Clover can also be seen, along with the cylindrical, purple blooms of Arroyo Lupine. Orange Poppies are also growing abundantly on the farm, supporting the growth of California’s state flower.
Volunteers will learn to use various methods to harvest seeds, including “finger combing” and “hand stripping” to shake seeds into buckets. Seedlings will also be planted and grown, and Irvine Ranch Conservancy staff are expecting new blooms including Chick Lupine, White Sage, and Cobweb Thistle. Harvesting and planting seeds at the Native Seed Farm is an incredibly cost-effective way to achieve successful habitat restoration, and gives the community a chance to enjoy the beauty of the lands.
No experience is necessary when joining an activity at the Native Seed Farm, and all tools are provided. Programs are reoccurring and allow volunteers to the unique opportunity to create lasting memories while learning about the wildflowers and plant life found on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Morning programs are available Wednesday and Saturday at the Native Seed Farm and begin at 8:30 a.m. Registration is required. Due to the busy season, there is also an afternoon program available on Earth Day, April 22 at 2 p.m.
All activities on the Landmarks are free with required pre-registration, which closes at 4 p.m. the day prior to each event. Native Seed Farm activities are suitable for children 8 and over, and children must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. It’s important to wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and bring sunscreen, hats, snacks and water. For more details on stewardship programs on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, visit LetsGoOutside.org/activities.