EKCRCD Desert Seed Store Is Online

Due to an abundance of caution and concerns about the transmission of COVID-19, the Eastern Kern County Resource Conservation District (EKCRCD) will not be holding its fall drought tolerant plant – sale this year. However, EKCRCD is now offering desert seed mixes in its new online seed store, https://www.ekcrcd.org/seed-store .

Two seed mixes are currently available, the new Desert Native Seed Mix and the popular Desert Wildflower Seed Mix. The Desert Native Seed Mix contains forbs, goldfields (Lasthenia californica), owl's clover (Castilleja exerta), chia (Salvia columbariae); shrubs, California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum var. foliolosum), apricot mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua); and grasses, Indian ricegrass (Stipa hymenoides), and desert needlegrass (Stipa speciosa) that all grow in the Mojave desert and are suitable for feeding a desert tortoise (adopted from the BLM--taking them from the wild is illegal). The Desert Wildflower Mix, which is currently on sale, contains owl's clover (Castilleja exerta), desert verbena (Abronia villosa), desert marigold (Baileya multiradata), California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), grape-soda lupine (Lupinus excubitus), showy penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis), bell-flowered phacelia (Phacelia campanularia), chia (Salvia columbariae), and apricot mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua).

Right now the Desert Wildflower Seed Mix is on sale. The packets are $2.00 each, 3 for $5.00, or 8 for $10.00. The new Desert Native Seed Mix packets sell for $3.00 each, 2 for $5.00, or 5 for $10.00.

Although the seeds may be planted in the fall or spring (after the last hard frost), the best time to plant in the high desert might be right now, in the late fall before the winter rains come. Prepare your site for seeding by removing all existing growth. Choose a site with a minimum of 6 hours per day of sun. Soil may be lightly raked but not tilled. Tilling dredges up weed seeds. Mix seeds in the packet with ¼ to 1 cup horticulture sand to facilitate scattering. Do not use sandbox sand as it contains weed seeds. Scatter one packet of evenly over an area of about 7 square feet per packet. Walk directly on top of the planted area or tamp with a seed roller. Do not cover seeds with soil; they need sun. Fall planting does not require intensive watering; blooms should appear in spring or early summer. For more information on sowing seed, visit https://www.ekcrcd.org/seed-store and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

If you sow in the spring, seeds may be stored inside or outside, but make sure they are stored in a cool, dark place without large fluctuations in humidity. If stored outside, they need protection from rodents and insects. Seed should be kept in a paper bag or envelope. Never store seed in a plastic bag or air-tight container. Moisture trapped inside could cause the seed to mold and ruin the sample. The bag should always be kept in a dry place.

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