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Native Plants, Family Forests, Corn Mazes, 21 Acres

Posted by | August 6, 2008

New Greenhouse Encourages Return of Native Plants

A new, 1,650-square-foot greenhouse dedicated to propagating native plants and environmental restoration was dedicated yesterday, Aug. 5, on the WSU Tri-Cities campus.

The Native Plant Greenhouse and Nursery project will benefit environmental restoration efforts in the region, including at the Hanford Site and the Hanford Reach National Monument, by providing a wider variety of native plants and seeds in greater quantities than previously available.

“Whether it’s cleaning up waste sites or tearing down contaminated buildings, revegetation becomes a major part of our efforts,” said Dave Brockman, site manager for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Richland Operations Office. “Using native plants as opposed to non-native species is a sound practice because native plants have a higher survival rate.”

“I view this as a new branch of agriculture,” Steven Link, WSU extension ecologist and associate scientist in the school of biological sciences, told the Tri-City Herald.

Another clear advantage of the program is that it provides WSU with the ability to teach students–through the greenhouse and nursery facility–the fundamentals of economic restoration, the skills needed to restore habitats, and the importance of collaboration.

“As a key user, we look forward to conducting research projects and education together,” said Stuart Harris with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. “We both have worked towards this for several years, and view this as a major step towards building regional expertise in native plant research and restoration.”

For more information on WSU research to help in the Hanford clean-up effort, please visit

For more information on WSU Tri-Cities, please visit

For more information on native plants in eastern Washington, please visit

Indian Camas or Quamash (Camassia quamash)

Indian Camas or Quamash (Camassia quamash). The name Quamash is a Nez Perce term for the plant’s bulb, which was gathered and used as a food source by tribes in the Pacific Northwest. The bulbs were harvested and pit-roasted or boiled by women of the Nez Perce, Cree, and Blackfoot tribes. It also provided a valuable food source for the members of the Lewis and Clark expedition (1804-1806).

Family Forest Owners Field Day August 23

Recovery from last winter’s windstorm and flooding damage will be an area of focus for the Regional Family Forest Owners Field Day, scheduled Saturday, Aug. 23, near Naselle.

“Southwest Washington and northwest Oregon were hit hard by 36 hours of winds last December,” said Andy Perleberg, Washington State University Extension forestry educator. “The coastal forests were besieged and small landowners were hit especially hard. This field day will provide information and skills to help landowners make sound decisions to protect and enhance their rural lifestyle, the health and beauty of their forests and their financial investment.”

The field day will offer presentations on more than 20 topics, including many topics focusing on helping landowners devastated by storm damage: salvaging blowdown, managing a timber sale, reforestation, forest health, thinning and pruning, and more.

Registration information is available online ( or contact Andy Perleberg at (509) 667-6540 or if you have any questions.

Andy Perleberg, Forestry Extension Educator

Andy Perleberg, Forestry Extension Educator

Amazing Corn Mazes at Next Farmer-to-Farmer Workshop

The next workshop in Washington State University Snohomish County Extension’s Farmer-to- Farmer series explores what it takes to develop a corn maze on the farm, including design, development and maintenance.

The workshop is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 11, starting at 10 a.m. at Bob’s Corn, 10917 Elliot Road, Snohomish. Self-taught corn-maze master Bob Ricci will explain how his family’s annual corn maze is designed and built using just a few basic tools. He’ll also discuss liability issues in bringing people on the farm as well as insurance, marketing and managing crowds.

While many corn mazes are created by specialty design companies, sometimes costing up to $10,000 to install each year, Ricci designs and creates his maze without computers or GPS systems. In the seventeen years since Ricci created his first one, the maze at Bob’s Corn has become a major source of on-farm income for the entire Ricci family, helping them keep the farm intact and profitable.

All Farmer-to-Farmer events start at 10 a.m. Cost for each event is $15 per person. Pre-registration is required and space is limited. To register, download the form ( and mail with your check, or contact Karie Christensen at (425) 338-2400, e-mail

Amazing corn mazes at Bob's Corn. Learning to build corn mazes from a maze master.

Amazing corn mazes at Bob’s Corn. Learn to build corn mazes from a maze master.

Farm Walk in the City

Connect with farming in an urban environment by attending the next Farm Walk at the 21 Acres Agriculture and Environmental Learning Center on August 18.

Participants will learn about the construction of the permanent farmers market, integration of animal husbandry into an urban setting, alternative pest management, and the on-site community gardens.

This farmer-to-farmer learning experience allows time for questions and answers at an advanced level, and an opportunity for farmers to share practices and strategies being used and the logic behind them. Community members are welcome to attend.

The Farm Walk is Monday, August 18 from noon to 3:30. 21 Acres is located at 13701 NE 171st Street in Woodinville. Directions and farm information is available at The cost is $10.00 for Tilth Producers members and $15.00 for non-members. Register on-site or pre-register by mailing a check to Tilth Producers, PO Box 85056, Seattle, WA 98145. Brown bag lunch recommended. Beverages provided.

Details about all Farm Walks are available at and

Planting peas at 21 Acres during student community service day.

Planting peas at 21 Acres during student community service day.