Creek Native Seed Farm - a farm where the native plants and the people
are deeply-rooted to the land. We are Wayne and Jacie Jensen, the farm owners,
and we have been farming and raising a family together for 26 years. Wayne is
a 3rd generation farmer on the fertile Palouse in the Inland Northwest.
Wayne and Jacie Jensen
Photo by Dean Hare/Moscow-Pullman Daily
As farmers and land stewards, we see many lessons to be learned from the short-grass prairie that once sustained this land and its soil for a millennium. Our short-grass prairie is called the Palouse Prairie. Over the past 120 years, the Palouse region has been shaped by agriculture’s use of the productive soils that roll from one dune into another like gentle waves of the sea. We are fortunate to farm this deep, rich land with short-grasses like wheat and barley, and legumes such as peas, lentils and garbanzo beans. It is part of my husband Wayne’s heritage, as it is for many families in the Palouse region.
We are also stewards of over 100 acres of historic Palouse Prairie on Paradise Ridge. From family hikes, we recognized this land as both rare on the Palouse, highly diverse in plant species, and breathtakingly beautiful in the profusion of wildflowers that abound on the site. We noticed that the prairie thrives in our arid summers, on our steep slopes and even on our poorest soils.
Wayne and I recognized that restoration and conservation of remaining Palouse Prairie patches depends on the availability of seed. Thorn Creek Native Seed Farm, our native seed and native plant operation, was started in 2004 from this simple question: “If our non-farmland produces Palouse Prairie native plants with only Mother Nature’s assistance, can we, as farmers learn from her and this land, and produce native wildflower and grass seed on our farmland? “ To find the answer to this question, we began producing native wildflowers and grasses on our farm.
Our original seed source is from seed collections made from our Palouse prairie on Paradise Ridge. These wild-collected seeds are then planted into a one-acre field, or a seed-increase plot. Currently we have 23 wildflower species in this plot. From June to October we harvest the seed to either sell, plant into tall pots or to put into 2 – 7 acre single species fields.
To expand the unique ecosystem of the short-grass prairies of the Inland Northwest, in 2007 we introduced a small landscape starter-kit called Prairiescapes. Our 2008 Prairescapes project includes 10 wildflower species and 3 grass species individually potted in 25 – 3in. X 8 in. pots. We found our deep-rooted prairie plants need tall pots so they room to grow while waiting to be put into our soils. Our 2008 Prairiescape plantings are available through regional nurseries. More information available here. In Fall of 2008 bulk seed and Spring 2009 a Prairiescape seed mix of Inland Northwest prairie wildflowers and grasses will be available. More information here.
Our 3rd generation farm is embracing our ancient landscapes. We hope you too can learn from the Palouse Prairie and its inhabitants as you observe it throughout the seasons with our Prairiescape plants and seeds. Our soils, native wildlife, such as native bees, butterflies, giant earthworms, Mountain bluebirds and red-tail hawks, and future generations are the beneficiaries of diverse native plantings.
Please browse the Thorn Creek Native Seed Farm web site for information on seeds, plants and instructions needed to enjoy an Inland Northwest Palouse prairie on your own land.
A sequence from
“A Palouse Paradise”, an Outdoor Idaho program, Idaho Public Television
“One of the positive things is that a lot of the people who do want to have a piece of the country, come into it for the right reason. And maybe what we all need to do, (those of us) who live out in the country, is to make sure that someone provides the services and the supplies to help them do a good job, and make them aware that what you have is pretty special so take care of it. And this is what we've learned.”
Jacie Jensen, interview with Bruce Reichert, Outdoor Idaho IPTV program - A Palouse Paradise.
1461 Thorn Creek Road, Genesee, Idaho 83832