The CCBER nursery and greenhouse prides itself in growing the finest local genotype restoration plant material available for our restoration projects. Grown organically from seed, spores, and propagules collected solely by CCBER staff, the nursery has grown over 200 species of locally native plants from grassland, oak woodland, coastal sage scrub, salt marsh, freshwater marsh, vernal pool, coastal dune, coastal bluff, and chaparral ecosystems (though the latter does not occur on campus). We blend our own soils and make our own compost from hand-pulled weeds, horse manure, local kelp and other ingredients to keep plants fed using no chemical fertilizers. The use of rich, locally made compost contributes to plant health and longevity in many ways, including the presence of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi often evident in our nursery stock. By making, rather than buying and importing compost, we ensure no new weeds are introduced to campus through our soils.
We involve students in the complete propagation process involving seed/plant collection, cleaning and sowing seed, stem and root cuttings, transplanting, making soil and compost, weeding and culling.
Depending on our growing schedule, our approximately .5 acre nursery houses upwards of 50,000 plants kept mainly in small 2” rose pots to conserve space. Plants are generally started in our shade house where germination occurs. After transplanting, they are usually moved into one of 3 greenhouses before being rotated outdoors. A combination of shade cloth and planted native trees in the nursery keeps microclimates ideal.
Our hydrophytes (wetland plants) are grown in custom built rectangular trays, lined with UV resistant rubber. This not only creates an ideal growing environment for wetland species, but provides an annual reproductive opportunity for pacific chorus frogs, who in turn help control fungus gnats and other insects in the nursery. Many other species of wildlife, from birds to bobcats use the wetland bins as a source of drinking water.