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Volunteer Grain ID Needed

 
Michael Newby
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Had this volunteer spring up and I noticed little round grains forming so now I want to know if this is something I want to encourage, whether for chicken feed or for personal consumption, or if I should just pluck it and toss it in the compost pile (which really needs more biomass).
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Plant Base and Leaves
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Seed/Grain Head
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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I could be wrong but it looks like sour dock or something similar.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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We call that 'curly dock' over here. There are reports that dock seed is edible, but I think it would need to be a pretty bad famine for me to consider eating it
Dock drives farmers here nuts: stock won't eat it and it can form dense monocultures in grass monocultures...
But its massive taproot mines all sorts of goodies. It makes powerful 'tea'. ' Very, very stinky tea, that I'd generally run through the compost. Highy-protein plants like comfrey and dock=extra pongy.
Dock is a pioneer plant and thrives in acidic, poor, compacted, anaerobic soil. It's very fond of alkaline, rich, friable, aerobic soil too!
I'd cut the seed stalk and leave it in water till it rots. Watch out: dock seed will mature if cut green and left on the ground. The roots survive hot compost.
I'm certainly not saying "eek, get rid of it", and dock may well act very differently for you, but in NZ, it's ability to survive and dominate needs to be treated with great respect.
 
Saybian Morgan
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Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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I have that plant and have been trying to spread it like mad as the ducks and rabbits tare into it so i'm always running out, I'm glad to know i can save the seeds green so I can get them in the ground and sprouted this season. Do you know if drying them damages the ripening if it's too fast like a dehydrator. I can dry cold right now and it takes 5-7 days or dry hot and it would be done overnight. I'd probably plant them in bands butted up against alfalfa, I'm a fight invasive with invasive type, japanese knotweed makes great shade vegetation in the duck pen and the pen is bordered by a cedar hedgerow. arch angel mint fights buttercups while feeding the rabbits and the buttercups feed the bees and ducks in spring. Alone I would probably go crazy but with everyone balanced with each other I probably cultivate more weeds than plants.
 
Michael Newby
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Compost pile it is! The chickens don't seem too interested in it and after doing a little research I've found that while sort of edible there are many other better options. At least it's a good accumulator. Thanks Craig and Leila for the id.
 
Michael Newby
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Compost pile it is! The chickens don't seem too interested in it and after doing a little research I've found that while sort of edible there are many other better options. At least it's a good accumulator. Thanks Craig and Leila for the id.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Michael Newby wrote:Compost pile it is! .

Watch out though, I really mean this:
Leila Rich wrote: The roots survive hot compost.

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole plant survives. Also, dock's like dandelion, comfrey etc: any tiny peice of root will regrow if it's left in the ground.
Saybian Morgan wrote: Do you know if drying them damages the ripening if it's too fast like a dehydrator.

Saybian, I don't know. Considering how tough the plant is, I wouldn't be surprised if it's fine...but the green-seed-ripening thing I'm familiar with relates to seed on the stem, left out in the elements, and I suspect time and weather may be a factor. Try it and report back!
What happens if you cut and leave it under the snow? Does tough seed survive what I assume is a long snow season?
I've definitely never known anyone to be pleased that dock seed ripens from green
 
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