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What are your thoughts about Bindweed?

 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Hi again, Geoff,

What are your thoughts about bindweed, specifically Convolvulus arvensis and Calistegia sepium ..... in the spirit of the permaculture brilliant perception that the problem is the solution, as you referred to in your answer to a recent question about kudzu?

A very reputable expert in Ayurvedic medicine who has studied the deep ancient folk roots of Ayurveda said that Ayurveda started in Nepal, where they deemed Convolvulus arvensis to be Ashwaganda. When Ayurveda migrated to India , where Convolvulus arvensis does not grow, they chose another plant to serve those functions. Ashwaganda is one of the most powerful herbs in helping us detox radiation.

A water extract of Convolvulus arvensis has been found to inhibit angiogenesis (the formation of blood vessels which feed cancerous tumors.)

Both species have been eaten by some cultures. I have eaten Calistegia sepium and like it.

It would be worth reflecting deeply about if a plant which has such value, especially in the post nuclear world, had become the hated target of the burgeoning pesticide industry in the 50's, the decade when nuclear testing was quite common, and the virtues of this plant were actually needed.

It occurs to me that such a rapidly growing plant could impart growth promotion to other plants when used as a mulch.

I saw this with comfrey once when I had masses of it to cut back and the only open place to put it was beside some raspberries. So I piled huge, very long flowering comfrey about 3 1/2 feet high in a wide pile beside some raspberries and the following year the raspberry canes on the plant closest to the comfrey mulch were 14 feet long and the berries were almost the size of golf balls and tasted immeasurably better than any raspberries I ate before or since. The year after that the canes and berries were unusually large and good, but nothing like the year before. A memorable experience.

I have begun experimenting with this, but so far have no conclusive results.

I also wonder whether it could induce rooting, as willow does.

I believe that I read in the book, sepp holzer's Permaculture, that Sepp had used it in a similar way, and that Masanobu Fukuoka, dear man, in Sowing Seeds in the Desert, recommends using it in seed balls, presumably to induce rooting.

It would make sense to me.

It would be more responsible if I could quote where they said that, but I want to submit this question while I still have a chance to have you answer it. If I reread the books I might well miss out. I love those books so much that I devoured them at great speed, not stopping to take notes or highlight important parts, planning to reread them.

I often have such unconventional questions, which is why I love Permaculture, because it is a body of intelligence in which I often find delightful answers to my strange questions.

Thanks and Eternal Blessings,
Pamela Melcher

 
Shelly Randall
Posts: 73
Location: Central Valley California
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I really enjoy watching bindweed grow, but that is about all I do is watch it. It seems to grow all around here especially in the summer. Would be interested in finding out more about it, especially if it can be ingested by humans and beneficial. I envy your ability to absorb so many books on permaculture. Do you have any titles that you recommend for weeds?
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Sheila,

I think the main value in reading the permaculture books is to read what we love. I believe we will get what we need that way. I bought them when Chelsea Green had them on sale. If you get on their mailing list, which is free, they often have sales of 35% off various titles. May was the month of Permaculture Day, and lots of permaculture titles were 35% off for the month.

I learned most of what I know about Bindweed from a friend who is an herbalist, an awesome book that she suggested, called Invasive Plant Medicine: the Ecological Benefits and Healing Abilities of Invasives, by acupuncturist and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner Timothy Lee Scott, observation and internet research, just extensive, long Google searches, and reflection on actual experience.

The book, which I checked out from the library, discusses how plants deemed invasive actually very often are perfect to heal the damage we have done to the planet, and often heal what the toxicity of the planet has done to us, sometimes moving into an area before the illness becomes a problem. He explores 24 such plants in depth. He makes the point that if we had not disrupted nature, there would be no space for them to become invasive. It is brilliant. Very aligned with the permaculture idea that the problem is the solution. Much of the opposition to these plants has been fomented by, can you guess, the huge corporations which sell herbicides.

I always thought wild morning glory very beautiful, and so I always thought it must have some positive value. I just could not hate it.

I have found the permaculture idea that the problem is the solution to be true in many instances.

Do you mean books about edible weeds? Many "weeds" are edible, and quite tasty. Usually they are better for us than the cultivated veggies, because they often have deep roots and accumulate minerals at high rates. And they are free and we dont have to work to grow them. Great!!! One expert on wild edibles, Sergei Boutenko, gets 80% of his food from wild plants. It is best to have a teacher show you the wild plans. That is safest. At least you need very good photographs of plants for identification, so you do not eat a toxic plant. Poison hemlock, which broadly resembles Queen Anne's Lace, will kill you if you eat a piece the size of a pea. You have got to be careful and know what you are doing. I have found many good videos on Youtube with pictures. Some by Frank Cook and Sergei Boutenko are very good. I took a workshop with Frank Cook, and he was amazing. He traveled a lot in undeveloped countries and got some sort of parasite and is no longer in the physical. A great loss. Katrina Blair is another inspiring person who is into wild food. You can do internet searches for these three people and will turn up some good vids. John Kallas is another. John has written an excellent book, I do not remember the title. Samuel Thayer is another good author on wild edibles. He has some dvd's as well on his website.

I will look for links, but want to send this now before I lose it, as we have no way to save these as we go, or at least I have not figured out how to do so.

Or do you mean a book on another aspect of weeds?

To be continued.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Wild edible plant expert, John Kallas talks about how to learn about wild edible plants:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUwmILVCoSo
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Herbalist Frank Cook discusses wild nettles:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KNlYtfWknY
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Wild edible greens with Katrina Blair:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_CH5pd-xV8&feature=related
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Sergei Boutenko on lamb's quarters, a wild edible:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=0naZD9EpCwQ
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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A good book by Samuel Thayer on wild edibles. You can read the reviews on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Natures-Garden-Identifying-Harvesting-Preparing/dp/0976626616/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345286334&sr=1-1&keywords=samuel+thayer+edible

Another good book by Samuel Thayer on wild edibles:
http://www.amazon.com/Foragers-Harvest-Identifying-Harvesting-Preparing/dp/0976626608/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345286512&sr=1-2&keywords=samuel+thayer+edible
 
Shelly Randall
Posts: 73
Location: Central Valley California
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Yes, everything you shared is what I meant. It's really hard to find information about weeds and natives by knowledgeable people. What I know is from a few random internet searches and forums. What you shared is much appreciated. The approach that natives can cure and balance the system feels right. I just need someone with the practical knowledge to show the way. I never feel like I know enough. I'm a public school teacher, and the more I learn about permaculture, the more I wish it were in the curriculum.
 
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