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Perennial sources of starch and protein

 
Paulo Bessa
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Hi,

I am trying to list down which sources are there of perennial starch and protein.

I mean if you have nothing (and no animals) what can you rely on?
It must be filling and somewhat high yielding.

Perennial starch
For temperate climates: potatoes, chestnuts, figs, chinese yams, groundnut?, yampa?, prairie turnip?, arrowhead?, honey locust pods?, siberian pea?, mesquite pods?, carob pods?
For subtropical climates: taro, air potatoes, enset, sweet potatoes, banana and plantains, manihoc?, jicama?, dates?, avocado?
(I don´t include strickly tropical species as most of us do not live there)

Perennial protein
For temperate climates: runner beans, lima beans, groundnut, black walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecan, mulberry leaf?
For subtropical climates: pigeon peas, peanuts, chaya leaves?, chachafruto tree?, chipilin?

Any other ideas?
Or comments on these species?
What have you tried to grow and eat?

Any sources of perennial grain? And any other sources of perennial protein?
 
Leila Rich
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I think runner beans are great, and they grow where other things won't.
It's not perennial, but I'll broad beans (favas) mention
 
Eric Toensmeier
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Have you seen my article on perennial staple crops? perennialsolutions.org--> perennial farming systems.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm happy to see you mention Buffalo Gourd in that article, Eric. Even though we're in "Severe" drought according to the drought monitor map, this was a fabulous year for Buffalo Gourd in my neighborhood. I collected several bags of them easily along the roadsides.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Eric Toensmeier wrote:Have you seen my article on perennial staple crops? perennialsolutions.org--> perennial farming systems.


Hi Eric, yes, your article is great as is your book. I asked around to see if I could find any other crops someone might know. Particularly perennials for colder climates are harder to find.

So far I have none (runner beans do not grow where I am). Without having to wait to grow nut trees, I will bet first on groundnut (though I have to wait until october, until most suppliers start offering the tubers again). Indoors I have moringa but I still have to find a way of eating without that unpleasant horseradish scent. There are some native lupins that grow amazingly well in Iceland; these are non edible, but since they grow so well, I almost believe that there must be other pulses that could be easily grown on this cold climate, one of those would be probably groundnuts. Otherwise the only protein I can rely on are peas and broad beans outside in summer and beans in the greenhouse, as annuals, because of the lack of sunlight over the winter.

Starch-wise, I grow indoors sweet potatoes (but it´s not very practical) and I just started from seed yampa, chinese yams, arrowhead, honey locust, siberian peas and mesquites. Still too small the plants, I must wait a few years. I wonder which of these I could grow later outside, on this cold climate (probably only the arrowhead and the siberian pea). But since potatoes grow very easily here I believe I can establish perhaps other tubers and root crops to adapt for this climate. Plants that could store their energy in bulbs and roots would do great in Iceland. Andean tubers are not a choice because most set tubers only in short days (when winter arrives here). Sunchokes grow very well here but unfortunately they are not starchy crops. So I am still left only with potatoes and some skirret outside.
 
Eric Toensmeier
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Hi Paulo, this is for your project in Iceland right? I think we emailed about that. Groundnut, Chinese yam, hog peanut, skirret, sunchoke, arrowhead, hazel, some of the perennial grains being developed like rye and wheat. We have a perennial bean Phaseolus polystachios but it is undomesticated. Not bad eating though, you could do some breeding work.
 
Nicole Castle
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For self-sufficiency without animals, you also need to focus on vegetable sources of fat. You can live without protein and you can live without carbs, but your body MUST have fat in order to function. So I think it's important to include that as a category, even though I think most permies include animals in their systems. Nut crops are good sources of dietary fat and store well, but it's hard to grow enough to supply a year's worth.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Nicole Castle wrote:For self-sufficiency without animals, you also need to focus on vegetable sources of fat. You can live without protein and you can live without carbs, but your body MUST have fat in order to function. So I think it's important to include that as a category, even though I think most permies include animals in their systems. Nut crops are good sources of dietary fat and store well, but it's hard to grow enough to supply a year's worth.


Hi Nicole, I think it depends on each person: different metabolisms and differents tastes.

I eat mostly vegetarian, with the fat being mostly in form of daily milk, olive oil, and ocasionally eggs, nuts and fish. My body is thin but it´s ok with it, but it craves plenty carbs (starches) and protein. I do need to eat pulses almost daily, and carbs at every meal (rice or grains). Potatoes do not satisfy me much. My partner eats similarly.

Therefore, a permaculture project, for me, needs animals. Animals are great in converting non edible crops into edible protein and fat, which are harder to get from plants (especially in Iceland). We have community eggs, but we buy milk. Obviously I can´t grow olives in Iceland, and as far I am aware I never saw a nut tree in Iceland other than pines). That means my fat comes, mostly from the supermarket. Because of this, I eat also fish (also bought in supermarket or the rare local fishermen shops). Eating meat would be probably clever but my body dislikes it.

So I want to focus more in growing my own carbs and protein. Rice is out of question (unless I would build a water pond indoors). But I am experimenting with amaranth, quinoa, corn and millet indoors (and barley outdoors). What I think it would be most clever would be to establish some sort of grain outdoors, perennial of course. I heard of siberian rye, indian ricegrass but so far I couldn´t get a hold of those seeds. The key might be Eric´s recommendation in perennial grains.

I think we emailed about that. Groundnut, Chinese yam, hog peanut, skirret, sunchoke, arrowhead, hazel, some of the perennial grains being developed like rye and wheat. We have a perennial bean Phaseolus polystachios but it is undomesticated.


Eric: I really thank you for your new tips. Yes, it´s the Iceland project we have talked about. Basically, we will stay here over a few years and at the same time we are starting a project in the much warmer subtropical climate of Portugal. While we plant trees in there and wait for them, we live in Iceland and we also want to be the pioneers in permaculture in such a polar setting. But so far, our pioneer thing is a hard challenge

I might be probably following your footsteps Eric, because I can feel the need now to focus more in perennial staples rather than just perennial edibles. Anyways, perennials seem tghe logical choice in Iceland, because annuals suffer due to short and erratic summer, winds, bird and slugs attacks, that perennial seem to fare much better. (Natives flora is almost all perennial)

Do you know the sources / suppliers for seeds of those perennial grains?

Regarding the sunchokes: I am growing a lot of them, for my first sucessful year (because last year, my first year, I lost my sunchokes to slugs) so I wanna try some nice filling recipes. I hope that by cooking them well, I can have a filling sensation as with potatoes. Sunchokes are great because they can easily grow outdoors, survive our cold winters and thrive well in the cold frosty summers.

I also have indoor yacon (because I love the plant), it crops amazingly well, and it is a fresh taste (though not filling), I am not sure it could be a staple.

The groundnuts are the next on my "things I must have" list. I think it will be a hit. I also recently ordered arrowhead and earthnuts (both lathyrus and conopodium), but not yet the hog peanut.

I will check those perennial beans. I am unsure whether they could thrive in Iceland. The summer seems too cold. This year I manage to have runner beans and peas outdoors, but only in containers (I guess they are very sensitive to soil temperature). The plants in the soil almost do not grow. But interestingly squash grows very well to my surprise, after it adapted. But I doubt any perennial gourd would survive the winter.

Finally, the last research I need to do, is concerning cold resistant (and hopefully fast growing) nuts. Maybe some manchurian or siberian types of walnuts and hazelnuts. Well, in Iceland trees go extremely slowly, but things like poplars, rowans and spruces grow quite "fast". Any related crop would be a success.

It has been a great discussion!
 
Shawn Harper
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Everyone always forgets the nettles when protein sources come up.
 
Walter Jeffries
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For starch we eat a lot of potatoes.

For protein we eat meat and beans. Both easy things to grow in our northern climate.

We also eat a lot of tomatoes, squash and pumpkins. The harder squash, pumpkins keep well through the winter.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Protein-wise, we cannot grow beans outside, climate is too cold, unless it is in a container, so that the soil is warmer. Peas and broad beans are easier to grow here.
Since we have plenty of invasive lupins thriving and invading Iceland, I guess there must be perennial legumes that could be a staple for Iceland. I will try to get the hog peanut, thicket bean, siberian pea and groundnut, for protein.

For starch we can grow potatoes (easy for Icelandic summer), and I will try the chinese yams and arrowheads for starch. We grow sucessfully sunchokes, swedes, parsnips, scorzoneras, skirrets, but I am not sure whether these can be starch staples.

So far I was not able to grow pumpkins, but since I can grow squash maybe I am missing a cold weather variety of pumpkin. Any idea on this?

Anyone knows hardy varieties of hazelnuts and walnust?


Please let me remember everyone that our summer is colder than in Alaska, Siberian or Canada. Alaska, Siberia or Canada are continental climate, the summers are warmer.

Today for example we are having a max temp of about 40ºF (5ºC). But in June, July and early August we often reach maxs of 10-15ºC (50-60ºF) but still with ocasional frost at night.







Walter Jeffries wrote:For starch we eat a lot of potatoes.

For protein we eat meat and beans. Both easy things to grow in our northern climate.

We also eat a lot of tomatoes, squash and pumpkins. The harder squash, pumpkins keep well through the winter.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Paulo Bessa wrote:Protein-wise, we cannot grow beans outside, climate is too cold


According to Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland your temperatures are almost identical to those at our house - we're in the northern part of Vermont up in the mountains so don't use data from the warm weather station on the lake which is much warmer than most of the rest of the state due to the lake effect. Perhaps you're high in the mountains too and cooler but that just means use the orientation, rock heating and micro-climate sheltering even more. You've said in other posts that you don't want to do greenhouses but perhaps try removable covers on frames as that would extend your season - works for us.

This year we're enjoying a very warm year and appreciating it. But we can't count on it as some years are so cool that most crops fail. This is why having animals integrated into our agriculture is so important. They can eat grasses and other forages we can not consume, turning those pasture feeds into high quality meat and fat that get us through the bad years. This is in addition to the manure benefit and grazing maintenance benefit of livestock as well as the organic pest control offered by poultry.

We grow beans (protein), peas (protein), pumpkins, tomatoes, sunflowers (protein), sunchokes (starch), potatoes (starch) with ease. We do have trouble with melons, peppers and corn - some years they are okay but rarely unless I use cover. I think that if you work on establish appropriate soil, solar exposure angle and microclimate you'll do quite well. It does require some technique and establishment of infrastructure. Try raised beds as they help to warm the soil. Try dark soil on a slope facing south by south east with a wind block on the windward side.

Paulo Bessa wrote:So far I was not able to grow pumpkins, but since I can grow squash maybe I am missing a cold weather variety of pumpkin. Any idea on this?


My favorite are varieties on the Connecticut Field pumpkins. Not sure what they are called in your area. Looks like the top picture on this page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumpkin

Paulo Bessa wrote:Anyone knows hardy varieties of hazelnuts and walnuts?


We have both of those and beech nuts as well as many wild fruit such as raspberries, black raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, thimble berries and apples growing wild in addition to strawberries apples and pears we've planted. This might be very good choices for your climate since you're so similar to our climate. They all do very well here.

Paulo Bessa wrote:Please let me remember everyone that our summer is colder than in Alaska, Siberian or Canada. Alaska, Siberia or Canada are continental climate, the summers are warmer.


Those are pretty big areas. Some of which are quite warm and some of which are quite cold, depending on how close they are to the ocean and the ways the winds and currents flow. For example, in Wiki it says that Iceland is quite warm comparatively to it's latitude due to the currents. "The climate of Iceland's coast is subpolar oceanic. The warm North Atlantic Current ensures generally higher annual temperatures than in most places of similar latitude in the world. Regions in the world with similar climate include the Aleutian Islands, the Alaska Peninsula, and Tierra del Fuego, although these regions are closer to the equator. Despite its proximity to the Arctic, the island's coasts remain ice-free through the winter. Ice incursions are rare, the last having occurred on the north coast in 1969." Of course, I'm sure there are variations with some locations being colder such as perhaps where you are. Again, I suggest optimizing with orientation, angle, rock, wind shelter and the use of covers be they remove-able or solid greenhouses. All of these things can make a huge difference in maintaining a micro-climate that greatly extends and enhances your season. The other big thing is adding animals to the mix. There is a reason that animals are a part of the sustainable, traditional permaculture diet of native peoples in cold climates around the world - they can convert things we can't eat into high quality, nutrient rich food and store it over to winter.
 
Brenda Groth
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just quick look thru posts so didn't notice if anyone mentioned acorns..they can be leached and used in flour as a starch and I believe a protein source as well..also try to look at things that the american native people used as food sources..

and even if you don't raise your own animals, if you aren not vegan you can eat wild caught animals..esp if you are starving and have to..a net thrown over a group of doves will give you fresh fowl, and of course if you have wild turkey and pheasants they are also great as well as water birds..then there are all kinds of 4 legged critters that are catchable..
 
Paulo Bessa
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Hi Walter, thanks for your tips.

However our climate is different than yours. We have a "polar maritime" climate while you have a "continental temperate" climate. We probably don't have as colder freezes during the peak of the winter, but we do have much colder summers (if we can call it a summer).

I am glad you can grow beans, pumpkins, tomatoes with ease outside. We can't. Today we had already a big freeze, the soil is now frozen in the morning. I just went outside and we have frost for the third morning in a row, but tonight the soil even froze to some depth because the day temps have been barely above freezing. Where I live, the only frost-free season is between mid June and mid August.

However we don't quit. You do have plenty greenhouses in Iceland, heated cheap by geothermal energy, so it's possible to grow everything indoors for half of the year. But'that is not the whole fun. I really want to test the limits of what we can grow outdoors. Next year I will try tomato varieties from Siberia (because they usually grow but don't set fruit in time, due to low temperatures). With peppers, I just received seeds from rocoto chillies, apparently they are much hardier than others (and are a true perennial).

The thing I would love most to be able to grow outside would be pumpkins. I could plant 2 month old plants outside in June, and then hope they would have everything ready in 2 months, by mid August. Which variety do you grow? I am also seeking suppliers to order hardy varieties of cereals. do you know some? I tried to find siberian rye with success.

Other than that I will base my next year in perennial staples, based in some of Eric's suggestions: chinese yams, hog peanuts, thicket beans, groundnut, scorzonera, and everything else indoors, apart from the common potatoes and sunroots outdoors, and beans indoors. We want to be pioneers in doing permaculture this far north and this far into the polar climate.

My biggest question now is what to do with the perennials I have inside the greenhouse? In winter, we will have 2 months where the sun does not shine over our house, because it hangs too low over the horizon and since we are set in a small valley, it is hidden behind. Temperature is not a problem, it can be set always warm; but I don't think a strong light is enough (but I will try them). The other alternative is to move seedlings outdoors, and hope they survive the winter. These seedlings are about 3 inch tall, and include asparagus, mulberries, apple trees, bamboos, seaberries, honey locust, mesquites. I will probably keep some indoors, some outdoors. But I have some plants I must keep indoors at all cost and hope for their survival, like yacon, moringa, goji berry....



Walter Jeffries wrote:
Paulo Bessa wrote:Protein-wise, we cannot grow beans outside, climate is too cold


According to Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland your temperatures are almost identical to those at our house - we're in the northern part of Vermont up in the mountains

We grow beans (protein), peas (protein), pumpkins, tomatoes, sunflowers (protein), sunchokes (starch), potatoes (starch) with ease. We do have trouble with melons, peppers and corn - some years they are okay but rarely unless I use cover. I think that if you work on establish appropriate soil, solar exposure angle and microclimate you'll do quite well. It does require some technique and establishment of infrastructure. Try raised beds as they help to warm the soil. Try dark soil on a slope facing south by south east with a wind block on the windward side.
 
Alex Brands
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Nicole Castle wrote:For self-sufficiency without animals, you also need to focus on vegetable sources of fat. You can live without protein and you can live without carbs, but your body MUST have fat in order to function.


I agree on fats and carbs, but not on protein. Our bodies are not able to synthesize amino acids for protein synthesis from scratch, they must be obtained from the diet. If you do not eat sufficient protein, you will die. Strictly speaking, you could consume amino acids rather than protein, but I wouldn't guess that's what you mean. If you do not eat sufficient protein, you will die. Fortunately, it's unlikely to occur if you are consuming a variety of whole foods

Alex
 
Paulo Bessa
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No need to discuss what is long known. You need plenty calories (starchy carbs and fruits sugars), complete protein sources (vegetarian combinations of pulses and cereals, eggs, diary, fish or meat), a minor amount of oils (meat, fish, vegetable oils or perhaps through some nuts and seeds) and a minor amount of minerals and vitamins (widely present in different fruits and veggies).

We don't need to argue about this. Now, each person has its own diet and also personal tastes, and also different metabolism. I like to eat 90% vegetarian, with a little bit of milk every day, and ocasionally eggs and fish. I like to eat lots of cereals or corn (my favs are quinoa, rice and rye), lots of pulses (my favs are beans, chick peas, black eye peas and sometimes lentils or tofu - soy beans), and I eat daily diverse vegetables and fruits, sometimes berries and often I also like to eat raw salads (fresh vitamins and taste). I get my fat from using olive oil every day in cooking, the milk, and the ocasional seeds, nuts and eggs.

So my idea of self-sufficiency goes for growing exactly my needs. Which for someone else, even with a permaculture mind, is different.

But yes, perennial sources of fat, vitamins and minerals are also important. The perennial (plant) fat is more challenging to grow, because other than nut trees, avocados, coconuts or olive oil, I can't think of a herbaceous or shrub perennial for fat, for temperate climates.

If you think of annuals, we can rely in growing peanuts, sunflower, sesame, and also pumpkin, for seeds.






Alex Brands wrote:
Nicole Castle wrote:For self-sufficiency without animals, you also need to focus on vegetable sources of fat. You can live without protein and you can live without carbs, but your body MUST have fat in order to function.


I agree on fats and carbs, but not on protein. Our bodies are not able to synthesize amino acids for protein synthesis from scratch, they must be obtained from the diet. If you do not eat sufficient protein, you will die. Strictly speaking, you could consume amino acids rather than protein, but I wouldn't guess that's what you mean. If you do not eat sufficient protein, you will die. Fortunately, it's unlikely to occur if you are consuming a variety of whole foods

Alex
 
Alex Brands
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Paulo Bessa wrote:No need to discuss what is long known. You need plenty calories (starchy carbs and fruits sugars), complete protein sources (vegetarian combinations of pulses and cereals, eggs, diary, fish or meat), a minor amount of oils (meat, fish, vegetable oils or perhaps through some nuts and seeds) and a minor amount of minerals and vitamins (widely present in different fruits and veggies).

We don't need to argue about this.


I hope my post did not come across as argumentative, I was simply trying to point out an error in another post. I do think it worth pointing out something that is long known if someone seems to not be aware of it.

Alex
 
Cj Sloane
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Sea-buckthorn is a perennial shrub with a fruit high in fat:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea-buckthorn

Paulo Bessa wrote:The perennial (plant) fat is more challenging to grow, because other than nut trees, avocados, coconuts or olive oil, I can't think of a herbaceous or shrub perennial for fat, for temperate climates.
 
Paulo Bessa
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No problem Alex, your reply was useful.
Eating protein is necessary, and we must eat always the necessary amino acids. In meat, that is easy, but in vegetables, we often must do combinations of pulses with cereals, to have a complete amino acid profile. Other vegetables are so low in carbs and amino acids, that if we would only eat them, we would probably starve. That's why staples for protein and starch interest me. As a vegetarian, I am dependant in pulses, cereals, milk and ocasionally eggs.

Interestingly, and since we were talking about this (and to further demonstrate your point), natives from Greenland often ate in the past a diet of almost only fish. They would get their whole protein and energy from fat rather than starchy carbs. They would not eat nearly no vegetables (rarely available in Greenland), perhaps raw organs (to have vitamins), and probably seaweed.

In Iceland people would eat sorrel (mountain sorrel where the climate is really extreme) and angelica, to get vitamin C. I think they would also cook moss campion. It's widespread here, even at the highlands, probably also at Greenland, but I never tried it. Finally, you can eat silverweed, which has starchy roots, but that is more of a famine food. And bark of spruce is another famine food (must be horrible). Centuries ago, outlaws that escaped to the Icelandic highlands were known to survive there over the winter by eating almost only angelica roots and dried horsemeat.

Alex Brands wrote:
Paulo Bessa wrote:No need to discuss what is long known. You need plenty calories (starchy carbs and fruits sugars), complete protein sources (vegetarian combinations of pulses and cereals, eggs, diary, fish or meat), a minor amount of oils (meat, fish, vegetable oils or perhaps through some nuts and seeds) and a minor amount of minerals and vitamins (widely present in different fruits and veggies).

We don't need to argue about this.


I hope my post did not come across as argumentative, I was simply trying to point out an error in another post. I do think it worth pointing out something that is long known if someone seems to not be aware of it.

Alex
 
Nicole Castle
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Alex Brands wrote:
Paulo Bessa wrote:No need to discuss what is long known. You need plenty calories (starchy carbs and fruits sugars), complete protein sources (vegetarian combinations of pulses and cereals, eggs, diary, fish or meat), a minor amount of oils (meat, fish, vegetable oils or perhaps through some nuts and seeds) and a minor amount of minerals and vitamins (widely present in different fruits and veggies).

We don't need to argue about this.


I hope my post did not come across as argumentative, I was simply trying to point out an error in another post. I do think it worth pointing out something that is long known if someone seems to not be aware of it.

Alex


I didn't find it argumentative - you are 100% correct. I'm not sure where my brain was.
 
Lana White
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How about growing buckwheat? It is one of the few grains that contain all the essential amino acids, and it has starch. Grains do have some fat, though usually not much. Buckwheat is a short season grain and can be grown in cool weather. It also helps fix nitrogen, so it is good for the soil also.

You may not have oaks there, but acorns are high protein, high fat and absolutely delicious when fixed right. I think most hazelnuts are cold hardy if you mulch them heavily in winter. Beachnuts are good, and you might be able to grow black walnuts (although they take years to grow).

Silverweed is a good perennial root crop and maybe you can grow yampa there. Evening primrose has edible roots. Biscuitroot, camas, balsamroot, prairie turnip, breadroot, edible lilies like daylilies, salsify...all might be grown there. Root crops don't usually mind colder weather, even cool summers.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Lana White wrote:How about growing buckwheat?

Silverweed is a good perennial root crop and maybe you can grow yampa there. Evening primrose has edible roots. Biscuitroot, camas, balsamroot, prairie turnip, breadroot, edible lilies like daylilies, salsify...all might be grown there. Root crops don't usually mind colder weather, even cool summers.


Hey Lana, thanks for your suggestions!

Yes, indeed these root crops can be grown here. So far I am growing only scorzonera (black salsify); silverweed grows as a native here, it grows very well and spreads quite agressively (but I dont mind). I havent tried eating silverweed yet, the roots are quite thin but very abundant. It stands a pure sand or gravel soil. It even grows out from the asphalt. Have you tried eating it?

I have tried the buckwheat last summer but the seedlings eventually died down. I do not know what happened but I will agressively try it again next year! I agree that its a perfect crop for here.

Prairie turnip and biscuitroot and yampa: I have sown these and I will wait for them. Any experience with these? So far, no seeds have germinated.

I will check the other suggestions! Thanks!

I am also starting trying chinese yams, skirret and hardy bamboos (though its not really a root).






 
Lana White
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I have prairie turnip, yampa, and camas roots planted...will see what they do by spring (they should flower but will have to wait about 3 years for good roots). We have some wild camas growing here, but I ordered some of my own roots, just to spread them around. I have not tasted the root plants yet because I don't want to kill the plants unless it is necessary due to food shortages.

I am planting mostly a wild garden this year (mostly roots that also are attractive plants) and spreading seeds in a meadow in back of us...guerilla gardening!

The whole plant of silverweed is edible and good, not just the roots.

Do you know if hazelnuts would do okay there? I have read that they have the HIGHEST protein and fat of any other nut. They will probably grow there as bushes rather than trees and have lots of suckers that can be transplanted as well.
 
dj niels
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Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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Thanks for the ideas on perennial staples. I am still trying to find some that can take the contrasts here between hot and cold--my sunchokes are doing great, and perennial onions, but I don't know if some of the others mentioned will survive here or not (I often see references to someone who talks about picking kale even in the snow, etc- but here, with the freeze-thaw cycles, my kale was all dead by the end of November.)


Not to be argumentative, but actually, except for a very few foods like apples and poi (I think), almost every fruit and vegetable, even lettuce, contains amino acids, which are the basis of proteins. And even the lady who started the whole "food combining" thing, stated in a later book that it is not necessary to eat all the amino acids at the same time, as long as we eat a varied diet, we get enough. Our bodies have the capacity to store up amino acids from one meal to combine with those eaten later. So as long as we don't just eat one kind of food, we get enough protein to maintain health. Most people, if they eat enough calories to stay healthy, also get enough amino acids (proteins). And most people in the developed world probably eat too much protein (the time in our life that we need the most protein is in the first 6 months of life, when a baby doubles its weight in a few months. Mother's milk is the perfect food for a baby during those 6 months, and is only 5 percent protein. So unless someone has a serious health issue, or maybe during pregnancy or nursing or recovering from an injury, etc, most people likely would never need a higher protein level than 5 % of our dietary calories. And that amount can be supplied by a diet of fresh fruits, veggies, maybe some whole grains or potatoes or other starchy foods, and a few nuts and seeds. The most essential portion of our food, and the hardest now to supply from commercial sources, are the vitamins and minerals that are no longer found in the same quantity as they were 50 or 100 years ago (tests have shown that in order to supply the same amount of iron and other nutrients as formerly found in a bowl of spinach, one would have to eat 20 bowls of spinach, for example.)

That is one reason I try to grow my own food, is because the essential nutrients are no longer found in our food. Starches and sugars are easy to find, and fairly cheap, so even if we can't grow all of our own food, growing the nutrient dense foods for vitamins and minerals is more essential, in my opinion.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1331
Location: northern California
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Fat is the huge challenge in any climate where the olive, the coconut, and the avocado do not grow. Most such places long ago relied on animal fats, from pork and goose fat to marine mammals of all sorts. More recently, annual oilseeds came into play...such as canola. I have a hard enough time imagining how to press olives for oil on a homestead scale, much less anything smaller. But given your commitment against animal fats, I think seed and nut oils from whatever you can grow, annual or perennial, is your last hope. Not only canola but any brassica...radish, mustard, broccoli even! Any king of nut you can get to grow.
What about wild rice (Zizania)?
 
Nicole Alderman
pollinator
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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duck forest garden hugelkultur
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I couldn't resist BUMPing this thread, as there is so much good information here, and I'd love to know if people know of any other perennial staple crops. If you've grown some of these--or any not listed-which ones worked the best, and which ones did not?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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One of the primary staple food plants for the native folks here was Sotol Dasylirion texanum. It has an edible stem which was a major source of carbohydrates. I've planted quite a lot of it on our place, but we don't eat it as it is difficult to prepare.
 
Bettina Bernard
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I want to second the notion of nettles as a good source of carbs and proteins. Good for you in the spring, when it is tender. You can harvest later too, let it wilt and feed it to livestock. If the seeds will ripen in a short summer like Iceland they are also a good source of fats. Furthermore, I think tjat mushrooms are a good source of carbs and proteins, be it Iceland or further south. There are several native species there, plus you could an a more aggressive species like oyster mushrooms and cultivate it indoors on waste material like cotton fabric, books, or coffees grinds.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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