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about mallow

 
Leah Sattler
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I'm pretty clueless about mallow and their cultivation. I do know that they have a long history of, and are still used, as a food source. I like the fact that their native range is so widespread. to me, that equals a high liklehood of them being an extremely low input addition (if they don't already occur naurally on your property!)

what types of mallow are there? their specifc uses? growing condition preferences?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Here's Helen Atthowe talking about Malva neglecta out-competing quack grass on frequently-mown clover paths:

Video

It's called "cheese weed" because the seeds can be used as a toy wheel of cheese, sized about right for a doll house.

Mallow is everywhere in the SF bay area, unless some other species has been particularly rampant (blackberry, ivy, oxalis, real-estate developer).
 
tel jetson
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I've got some musk mallow (Malva moschata).  pretty carefree stuff.  edible leaves and flowers are very mild-flavored.  planted it as a perennial lettuce substitute, and it fills that role well.  the seeds are also edible, though I've never gone to the trouble of collecting them.

a baker friend of mine said that if I grow marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), she would make marshmallows with the roots.  seems like a fun project.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i have 4 varieties of mallow that are growing here..or malvas...there are the ones commonly called miniature hollyhocks that are really invasive. They have a tap root that goes to china..and reseed very prolifically. If anyone wants seeds i can give you some this summer, please message me for them ..I'm not sure about them as a food crop but the deer do like them so i throw some of the extra seeds in the wild ditches along the road and at the field edges of the woods, basically for deer browse (yeah i like my deer)

oh by the way, Bambi has turned out to be a little boy deer..we don't have a lot of bucks in our area so it is thrilling that my tame little deer is now turning into a little buck..his mama comes too but we KNOW she is a girl..

 
rose macaskie
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i have a plant or two in the garden but it is not at all invasive there. Maybe it depends on the soil. Paul Wheaton  , I put that in so that you can see i suck up to him even more thoroughly and in a minute i am going to mention him in another post, said dandylion likes chalk and mine only grows where there is building material in the soil so it seems to be very true. Funny how small tihngs make such a big difference to plants. I wonder what mallow likes.
  There is a photo of a mallow in a photo i have just posted in the forum, polycultures in arid? It is in the photo of how well the wild flowers grew the minute the sand in front of the house was given a bit of manure. It has a pale purple with with darker strips on it and with leaves that are palmate in the centre far left of the photo. The flowers look tiny but though they are not very big they should be a bit bigger than they seem here, maybe the plant needs more manure.
    I was told by  neighbors that the seeds are good for colds. The seed are mucilaginous, if the feel in your mouth is anything to go by. agri rose macaskie.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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rose macaskie wrote:
if the feel in your mouth is anything to go by.


It absolutely is!

There are digestive effects of mucilage, that are also good indicators.

rose macaskie wrote:I wonder what mallow likes.


The video I linked to suggests that it likes the combination of frequent mowing, and lots of greens sitting on the soil. In my neighborhood it looks like it thrives with heavy clay and diverse companions. This says "Mallow indicates a soil very rich in nitrogen, moisture fresh or intermediate and intermediate pH."

Also, regarding the mucilage, "The root, when cooked, yields a sweetish mucilage that is edible, and used for syrup, deserts, and lotions. The fruits are edible. Young leaves can be used in salads. The leaves are used to curdle milk to make cheese." That latter might contradict the "cheese weed" etymology I gave earlier.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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also the hollyhock is of the malva family and the petals of the flowers are nice in salads
 
rose macaskie
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Ha brenda groth has got in the right word malva, i have been wondering about the name i only said the first name that surfaced in my head when i mentioned it on another forum which is a bad idea it word coulod have come from anywhere. rose.
 
Matt Ferrall
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Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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To many good things to say about mallow and little time but briefly-Higher in vitamin A than any other plant by weight.My faves are M.moschata for tender summer greens(all summer if you cut back once or twice),M.sylvestrus for late season greens as the foilage can be quite hardy although it is better suited as a pot herb(Var.Mauritima proved to be not hardy for me),M.alcea is producing the earliest and can outcompete grass and produce some serious spring greens volume(best as a pot herb by summer).M.neglecta is best as a pot herb and thrives in hotter areas as a weed.
 
Matt Ferrall
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Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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Also I am very interested in learning more about the relationship with musilogenousness and carbohydrates as I have a gut instinct and have some bits of info come in that its nature is a close analoge to a carb.
 
rose macaskie
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You are right mountain goat, I have a book on food that turned out to be more scientific than i expected and that i have hardely read but it was usefull because it gives the different molecules or atr least a diagram of them with all their atoms,  protein molecules  and carbohydrate ones and oil ones and sugar ones etc., and they are all molecules with absolutely masses of carbon and hydrogen molecules so all bits of plants are likely to be full of carbon and hydrogen.

  Seeing the molecules of different types of organic matter sugars oils proteins and such and seeing how many carbon and hydrogen molecules are in them allows you to understand that plants aare a carbon sink collect and keep carbon keeping it out of the atmosqhere and in there tissues so while they live or befoer their parts have completely broken down they sequestra carbon keep it out of the air, so roll on the new sort of flooring we have bought that is concrete and wood shavings which will keep the wood sequestrade out of the air and in the concrete for years untill we have controled our excess of green house gasses anyway.
  Talking of which paper crete is an interestinhg theme to be found in you tube. It is about cheap bricks for poor builders and with good insulation properties. agri rose macaskie.
   
 
Travis Philp
gardener
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Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
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I was able to find a few chefs who've bought mallow from me at $10/lb. A moderate patch of it started sprouting in my garden a few years ago and it has now spread through much of the gardens, dotted here and there. So once you let it go to seed it should establish pretty well.
 
rose macaskie
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  Manure in the soil for nitrogen guzzelers like the mallow and the disadvantages of manureing as told by the permaculturist  Darren Doherty. and that the price paid farmer for sinking carbon is ridiculously little

      If  mallow only grows in my garden where we  have put manure then it likes plenty and Helen Atthowe the girl of the video posted by Joel Hollingsworth whose garden has filled with mallow is maybe using lots of fertiliser or the use of clover and leguminosas plants works very well for making a ground full of nitrogen.
      The only place nettles grow in my garden is where it borders with my neighbors which makes me wonder about where he relieves himself.some plants seeds only seem to take with a lot of nitrogen.

    One of trhe things on the Darren Dougherty tapes has to do with the problems of using a lot of manure. What he said that was new for me was that a farmer, he was criticising California a lot for bad farming practice and terrible laws on water harvesting, a Californian organic farmer had had only managed to create a thinish layer of good top soil after years of farming.
        Darren Doherty said the reason the organic farmer had so little top soil was that he had been feeding the plants so well with manure that they don't bother to put down deep roots so they only transform a small amount of soil, that at the top.
  Soil that is good, full of humus is soil that has sunk which is to say holds on to a lot of carbon the plants have taken up from the air.

  Darren Doherty  also pointed out that the amount that farmer get paid for carbon sinking was pitifull not enough to benefit the farmer while it paid for sinking an equivilent of all the carbon the person paying used in a year a lot of carbon.  maybe i have to listen to his explaination aagain but thewhat i say captures the gist of the arguement.

- I think california is so famouse and nice that it is normal to feel it can take a bit of criticism. I criticise Spain because i have been here so long and been given it so hard by Spaniards that i have learnt to hit back hard.

 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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rose macaskie wrote:Helen Atthowe...is maybe using lots of fertiliser or the use of clover and leguminosas plants works very well for making a ground full of nitrogen.

...a Californian organic farmer had had only managed to create a thinish layer of good top soil after years of farming.
         Darren Doherty said the reason the organic farmer had so little top soil was that he had been feeding the plants so well with manure that they don't bother to put down deep roots so they only transform a small amount of soil, that at the top.


She used to import manure in great quantities to support heavy applications of compost, but now increasingly relies on the clover. I think partly for the reasons you mention.

The mallow is growing on soil that has not been top-dressed for over a year, only mowed frequently with the intent to mimic grazing, the method Yeomans (Doherty's main source...I'm beginning to like the guy, too, except his advocacy of slash-and-burn of climax forest) recommends. Were the soil thin, the spike-rooted mallow would presumably not have such an advantage over quack grass.

I think she takes several measures against the hazard you mention, but you're absolutely right to point it out.
 
rose macaskie
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  It is usefull to ephasises that differetn plants really do only grow in certain sorts of soil I suppose its just mean to suggest she uses too much fertiliser. I heard about  wild plant life changing as your soil changes in a book of mine which also introduced me to the whole idea of mulches as usefull in a dry climate to retain moisture in the soil sort of putting a lid on it. Heidi Gildemeisters, "Gardening the Mediterranean Way, a waterwise approach to gardening". In Spanish,  "Su jardin mediteraneo, como crear un paradise verde con poco agua".
  Aparte from teaching about using mulches and that weeds change as your soil changes, gets richer or poorer, she talks of how to chose plants that live without help, such as irrigation, in the climte of your garden or soil. There are permaculturists in Mallorca where she gardens so she might be under some permaculture influences. agri rose macaskie.
 
paul wheaton
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If the mallow is such a great N scavenger, I wonder if it makes the soil shy of N afterward?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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paul wheaton wrote:
If the mallow is such a great N scavenger, I wonder if it makes the soil shy of N afterward?


Ms. Atthowe finds that a large amount of dead mallow incorporated into the soil, in various states of decay, means N is extremely available. Harvesting and selling the whole plant, though, would presumably draw out a lot.

The mallow/clover association seems to be a productive one.
 
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