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Steve -- Total Newbie outside of Missoula What to Plant?

Posts: 17
Location: NW Montana, Zone 4?
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Long story short I have about 10 acres of land in the mountains at about 4000 feet. I've stumbled on forest farming and it seems like a really good use for my land, but honestly, I don't know what would be best to grow in this area. We're mostly up and down and fairly rugged, but we do have some areas that look like I could put them to use. I attended a webinar on ramps and discovered the NW has wild onions too, but I'm not sure if it would work for us. I think we're Zone 4 where I live (it gets -30F occasionally). Suggestions?

Also, as an aside, could you or someone tell me if these are Oregon grapes? We have a boatload on the property.

Thanks in advance!

Posts: 27
Location: New York
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Hi Maggie.

That does look like oregon grape to me, from the photos. (Mahonia aquifolium) - not to be confused with vine grapes for eating/wine making. This seems like a good description of the plant and uses:

Onto your original question - the best way to know what will do well in your area is to get out there and explore! Learn the forest types of your region, and see what edibles and medicinal plants already thrive there. Then you can add in others. Nature, and our local ecosystems, are the best teacher.

Of course, I also have to mention mushooms again. Getting started with some inoculated logs equals a good, nutritious yield from your woods - and you can feel compelled do to some thinning of trees in a way the benefits the residual stand.

Posts: 63
Location: North Idaho, zone 5a
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Looks like Oregon grapes to me. My kid snacks on them all the time, but I find them too sour.
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