Pennycress or (Thlaspi arvense L) is a member of the mustard family and it grows as a winter annual. It has little florets that grow low so they provide a cover for over-wintering plants. So, it is able to be an effective ground cover without being too much competition for your other plants. Pennycress germinates in the fall and finishes its growing cycle in the late spring so it will not compete for light or nutrients with your summer crops!
Pennycress seeds and leaves can apparently be harvested and eaten! They are somewhat spicy and peppery so they make a nice spice and go well with heaps of dishes. You can learn how to harvest them here.
Also, apparently pennycress is a viable option for biofuel!
Here is Paul's video with Helen Atthowe about pennycress!
What are other people's experiences with pennycress?
Deb Rebel wrote:I am talking to a place that is encouraging farmers to grow pennycress for the seed for oil and other use, it can be made into biofuel it seems. The place is, www.growpennycress.com and there is a phone # (Minnesota) to talk to 'Seth'. At the time I'm typing this I'm going straight to voicemail as I think he's on phone. For the permaculture people, they might be willing to provide seed if enough want it. (I know this stuff, where I grew up it was a rampant weed; some places have issue with it because of 'invasive' status. Montana is in the native range of it) Maybe it will take just having to send some people out from the lab area to hunt some up and gather seed? I started phonetag, I'll post updates.
Funny. Was just gonna post the same info. Any luck with this?
Deb Rebel wrote:I'll let everyone know, I'm currently playing phone tag (talk to the voice mailbox) and waiting for a reply.
As for 'just about to post this' .... great minds think alike?
Depends on how wide the spectrum of greatness is. Thought you could "get anything on the internet" but am too often surprised by what one can not readily locate when it comes to gardening and thc like. Still looking for a sycamore fig (tree). Hope your search is successful.
Yeah, I know about how wide or narrow the definition sometimes. Still waiting on callback here, and I emailed the pennycress place.
They would like to know how much seed we are looking for (they are used to dealing with providing to farmers that are planting at least 40 acres at once) and I have indicated we are looking for less than that amount. They also said it's more than a bit late for a fall sowing. If someone would let me know how much seed I will let them know. Thanks.
I'm doing a similar experiment with chickweed, also a winter annual most winters here and an excellent ground cover...along with dead nettle, a plant I couldn't stop if I had too.
I am wondering now about a cover of all three together...bees also like the dead nettle and it survives a bit later into the spring.
Is this the same plant?
Cassie Langstraat wrote:Pennycress germinates in the fall and finishes its growing cycle in the late spring so it will not compete for light or nutrients with your summer crops!
In my garden, pennycress is just now maturing seed. But my summer crops had to be planted a month ago. I haven't been successful planting crops during the summer for harvest in the fall. So if I grew pennycress, I guess I'd have to plan on the after-pennycress crop being something like a cover-crop, or a fall planted crop like wheat or garlic.