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Introduced wild food  RSS feed

 
Heather Ward
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At my home in central New Mexico, my favorite wild greens from upstate New York don't occur naturally. I have managed to create patches of them by seeding and providing local moisture, and now have areas of "wild" nettles, chickweed, and curled dock. Amaranth and lambs-quarters grow everywhere here in the rainy season, so I'm never short of those. Would love to hear other suggestions for good greens to introduce, and would also love to hear the experiences of others in introducing "wild" or wild-crafted edibles to their area.
 
daniel voyles
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I would like more wild edibles in my yard/garden. I live in southern Indiana and I would like to know the best ones to grow. Any suggestions?
 
Heather Ward
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Daniel, do you already have lambs-quarters there? If not, that would be my first pick. They're incredibly nutritious, available late spring through summer, and mild in flavor. I don't like the texture in salads, but they excel as a mild cooked green that will always work in your favorite greens recipes. I love to make saag paneer with them.also, they "cushion" the taste of stronger greens in mixtures.
 
Honor Bateman
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Location: East Bay, California USDA zone 9
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I grow golden purslane. It is very high in omega-3 fats and can taste lemony or neutral depending on when it's picked. You can get seeds from Baker Creek.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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I'm partial to salsify:



Mine is beginning to go to seed, and I am going to have a lot of seed to give away. If you want some, send me a PM with your address and I will get you started with it.
 
BeeDee marshall
Posts: 47
Location: Vermont
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chicken forest garden fungi rabbit solar trees
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Not sure if this qualifies for "introducing", but we have been slowing moving some of our foraged foods (ramps, fiddleheads, orpine (lives forever), and trout lilies) closer to our Yurt. Most of these love wet, but the orpine might be something you would want to introduce. It tolerates dry conditions well and is hard to kill. It is a succulent and we really like it in our salads. We also planted some lambs-quarters around the chicken yard (on the outside) and they love reaching through the wire and plucking off a beak-full. We are slowly turning the area around the house into a place for dandelions, wild strawberries, and clover. The strawberries have been our biggest success. They seem to like the soot from our chimney that falls every time it is cleaned out, so we started putting it directly on the hungry plants. We also gather elderberry and native hazelnuts from the woods and plant them closer to our home as well as mushrooms. We are thinking of when we get older and may not be able to get out and about as well.
The wild ginger (as well as orpine) are in a mini-food forest right outside our back door. The mini-food forest started as a sawdust pile from a 1920's logging operation that eventually grew a lot of different trees. It is about 5 feet high with a 20 feet diameter. We cut most of the trees because they were blocking out solar panels and added wild food from the woods, some crab apples, service berries, mulberries and grow some annuals as well.


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Kevin Feinstein
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I don't think of "wild food" any differently than garden, farm, or landscaping plants. If a plant does grow wild in your area, then it is usually a well adapted plant and will be easy and sustainable to grow. I would take the same consideration in planting them as you would any other plant. Might it be too invasive in its growth like mint, which I do not recommend planting outside a container. Also an important consideration is how much of something do you really want to use/need. For instance, purslane is a weed in my garden, and I know of its virtues, but my chickens don't eat for some reason, and I can only have a little bit before feeling a bit weird (perhaps is the high oxalates.) I eat it, but only a fraction of it. Many "wild" edibles are this way. They might grow like crazy (which can be good) but you simply don't want to (or shouldn't) consume so much of it.

 
BeeDee marshall
Posts: 47
Location: Vermont
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chicken forest garden fungi rabbit solar trees
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Kevin Feinstein wrote:I don't think of "wild food" any differently than garden, farm, or landscaping plants.



I totally agree. After all, "wild food" was once the only food available. I have read that some indigenous peoples moved some wild food to their permanent and/or temporary camp sites. That makes sense as well. And thus "gardening" was started.

Where plant knowledge use to be something naturally passed along within the tribes, now we have a few dedicated and diligent people who pass along knowledge they acquire about wild edibles. I think most of us are quite grateful. Thanks Kevin for sharing your knowledge.
 
Erica Daly
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A few years ago, I was looking for things to grow in my yard so I can grow chicken food for the winter. Freezing and drying bamboo leaves was the start. Then lambs quarters, but I stopped buying lettuce and spinach, so there is not much to preserve this year. One mullein grew in my yard last year, now that one is at my new permaculture-learning friend's home. My method for introducing wild food is to find seeds and then cast them throughout my tiny yard, which has only partial sun. What grows well changes each year. Last year violets were a bumper crop, dandilions are fewer this year. But I have milkweed where I planted flax! I plan to collect the fluff and make a small pillow! My neighbor laughed when I told him the mullein was cowboy toilet paper, I told him plantain was good for small skin wounds, and looked high and low and finally found 2 lambsquarter plants. It is everywhere in my yard. Dock is growing in more places, but the chickens don't like it. I was going to try sprouting the seeds next. I apparently am spreading plantain to the driveway, which was dirt which I covered with wood chips to try to reduce desertification, and it appears to be working! So what ever I learn, I plan to continually share with my neighbors and friends. Thanks to all of you that contribute to my learning!
The quantity of birds visiting my yard has increased each of the last few years, and I think the plant varieties are increasing from this (and the non-mowing).
 
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