I live in canada in south-eastern ontario. On the several acres where I live there are already 3,4 or more types of wild fruit almost thriving/ already native to the area.
On the property there is a large fruit producing wild apple tree (not sure what type, they grow small red bitter apples), there are thriving raspberry bushes, a few blackberry bushes, the odd wild strawberry, and this area is known for wild buleberries, but idk if there are any here on the property where I reside.
I want to be able to "live off the land" so to speak, and save on grovery bills also. I'm interested in these forest garden ideas, or a prepper-style stealth garden. You can walk through the property and not know there is an abundace of wild edible food. I would like to be able to harvest some of this and possibly plant more varieties of plants that can provide sustinance and further sustainabliity, like some sort of perrenials or something that comes back every year, winter can be harsh here.
Any ideas for more canadian hearty varieties or native wild plants that might work for me? I grew some heirloom tomatoes last summer for experiment and they thrived as well, but the raspberries and apples are hand because they don't need to be planted every year.
I spend my summers working at a wilderness camp. Last summer I got hold of a book that taught me about edible and medicinal plants in the boreal forest. I then taste tested them with a bunch of kids.
Now I have a substantial list of wild plants that can be eaten, I suspect you would have a lot of the same ones in your region so I will share my list with you:
strawberry and raspberry leaves "tastes like leaves"
pin cherries - sour flavour, would be really good in jams and jellies
wild roses- petals to nibble on, rose hips as fruit or tea, (I got some 10-12 yr old boys to pick some, boil it over a fire, strain, and then drink, they loved it) if you want to eat the fruit plain, wait for fall, it is hard to tell when they are ripe.
Bluebells- flowers taste slightly sweet
tiger lily petals- there was no where else to put the tent so we had kill a couple, they are a protected species here though, flavour - sweet.
cattail- immature seed head, nibble of immature seeds (I like it, others did not, it has an odd texture), inner stem (tastes kind of like cucumber), dig up the roots for starches and cook, use the fluff to stretch flour, mix it 50/50 supposedly you can't tell the difference
mint- I pick it and nibble on it, stuff it in drawers and pockets, would probably make a good seasoning, (look in high humidity areas by creeks, follow your nose to find it)
plantain- I only found it well trampled by foot traffic so didn't try it, but the leaves should be good to eat
pineapple weed - again only found them well trampled so didn't taste
dandelion- cook roots for a starch, eat flowers, leaves as a a bitter salad ingredient
bunch berries- bland flavour and a big seed in the middle, their ok but not great.
pine needle tea!- high in vitamin C!
labrador tea- careful though- in large amounts it can make you poop.
high bush cranberries- flavour- similar to a tart raspberry, I really like it
Sarsparilla- root beer was originally made from the roots of these, supposed to be very high in energy, ran out of time to try this.
mushrooms- find someone who knows what they are doing before eating wild mushrooms
chokecherries- tart to eat plain but, great for jams, jellies, and failure yields delicious syrup, don't know if they grow in your region
Saskatoons- again I don't know if they are in your region
Your apples you found sound like crab apples, common around here, great for jams and jellies (high in pectin), not so good for eating off the tree. The summer camp is mostly dominated by Jack pine and I found enough wild blueberries to make a few pies (lots) so look for them around pine trees.
Try planting hascap- it is a little bush from Russia that has loads of delicious cylindrical fruit, when not in season it is pretty nondescript.
Check with your local conservation authority. I've been able to get Canada plum, butternut, highbush cranberry, nannyberry, black cherry, saskatoons, chokecherry as well as red, silver, and sugar maples. Also red pine, white pine, and white spruce. And for dense plantings as a windbreak against northern winter winds - white cedar planted 2 feet apart in two offsetting rows.
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If you've got areas that have poor soil, try autumn olive and sea buckthorn. With the autumn olive, watch carefully to see if the birds go for it. If you see cedar waxwings, you might want to pull it out since they will spread it far and wide. Seabuckthorn is not a problem that way.
I'd echo the comment on haskap. This is one tough plant. Its flowers survive -7C. In 2012 with the warm March weather when everything went into flower followed by the snow and freezing of April when all the flowers were killed our haskap sailed through untouched. But you have to net it or the cedar waxwings will strip every last berry.
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