I know there's a million fiber plants, but what are the:
-self seeding or perennial in the North
-Easy to turn into yarn/useful fiber
-Have secondary benefits, especially n-fixing
I have a tree lawn I want to be a fiber garden. The closest to this I can find is milkweed. But, I'd like some species diversity, if possible.
yucca for rope and cordage and has an edible root (ive never personally ate) and is perennial spreading by root and is hard to dig out. It is very strong and leathery but it can give you like papercuts from the side of the leaf blade. flax or linen has edible seeds, and fiber for softer things like weaving clothing and textiles but ive never used it myself. I don´t know if it self seeds. new zealand flax should grow there is perennial with long fibers and can be a textile fiber. It looks like yucca and can be really beautiful colors(green, pink, white, red, brown and verigated or solid) but the colors fade when it dries to lighter and darker shades of brown. I used it to make hand crafts by weaving the leaves into flowers for presents and such and the maori ate from woven plates like bbq paper plates and had papery feeling fabrick for clothing. but its not edible and i have no idea how strong it is for cordage or wool. stinging nettle is great for rope and textiles and if harvested early winter after it goes brown it doesnt sting, is perennial and edible and can have realy long fibers a couple feet long depending on how old the plant is. its my favorite because its silky and easy to harvest. if its too stingy maybe another nettle species might work, i have no idea which one though.
Hope that helps
Location: Rainy Cold Temperate Harz Mountains Germany 450m South Facing River Valley
Taryn Hesse wrote:
...yucca for rope and cordage and has an edible root (ive never personally ate)...
Be careful about eating unfamiliar plants. I bought yuca root at a international market, it was pretty good! There are lots of recipies on line. I was stoked, as there are yucca growing in many nearby fallow fields and pastures. I like my wild foods. Just to be sure about it though, I did some research before I fed the wild stuff to my family. My preferred expert, Greene Dean of eattheweeds.com specifies that yucca has only ABOVE ground parts that are edible.
Hmm. But the grocery store sold me.... Come to find out, the grocery "yuca" is also known as cassava. Common names can be confusing, and spelled differently. Beware. Both plants will make fiber.
Article with pic of yucca
http://www.eattheweeds.com/yucca-yuca-which-is-edible-2/ picture of cassava or yuca plants
Sorry, tree lawn is the part of your lawn between the road and the side walk. Some places don't have it. It's where the pets like to pee and poop and trash gets laid for removal. So, not a great place for edibles.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding something here. Urine is a very high nitrogen additive to soils. If this area is regularly used by animals I wouldn't think nitrogen would be a huge concern.
I usually hear that strip referred to as the 'hell strip'. Trapped between cement and pavement that area is the hottest spot in most properties. I do often see yucca planted there.
If you weren't set on perennials I'd be looking to see if you could get cotton to grow there. I think it would like that hot microclimate. The flower on that plant is so pretty that Texas nearly chose it as the state flower instead of the bluebonnets. When it ripens the cotton looks like a second bloom of white flowers. Even for perennial plants, doesn't harvesting the fiber usually kill the plant?
I thought of cotton, then I heard it can't grow this far north, but with Joseph's research, I am tempted to try. The beauty about milkweed is the stuff you harvest happens after the plant goes dormants to its roots, so nope- you don't hurt it! As for the pee factor, we don't have enough neighborhood dogs to keep up with things there. The grass is pathetic and in tough competition with a large tree. I have a friend who managed to convert theirs to milkweed and other wild flowers despite similar conditions. The question is, will the cotton seed replant it's self, or if I broadcast will it take off even? I don't need anything else to manage, especially in the front yard.
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