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Giant ragweed fiber?  RSS feed

 
E Cochran
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Does anyone know if it's possible to get fiber from the stems of giant ragweed that are usable for weaving and thread? I have masses of giant ragweed growing on my farm that I need to figure out a use for. Found out the leaves are edible and the seeds are a good oil source so now I need something to do with the big stems.
 
Todd Parr
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E Cochran wrote:Does anyone know if it's possible to get fiber from the stems of giant ragweed that are usable for weaving and thread? I have masses of giant ragweed growing on my farm that I need to figure out a use for. Found out the leaves are edible and the seeds are a good oil source so now I need something to do with the big stems.


I don't know the answer to your question, but I had no idea that ragweed was edible.  I have several areas that I let it grow because of the large amount of biomass it creates, but I didn't know it had other uses, so thanks for that.
 
E Cochran
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I've read several comments from people saying they eat the leaves but so far I can't find how to prepare it. My goats like the leaves for sure though. I may get bold and cook some of the leaves to taste. lol
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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E Cochran wrote:Does anyone know if it's possible to get fiber from the stems of giant ragweed that are usable for weaving and thread?


I have not been successful in finding any information on how to do this.

I am fumbling my way, trying to discover a way to do this in my location. So far, all my attempts have failed. I have let the stalks rett too long and they rotted. I have yet to place these experiments as a top priority, but I keep on starting the rett, thanks to R Ransom's fabulous example in all her fiber creations.
At some point, I expect to produce something that doesn't crumble into shards in my hands. WHEN this happens, the results will be posted on Permies. But don't get impatient. Note that I first tried retting it Sept 2015. I do however have 3 sets of stalks going right now. We'll see what happens.

How about you try too?
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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E Cochran wrote:I've read several comments from people saying they eat the leaves but so far I can't find how to prepare it. My goats like the leaves for sure though. I may get bold and cook some of the leaves to taste. lol


Here's what Green Deanne says about ragweed. http://www.eattheweeds.com/ragweed/

Where you have read that the leaves are edible, are these people that are repeating what they have read elsewhere? Or are they like Samuel Thayer who only writes about what he has eaten? (No mention of ragweed at my last search.) http://www.foragersharvest.com/
 
Alexandra Clark
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Giant ragweed is indeed edible and as a wild forager we looked for it in the fall, not for the leaves, but for the seeds, which are indeed useful not only for oil but as a flour/wheat substitute. There is more protein in ragweed and the flour is much more nutritious. Some folks have even experimented with growing fields of it to replace their wheat, but the harvesting is much more difficult I would think.

I can't answer your question about fiber crafts, but it would be interesting to see if it is possible. Good luck!
 
E Cochran
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:
E Cochran wrote:Does anyone know if it's possible to get fiber from the stems of giant ragweed that are usable for weaving and thread?


I have not been successful in finding any information on how to do this.

I am fumbling my way, trying to discover a way to do this in my location. So far, all my attempts have failed. I have let the stalks rett too long and they rotted. I have yet to place these experiments as a top priority, but I keep on starting the rett, thanks to R Ransom's fabulous example in all her fiber creations.
At some point, I expect to produce something that doesn't crumble into shards in my hands. WHEN this happens, the results will be posted on Permies. But don't get impatient. Note that I first tried retting it Sept 2015. I do however have 3 sets of stalks going right now. We'll see what happens.

How about you try too?


I'm reading up on how to rett them, having never harvested fiber from plant before ... but I'm willing to give it a go.
 
E Cochran
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:
E Cochran wrote:I've read several comments from people saying they eat the leaves but so far I can't find how to prepare it. My goats like the leaves for sure though. I may get bold and cook some of the leaves to taste. lol


Here's what Green Deanne says about ragweed. http://www.eattheweeds.com/ragweed/

Where you have read that the leaves are edible, are these people that are repeating what they have read elsewhere? Or are they like Samuel Thayer who only writes about what he has eaten? (No mention of ragweed at my last search.) http://www.foragersharvest.com/


I read that bit too. Most of the people saying they've eaten it were in comments on articles or posts, however, I was given this link yesterday (which of course I can't find now) from a wild edible forum about its use for allergies as a tincture and about eating the seeds. Basically you can steep either the leaves or flowers in alcohol to make a tincture and use 5 to 10 drops to control allergies to tree pollen, ragweed (haha), pet dander, and *something else that I can't remember*.



 
Joylynn Hardesty
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My source for the tincture stated to use young leaves of either common or giant ragweed. She likes to call it Tincture of Ambrosia.
As in:  Ambrosia artemisiifolia and Ambrosia trifida. 
amˈbrōZH(ē)ə/ noun: ambrosia the food of the gods.
something very pleasing to taste or smell.
"the tea was ambrosia after the slop I'd been drinking"

I can assure you that common ragweed leaf tincture in vodka tastes HORRIBLE. But it's time to dig the tincture out from the back of the cabinet. Ragweed here is begining to form its' flower buds. This is a month early, like our early spring. I hope winter is not early as well.

 
Alexandra Clark
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Terrible tasting tincture?

Solution?

place the tincture drops onto a spoonful of home made jam.

Problem solved

Did this for my kids, their echinachea tincture as kids was called super peach....
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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My addled google skills have been streached sooo far. But at last, I have found a published author who claims to have regularly eaten young spring ragweed leaves for many years. See link for preparation info.
Robert F. Lee is his name. I am new to this guy, anyone familiar with him?

http://eatingwild.blogspot.com/2013/06/enjoying-instead-of-eradicating-ragweed.html
 
E Cochran
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:My addled google skills have been streached sooo far. But at last, I have found a published author who claims to have regularly eaten young spring ragweed leaves for many years. See link for preparation info.
Robert F. Lee is his name. I am new to this guy, anyone familiar with him?

http://eatingwild.blogspot.com/2013/06/enjoying-instead-of-eradicating-ragweed.html


Brilliant sleuthing skills!! My dogs were eating the leaves today willy-nilly so I decided I would try one. Kind of tastes like gnawing on a pine tree. Blechk!!! But my leaves are now chopped and tincturing away in some everclear.

Once I finish reading on how to rett the plant fibers I will give that a go too.
 
E Cochran
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So here is the link to how to use ragweed I was given. Finally found it.

http://www.planetherbs.com/michaels-blog/like-treats-like-ragweed-to-treat-allergies.html

Next question - from what I'm reading it seems that retting is basically soaking the stalks until fiber can be "pulled" from it. And that the soaking process can vary in length depending on the condition of the plant material. Is that correct?

If so, I guess my approach to using ragweed for fiber would be to start a number of stalks in the soak and take them out one at a time until I can get a workable fiber. Being new to using plant fibers that I've extracted from something I'm a little uncertain if my brain is tracking it all correctly. Does this sound like a viable plan?
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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E Cochran wrote:Next question - from what I'm reading it seems that retting is basically soaking the stalks until fiber can be "pulled" from it. And that the soaking process can vary in length depending on the condition of the plant material. Is that correct?

If so, I guess my approach to using ragweed for fiber would be to start a number of stalks in the soak and take them out one at a time until I can get a workable fiber. Being new to using plant fibers that I've extracted from something I'm a little uncertain if my brain is tracking it all correctly. Does this sound like a viable plan?


I'm new to fiber as well. I hope R Ranson will chime in with a definitive answer. I figure an experienced person with plant fibers can recognize a well retted fiber, even if they haven't worked with that plant.
I think the stalk needs to be dry before testing? You are describing a submerged rett. I'm working with the dew retting method. I'm just muddling along.
 
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