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Native Foods Nursery - native plants that you can eat!  RSS feed

 
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Greetings Northwest Permies! I'm excited to share our new nursery with other plant lovers: ""Native Foods Nursery"", specializing in native, edible plants for the sustainable NW gardener.

We love the Northwest and it's amazing native plants, and we're excited to make over 60 edible species available via mail-order to home-landscapes across the region.  Our site is loaded with information about these lesser known, low-maintenance, perennial plants that can bring your garden to life ~ while at the same time increasing food resiliency, wildlife habitat, climate-change preparedness, and more!

Learn more about us at Native Foods Nursery Website or on FB at https://www.facebook.com/nativefoodsnursery/
 
master steward
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I thought I knew all of our native edibles, and here I see there's more! Thank you for such an informative website, and offering these unique edibles. I would love to introduce some to my rather wet, shady northwest property. My plant budget is all used up for the year, but maybe next year!
 
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Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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No red huckleberry?
 
Nicole Alderman
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A lot of local conservation district up in Washington sell red huckleberry, though I got to wonder just how successfully red huckleberry would transplant. Mine seem to only grow on cedar stumps or ground that's more cedar than anything else. Maybe there's a big failure rate growing them anywhere else?
 
Justin Michelson
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Hi Kurt and Nicole.  Thanks for the responses. 

We love red huckleberry, but no, we don't grow red huckleberry at this time.  There are so many good vacciniums, and so many other great native edibles, that we had to limit our selection at about 75 species.  At least for now. 

Also, I'm actually propagating a number of other huckleberries besides V. ovatum and V. membranaceum which I think are far more delicious and productive than V. parvifolium:  Deliciosum, uliginosum, and cespitosum.  We'll let you know how that goes!

Happy Planting this Spring!  Native Foods Nursery
 
Kyrt Ryder
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Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Justin Michelson wrote:Also, I'm actually propagating a number of other huckleberries besides V. ovatum and V. membranaceum which I think are far more delicious


Personal opinion there Justin. For myself, nothing beats Red Huckleberries in terms of flavor [though productivity certainly does get stomped by other species.]
 
Nicole Alderman
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I think it really depends on the bush, too! When I was a child, my parents had at least 12 huckleberry bushes on their property, and I noticed that the berries were really different depending on the bush. Some we big and sweet, about pea sized or bigger. That was my favorite bush! Others, bushes, however, were tiny and half the size of an eraser. Some were seedy. And some were less sweet. Some were tiny, seedy and not sweet, and also dry! It really depended on the bush.

I always wondered if it was the sun or the soil that made some bushes so much better. Now I also wonder if it was also genetic diversity. It would be wonderful, I think to breed the biggest, sweetest red huckleberry bushes. This would make picking so much easier, and the berries would be tastier and appeal to more people. I love red huckleberries and love that my property came with so many bushes, and I'm always excited about the first huckleberry of the season, but they sure do take a long time to pick a bowl of them!

I also wonder if there is a way to prune red hucklberries to encourage bigger berries. So far, most of my pruning attempts have resulted in the the bush sending up two foot tall shoots from where I pruned, all going straight up!
 
Justin Michelson
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:

Justin Michelson wrote:Also, I'm actually propagating a number of other huckleberries besides V. ovatum and V. membranaceum which I think are far more delicious


Personal opinion there Justin. For myself, nothing beats Red Huckleberries in terms of flavor [though productivity certainly does get stomped by other species.]



The red sure are good, I agree.  But the black...mmmmm.  Haha - anyway - each to their own.!
 
Justin Michelson
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I think it really depends on the bush, too! When I was a child, my parents had at least 12 huckleberry bushes on their property, and I noticed that the berries were really different depending on the bush. Some we big and sweet, about pea sized or bigger. That was my favorite bush! Others, bushes, however, were tiny and half the size of an eraser. Some were seedy. And some were less sweet. Some were tiny, seedy and not sweet, and also dry! It really depended on the bush.

I always wondered if it was the sun or the soil that made some bushes so much better. Now I also wonder if it was also genetic diversity. It would be wonderful, I think to breed the biggest, sweetest red huckleberry bushes. This would make picking so much easier, and the berries would be tastier and appeal to more people. I love red huckleberries and love that my property came with so many bushes, and I'm always excited about the first huckleberry of the season, but they sure do take a long time to pick a bowl of them!

I also wonder if there is a way to prune red hucklberries to encourage bigger berries. So far, most of my pruning attempts have resulted in the the bush sending up two foot tall shoots from where I pruned, all going straight up!



Great thoughts, Nicole.  There certainly is a lot of genetic variation out there, and a lot of different wild growing conditions.  From my experience, adequate sun makes the sweetest berries for most, if not all, of our native berries.  Soil is sure to play a part as well.  As for pruning...certainly you can increase overall productivity by removing the oldest and weakest canes, and any crossing or competing limbs.  But increase in fruit size is likely to be marginal, in my opinion. 

However, part of the long-term goal of this nursery is to begin intensively breeding certain species - exactly what you're saying!  We have a plan to start with the Evergreen Huckleberry, though, as we see it having the most potential for both food production and ornamental value.  Stay tuned! 
 

 
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Great site! I'm planning on ordering some of the plants next fall.

A note on red huckleberry - it loves to grow out of old stumps and logs. It really needs this type of substrate to do great. I'm planning on making some semi-burried hugel mounds once my native forest is established to plant red huckleberry into.

My plan is to dig a hole and fill it with rotten wood and pack the soil in between the rotten wood. Should still have a lot of wood showing but with pockets of soil. I figured I would do this in the summer and then in Jan or Feb transplant the red huckleberry into the soil pockets.

When I have worked with groups doing native plant salvage we often just remove the log or stump the red huckleberry is growing out of and transplant the whole thing.
 
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Thank you Justin. Just placed an order for some of your California Bay Laurels.  I was very excited to see you having them listed as zone 4 hardy.  I will be planting them in zone 5.  Do you know if they stay evergreen in zone 5?  I haven't seen this listed as hardy to zone 4 before.  Have you had feedback from others in zone 4 or 5 saying it does well for them?
 
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