Queenie Hankinson

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since May 08, 2014
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Recent posts by Queenie Hankinson

Dale Hodgins wrote:This has certainly gotten interesting. I have no interest in discovering a new use for hogweed or ko in finding a way to integrate it into anything. I'm ridding my life and my land of this plant.

Even if it did have some medicinal value or other value, I would let others tinker with that, while I can rest knowing that I won't break out in boils or become blind.

There are several other plants that I have no use for. I won't accept any English ivy on my property...These plans are all extremely abundant in the wilderness that surrounds me. They are of no benefit to me, therefore I won't be growing them or permitting them to grow where I want other things.

For me, none of it is up for debate. This hogweed is mine and I want  it gone


Because we all come to permaculture with different objectives and needs; dialogues that explore different avenues allow readers to pick and choose what is helpful,  of interest or we have no use for.

Good luck in your eradication efforts!😉
4 years ago
Lori: I follow the old adage of " one for the pot". You are correct, I plant for the family and residents and also for animals.  What I leave is allowed to go to seed.  I also pull up plants for compost but throw many into the wooded area still heavy with vegetables..by morning, the animals have normally eaten them all.
4 years ago
Heh, heh...just read on plant forager.com that young hogweed leaves are edible and make a very delicious soup.....😇.  Food of the future?  Or maybe only regular hogweed is edible and not the giant?

The oils in the regular are rendered harmless by cooking...what of the larger variety?  Anyone know of persons attempting to taste test cooked giant hogweed 😝
4 years ago
Valerie: full respirators when burning?  I imagine like poison ivy, the volatile oils can be extremely dangerous if inhaled.  Again, not saying the hogweed should stay, but if what the niche is that it occupies is identified, another, friendlier plant can be introduced to take its place.

Everyone must do what works for them.  I have hogweed, but it can get no more than shin high..no soil, it does not grow very tall in rock.  I handle it with gloves..usually...and consider it a medicinal.  Mine has been here for years but is not prolific and yes, we have let it go to seed, but it has never really taken off.
4 years ago
I have 22 acres of woodlands in Southwest , MO near the Arkansas border.

I saw results in one season..with tomatoes and some greens and fruit.

Now, I am noticing more veggies I never grew like rhubarb and Chard.

This natural woods are also creating micro climates that allow annuals to winter over and some operate as perennials,

The house is situated with a southern exposure and middle.  The incline is less than 15 degrees on about 80% of the land and zone 5 areas are 35 degree incline or more.

I have several aspects to my land.  Most, are. Zone 4 or 5 with gleaning of dead wood taking place in zone 4.

Soil is at a premium here so we create hugel beds out of dead wood, humus and truck in soil..we also use downed wood for rocket fuel stoves and as brown matter in our  co.post and worm bins. And in zone 1 have very large raised garden beds.

In Zone 1, we have formalized raised garden beds with soil in them 26 to 35 inches deep.  We are on rock so the soil is deep enough to suit small trees and shrubs and are permanent and prevent ground freezing.

all beds are cedar or stone retained  and are large, all cedar  bed bottoms were screened with 1/4x1/4 galvanized wire to discourage ground rodents and snakes.

The primary kitchen garden is completely screened in with the ability to apply row covers, to moderate sun and wind and seed/insect infiltration.

Usually, the row covers are not in use.

Water catchment systems are large pools that feed into each other..we use cattle feeding tanks banked by earth..we have no rain taxes yet in MO.

Watering is primarily from hugel application and rain water. (All cedar beds have a 12 inch hugel layer). We also consider all hardwood trees a potential emergency water source.

animal dispersion requires the decision to share the garden with any animal able to make it in or who eat from the lower beds scattered in zones 1 and 2.

Domesticated animals can also be introduced, by purchasing or borrowing them from neighbors..it also means providing areas to temporarily fence or corral the animals.

Basically, we use domestic farm animals as tractors, brush hogs and fertilizer by cordoning off an area for them then letting g them so fed in that area.we also either feed them veggie plants or allow them a cess in the gardens then put them in the corral.

Have brambles and brush to clear?  let your  neighbors know they can forage their goats on it.

Too many ticks and insects?  Borrow or buy guinea fowl or chickens..start them out in the woods, surrounded by portable electric fencing and tree cover, end their sojourn by snacks in the garden..both love squash, melons and tomatoes..then corral them back in the woods...as they eat and poop, they will do the rest.

You can make bunny and chicken tractors too.

The scattered beds are mostly culinary and medicinal herbs

On the EDGES of cleared areas, I planted things such as yams, kale and comfrey which naturally infiltrated the lighter wooded areas, also planted berry bushes on the edge.

Edges are not only the most prolific, they bleed or overlap, so anything grown in the edge  and not controlled will bleed into another planting area...animals carry it even more into an area.

Comfrey are interplanted with plantain, many greens, tubers, and velvet bean..as they spread...the animals follow and eat.

At any given time, you will see scores if turkey, deer, rabbit and other small animals in my woods.

Squirrels will automatically steal peaches, tomatoes, seeds and other veggies and then go into the woods.

Chickens, guinea fowl and goats will decimate a garden so they can be let in occasionally (judiciously forgetting  to close the screens up) then they are gently herded towards a portion of woods that has been cordoned off.

As they forage, they eat ticks and other bugs an drop feces..in those feces are potential new plants.

Deer love comfrey..they follow it into the woods and spread  more seeds, I plant near the comfrey, other things fowl and deer like..., that I hope will take.

This is not a high yield area for a production farm, but it is a very rich and diverse set up for any person, who does not mind meandering garden paths, picking what is available and not mindful that plantings in neat rows or groupings are nit happening.


If you don't have or wish to use your own sheep, goats, bunnies or chickens as your farmers, volunteer an area for a neighbor.

Goats will clear paths and can be directed with moveable fencing, chickens and guinea fowl adore tomatoes and many veggies.

Not all will take, but a surprising number will.  Best if all, the foraging animals work as living tractors and fertilizers, the most work I do is in constructing and moving fencing to direct animals.

Note: a primary crop for me are velvet bean, because they can build one of the largest amounts of  soil in the least amount of time, another crop are various comfrey for obvious reasons.

I do not share pictures of my properties for security reasons nor of myself but to get an idea about this kind if approach watch Geoff's videos about his farm in Australia.  It's on YouTube.

ALSO Sepp  Holtzer farms this way, scattering seed Willy nilly and growing things in the Alps that until recently were impossible.

The key to this type of growth is to be very open to what nature produces and flexible in how and what you eat and preserve.

4 years ago

Michael Bushman wrote:If all plants and animals have their use and shouldn't be killed off, then nothing man does is bad.

(quote, Bushman) "Planting a food forest is just as much agriculture as is plowing up a field and pouring chemicals on it, we are modifying our environment to better suit us.   One is certainly more sustainable than the other ..."

Lol.  Several things...

1. Did I ever say killing hogweed was bad?  Or did I say the niche it occupies should be considered first and that it also had uses?

2. You assume because humans gave themselves the categorization of "animal" that we are like all other animals?  Like most human designations, we are hypocritical with this application.

When we want to justify behavior with a "you or  they do it too" mentality ...we INCLUDE ourselves in a larger group (be it the animal kingdom, politics, race or religion)

When we are in our elitist, self aggrandizing , destruction mode, we are exclusive elevating ourselves over other groups, be it all other living plants and animals, other religions or political parties,other races or countries..etc.

This dissonance destroys not only our sense of self, but also our connection with life on the planet..it is how we are capable of killing so nonchalantly.

 It also confirms we are an aberration.

We are capable of doing great harm to the planet and all who inhabit it, then capable of shades of lies and compartmentalization so we can ignore or try to justify what we do.

It ALL comes out in the end, as we reap what we have sown and not what we lie or justify to ourselves about what we have sown.

Planting a food forest may or may not be either agriculture or permaculture, but it does not have to be either.

Humans are unlike any other living entity on the planet .  We are an aberration.

All animals either work within nature or they die out.  Humans routinely work against nature and themselves.  We tend  to be very, very self centered and oblivious to our connections with everything else on the planet.

I have a food forest.  I did not cultivate anything. Instead, I introduced animals to my gardens then let then wander in my woods.  They dropped their feces and all kinds of stuff began to grow there.

It is a woods.  No plow.  No swales,  No shovels, pick axes, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, no direct cultivation by man.  None.  Not even a stick or sed dropping.

All food thus far was introduced by animals, but I opened a large portion of my garden for this and did chase some or gently herd others into the woods.  The squirrels did a lot.

Lots of garden escapees there, and every year it is more diverse and profuse.

There are even plants and flowers beginning to grow that I never had in my garden.  It is wondrous.

From quince to persimmon, huckleberries, gooseberry brambles, taro, wild yams, elderberries, raspberries, strawberries, kale, dandelions, poke, tons of stuff...and I never do a thing.

My flora has increased in diversity also with all kinds of birds, frogs and insects ..I have more humming birds and finches than I have ever seen in my life .

The only permaculture in my food forest has been in me giving it a zone designation.

I have too many herbs in there to count, numerous greens, edible roots, wild tomatoes and other fruits, great mushrooms too.

I may introduce potatoes in there....

My engineering of this, was simply to herd animals in to clear paths, eat ticks, and drop spore.

I pick as I go on walks and come back with a bounty.  It is not a glade, but the woods are not dense..

Food forests can be a component of permaculture BUT not all food forests perform either permaculture or agriculture.

To foment my own forest, I only planned to share my bounty with the creatures in it..and my now rich forest/woods are what they all gave back in return.
4 years ago
Nice try,😂 but that is not what I am imparting.

What is the difference in working in, on or with something ?

I am saying before removing a plant, it is important to consider what the niche is comprised of in order to not upset an ecosystem.

I am not saying hogweed should not be removed.  I remove stuff and move stuff around a lot.  I try to be judicious in every removal and replacement.

I further add the ideal in Permaculture is  to work WITH  and WITHIN nature and not just ON it or react to it.

"Animal" scientifically is a man made term but the truth is, mankind is the only biological entity on the planet that routinely does not act WITH nature or WITHIN nature but instead, acts against it oblivious to interconnections.

Even the most noxious plants cannot thrive  in a niche they cannot integrate with.  Humans constantly challenge this precept.

All other entities act within their genetic program and contribute natural results nature can adjust to.

(Humans think nature adjusting is a status quo with themselves as the center of things and their desires/needs/wishes paramount...but this is an anthropocentric  view,).

Over time, most naturally occurring scapes can be addressed by nature, she simply has to dig around for the right remedy.  Even the most hostile of deserts is evolving, though nature's response to non natural manipulation can take many thousands of years to assimilate and correct

This is where humans come in..we tend to both think and operate out of sync with nature, even when we want to work in or on nature.

We bring our elitist, human, do as we please baggage with us.  We tend to both think and operate in the very near short term as a species with our own desires paramount and our views myopic.

At a very basic level, humans are an aberration.  We create inorganic waste, nature cannot break down readily (and therefore cannot assimilate) we bind water in ways that break both the Krebs cycle and the Water cycle.  (it cannot be recycled and continually used)

If the earth was personified as a body..all animals and plants would be natural  gut and body flora helping to keep the body (the earth,) strong and we would be the bacteria that destroys the natural flora and caused sickness at our most benign, and at our worse we are like the ebola virus. Wreaking so much havoc we are. Killing our host.

Permaculture seeks an equilibrium between what man has routinely done, and trying to be more like other animals, existing and contributing in a way that other species can adjust. And either benefit from or integrate with and branch off from those ecosystems.

Traditional  Western agriculture practices are not input effective in most cases and are the antithesis of natural ecosystems.

A virus, unlike most organic life forms, is often oblivious to its host and destroys the body to its own detriment.

Humans are oblivious to the impact of their methods and are destroying the planet, much like a body , though resilient, can be overwhelmed by a virus.

So with permaculture (which is A sustainable approach but is NOT the only type of sustainable approach) we seek not to become natural but to develop a type of farming and living that we can easily perpetuate.  We strive to incorporate this into nature and HOPE she adapts it into a viable ecosystem.

Permaculture will NEVER,EVER be natural to the planet.  It will always be humans acting.  ALWAYS.  But it should be humans with a softer footprint, who CONSIDER the body and ask questions first not react first.

We also hopes nature takes the ball permaculture pop into the air...and runs with it.

It is a foul ball indeed, the more we try to employ techniques such as synthetic pesticides and herbicides and controlled farming.

Science still has no idea of the long term affect of pesticides and herbicides.  We build evidence empirically to determine long term affects but what is not considered are  plants and animals AFTER a certain amount of time or in other parts of a system, nor is this in-depth study required by law.

Safety tests do not require this..we do not know the effect of round up in an ecosystem over time...but we do know we have introduced a synthetic into a natural environment and there WILL be consequences.

That must be considered by those who employ permaculture BEFORE they impact an area and not as an "oops" moment later.

The planet cannot easily absorb too many more oops moments from humans.


Food forests are still mainly managed, sustainable systems, but they don't have to be.

They will optimize selective plants and flora.  Some do project naturalization to a point, but the end goal is food.

But that s the permaculture model, that us not the only one being implemented.  There is a more natural model based n foraging and natural implementation.

I mention the uses of hogweed because some may want to have a softer footprint and strive to work with what nature is exhibiting and not impose the human ideal.

It is  Western human nature to dominate and impose an ideal, accepting and working within the construct nature produces is more an indigenous people and a planet friendly ideal.

There is no conflict in what I am writing.  I am not going to suggest what anyone does on their own land.

I am trying to point out what should be considered first..and whether this is embraced or not depends on one's idea of permaculture and understanding of ecosystems.

IMO.permaculture is not farming though it may have a farm within the system..it is not a food forest, though some may grow food in that fashion within that system.

Since I am first and foremost a scientist, permaculture will always be a dynamic SYSTEM that attempts to integrate human desired foods and human directed agriculture into a natural ecosystem.

For a scientist, success is NOT how much food is grown or how many humans fed..it is when nature accepts and adopts the human model and accepts it.

Failure is when the man made model upsets or destroys the natural ecosystem.

It is almost impossible to employ a true permaculture model and embrace modern human controlling the planet methods.

Modern methods seldom consider ecosystem impact, paramount is the end goal not the journey.

Since the planet is dynamic and billions of years old, the end goal IS the journey.

THE END GOAL IS THE JOURNEY, not mankind's myopic, short term desires

Put another way, the details in modern agriculture  are what is accomplished,

the details in permaculture is HOW this is done,

the details in food forestry or other methods that do not employ permaculture precepts is the QUALITY of the end result and how it was done.


The key word is Natural.  Frankly, humans don't even know the ultimate effect of the things they synthesize.

The thing is: food  forestry can be a part of permaculture but it also is a stand alone discipline as is wild crafting and foraging.

Permaculture is NOT definitive for sustainable living.  It is a discipline with many methods but it is not the only way.

You can have a food forest and zones 4 and 5 for wild crafting and gleaning within the permaculture construct....but many who wild craft or have food forests employ little to no permaculture

Permaculture is a scientific discipline, it is not an umbrella for all sustainable ways to grow food.

But more to the point and I stand by this..nature is pretty smart..if a plant has managed to enter into a niche successfully...prior to removing, that niche AND the role that plant played should be examined .

One of the most difficult things to recreate in ecology are niches...because the interconnections and impacts are very complex and far more numerous than we can easily consider.
4 years ago
Nature is amazing.  When a plant fills a niche, it is because on very basic levels the plant can perform necessary functions needed within an ecosystem.

By successfully occupying s niche, a plant has already demonstrated a certain level of integration in a system even if it is not in the interest of humans.

It is not relevant whether introduced by humans, brought by birds or in the scat of other animals.  

In an ecological sense, it also does not matter if the newly introduced plant upsets the natural ecosystem because ecosystems are dynamic, with destruction and ruination of a system often being a precursor to growth, change and rebirth.

Sooner or later, invasive plants, animals, insects and microbes reach an equilibrium though it may be a very different ecosystem and not as beneficial to us once it is achieved.

 By nature, (pun intended) all systems trend toward entropy.

My post was not to dissuade the removal of hogweed but to encourage careful investigation, so that IF removal is the chosen option, the cultivator is also aware of the niche or requirements.

TBH, chemical herbicides and pesticides normally have no use in permaculture because they often contain inorganic not conducive to sustainable LIFE and actually disrupt not only integration of an existing system, but disrupts life in ways we often have not anticipated.

Strive for life.  It is not always pretty, or neat but nature tends to know what she is doing.  If herbicides are introduced and a hole is left in the niche..what fills that hole,?  What plants or animals, microbes, fungi and insects are now adversely affected due to that hole and the resultant herbicides?.

Certainly, not light questions.

Cultivation requires man to IMPOSE his desires, needs, AND sensibilities on an ecosystem.....Permaculture encourages
Humans to work WITH nature and to reach a compromise so that both can thrive with minimal human impact and input.

If anything goes or is regimented too severely , that is a form of agriculture or gardening...but might be the antithesis of permaculture.
4 years ago
looks like honeysuckle.  There are a variety of medicinal uses for honeysuckle berries and leaves...aren't you lucky!  You can Google them on line( try bearmedicineherbals.com). When ever you see a plant on your property, remember nature, in her infinite wisdom is attempting to fulfill a niche..so take the time to work WITH nature if you can instead if managing nature.

honeysuckle can make a great barrier and can harvested to treat colds, flu, fevers,..lots of uses...some have efible berries depending on the species so it is a good idea to accurately identify what you have.  Great in soaps and as strewing vines also!
4 years ago
uses for giant hogweed..contains anthraquinones, used to treat running sores, ear infections, heart disease, cervical spondylosis, sore throats.  Handle with care..look into the benefits of hogweed to other plant or animal species.

there are really no such things as weeds in permaculture..merely opportunistic plants who are filling a niche.

If you would rather not have it..what will replace it?

permaculture is the man-made contributions to an ecosystem..so if the weed is there, it has a purpose..to have an integrative system, you cannot leave a vacuum and something else should fulfill the same roles..be it toward succession, bioaccumulation, forage for insects or....
4 years ago