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Lou Schultz

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since Jan 04, 2015
Zone 5a Upstate NY
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Recent posts by Lou Schultz

In areas where I fail to remove heavy leaf litter, I've seen voles move in and eliminate entire patches over the winter/early spring. Other than that, I'd say eat and enjoy. Consider it a bounty. The tender young leaves are good in salads, the older ones can be cooked like spinach or added to soups. I have heard of it being harvested into oblivion by those who develop a taste for it. There's a permies thread on goutweed here:
https://permies.com/t/1236/plants/goutweed-aegopodium-salad
4 years ago
Burdock will throw up some big leaves, and has an edible root (known as gobo root in Japanese cuisine) and stem. As a biennial, you can get of it, should you ever decide to, by cutting back before it goes to seed, and by not rototilling the substantial taproot - the pieces will regrow.
4 years ago
Looks to me like it might be pokeweed. If it gets REAL big and the stems turn red, then you'll know. It is considered a nuisance by many, and also toxic, but some people eat the young shoots in spring.

http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-be-deadly-but-oh-so-delicious-pokeweed-2/

Hope this helps.
5 years ago

Thanks for sharing that. I've beaten the embed-link into submission for you.



Thanks!
5 years ago
I was going to start a new thread to sing the praises of ground elder, but I found this old thread worth reviving. So here it goes:

1) Goutweed/ground elder is a carefree perennial food plant that will grow where few others will; in my case, heavy clay and shade.
2) It is available early in the spring, when little else is growing. Throughout Central and Eastern Europe there are different versions of 'spring soup' that make use of it, in combination with other early greens like nettles, dandelions, and sorrel.
3)According to Stephen Barstow, ground elder has been lactofermented in Siberia. I have not tried this yet myself, but having any perennial food that could last through the winter (in a temperate zone) is a good thing.
4) It is a good source of Vitamin C, iron, and potassium.

Yes, it can be aggressive in the garden, especially in bright or part shade. In my experience it is more restrained in deep shade, and also suffers predation from rabbits and voles. I see it often (the species, not the variegated type) around old farmhouses - likely they knew its usefulness a hundred years ago - but it hasn't overrun local forests. The 'invasive' hysteria surrounding it seems a bit over the top to me.

Here is 'Wildman' Steve Brill talking about it. Sorry for the ugly link, but every time I tried to insert the video, my browser crashed.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ULlxxkZslwo
5 years ago
Hostas and ostrich ferns are available cheap; both will provide edible shoots in the spring, and thrive in the shade as your trees mature. Hosta flowers are also edible.
Oriental poppies are commonly found in those root bags. They're good for pollinators and I've heard of the seeds being used as a spice (can't vouch for that myself, though). They have a vigorous root system so I'm guessing that, like comfrey, they are probably beneficial for the soil food web. At least that's what I'm hoping; it's too early in my own experimenting to know for sure.
5 years ago
Harvey Ussery wrote an article for Mother Earth News about summer cover crops, and mentions that cowpeas reach 'almost' 8 feet deep. They seem to be heat lovers, so I don't know how well they'll perform in the northwest. I've never grown them myself. Here's the article:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/gardening-techniques/summer-cover-crops-zm0z14aszsto.aspx?PageId=1
5 years ago
Here's an article on the subject. Unfortunately it doesn't cite any sources, but still an interesting read.

http://homestead.org/DianaBarker/LooktotheWeed/SoilIndicators.htm
5 years ago
I don't know of a database, but Sepp Holzer provides a list of about fifty indicator plants in his permaculture book. Nothing about trace elements, just the categories wet/dry, acid/alkaline, nitrogen rich, and compacted. Also, the list is European, but most of the weeds are commonly naturalized here in the U.S. It would be great to know more of them. While there's no replacing modern science, I like to stay old-fashioned whenever possible. Besides, the cost of multiple soil tests for different parts of the property gets expensive.

5 years ago
My great-grandfather had a chicken farm; I wish I had asked my grandma more questions about it while she was alive. One thing I remember is that they grew a lot of mangel beets to feed the livestock through the winter. Here's an article I found:

http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/mangels-heritage-feed-heritage-chickens/
5 years ago