Krissa Lee

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since Jun 26, 2021
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Recent posts by Krissa Lee

Looks like Anise Swallowtails, which will feed on anything in the carrot family. Gorgeous critters, I have a couple of huge fennel plants I let grow just for them every year.
1 month ago
I've been cutting the broom down and using the branches to make tomato trellises / frames etc. It works great! I'm slowly trying to replace the patch we have with  elderberries, live oaks, and so on. I wouldn't leave the broom to just grow - our patch is quite well established and it's basically a dead zone, very few birds, no other plants underneath.
2 months ago
Bronze fennel - all kinds of wasps, tiny beetles, honeybees, and swallowtail butterflies

Cornflowers, Lamb's Ears, Blackberries - lots of honeybees

Scabiosa Atropurpurea 'chile black' - seems popular with honeybees but is also the favorite for monarch butterflies right now

For sheer diversity of smaller pollinators, the native Coyote Brush on our fence line is the definite winner. I don't know what most of them are, but seems to be a good mix of tiny bees, wasps, flies, and even some beetles.
2 months ago

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:The earliest Solanum physalifolium have germinated and are fairly large plants. Hmm.. A source of cold tolerance in Solanum??? That's the weedy species that I allow to grow for the Colorado Potato Beetles. I hope that this is the year that I finally start a domestication project on it, or at least a seed saving project.



Joseph, have you done any work with the Solanum physalifolium yet? I have a bunch of it coming up in my tomato beds this year, and I'm curious about its potential.
2 months ago
Here's my list of plants from coastal NorCal.

Berries/fruits:
Blackberry- both native and invasive. Personally I prefer the flavor of the invasive kind.

Raspberry - our local Whitebark Raspberry can be difficult to find, but is my favorite kind.

Salmonberry - edible but I'm not impressed. Bland, sourish, and has a bitter aftertaste.

Strawberries - we have 2 kinds, the Woodland Strawberry and the Beach Strawberry. Extremely different flavors and texture but both are very good. My dad created a hybrid between Beach Strawberry and one of his garden strawberries years ago, and it remains one of the best varieties I've tasted. This year I've been collecting a few wild plants with an eye to making more hybrids.

Blue Elderberry - I collect both flowers and berries for cooking with, and make elderberry syrup for medicinal purposes

Salal - tasty with a hint of pine. Hard to find berries in quantity and when I do they're usually full of worms.

Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) - absolutely superb, but limited to the coastal fog belt area and doesn't tolerate inland heat. My favorite patches are struggling and dying with the unusually hot and dry weather the past few years.

Red Huckleberry -  sour, but delicious. Makes a great substitute for lemon in lemon meringue pie. Same habitat issues as above.

Manzanita - tasty for snacking on on hikes, but I haven't found anything I really like to use them for in bulk.

Madrone - same as manzanita, though I have heard of some people using them to make jam.

Thimbleberry - one of my absolute favorites, but turns to mush the instant you pick it. Great for jam, pies, and we use it to infuse balsamic vinegar for salad dressing.

Osoberry - tastes rather disgusting as far as I'm concerned, but was a food resource for local native tribes.

Juneberry / Saskatoon - native ones have rather sparse fruit, but good. I believe there are some decent cultivars now with better fruit production

Pacific plum - have not tried, but supposedly quite good.

Roses - fruit quality varies a lot between individual plants, but some are tasty

Grapes - true native ones aren't really worth bothering with. We do have lots of patches of escaped Concord grapes that are quite good though.

Nuts:

Acorns - locally the Valley Oak seems to have the best tasting ones.
California Bay - technically edible. Some people claim to enjoy them. Roasting the nuts improves them somewhat.
Gray Pine - nice large nuts and very productive in better years
Hazelnut - wild ones seldom set fruit, but tasty when they do

Roots / Bulbs

Triteleia - haven't tried, but hear it's very good.
Shooting Star - tried raw and was not impressed, but apparently you're supposed to roast them first.
Cattail - root as well as pollen and young shoots. Roots are hard to collect, but bread made from them was quite good. Shoots are bland but OK. Pollen can be used to substitute for part of the flour in baked goods, quite nice.

Greens
Nettles
Miner's lettuce
Dock - early spring leaves are nice, later on they get bitter

I'll add to the lst as I think of more.
2 months ago
I've been researching native american food sources lately, and I keep finding references about eating Triteleia laxa and Triteleia grandiflora bulbs. Has anyone tried growing these? It might be interesting to attempt to breed a variety with larger bulbs as a food crop.

Also if anyone has info about the edibility of other triteleia species and their interbreeding potential, I would love to hear about it.
2 months ago