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Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:46 pm
by soil
purslane grows wild here. so delicious and free :)

Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:52 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
Yeah I weeded a good deal out of my garden last year; I won't be so quick this year...

Neat article toil; but dodder (a full on parasite) is not the type of weed I had in mind... still, an interesting concept. Certainly supportive of plant guilds as a meme...


Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:53 pm
by Toil
purslane grows wild here. so delicious and free

yeah, but if you plan on serving it regularly, it helps to have a prolific cultivar. The wild stuff is kind of a pain to harvest, at least it is here.

HG, it's dodder in the picture, but the study cited studied sea rocket, which is a weed.

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:05 am
by The Helpful Gardener
Yeah, not all weeds are going to work with us but the Cocannoer book gives us some leads to go with as to which ones will.

You guys find any lambsquarters seed for sale? THAT's one I will be looking for...

[url=]Got some...[/url]


Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:33 am
by Toil
I think they could all be helpful, because they compete for resources. As long as we get the environment right , our crops can outcompete.

So I'm told, but I think back, and I have seen this time and again. Some areas have crazy weeds that choke the crops, some seem to do fine without help. I used to chalk it up to seed dispersal.

That said, if my food is getting choked off, I have been turning the weeds to mulch or compost.

hey, I ordered some burdock and planted it last year, to make some stews. But I discovered it's impossible to get them out of the ground! Turns out they are grown in very loose soil (sand) when grown for food. Maybe we'll let them flower this year.

I like this quote from the article. It seems to lend a new credence to the idea of guilds, and all that companion planting, if not a stamp of approval.
If an individual can identify kin, it can help them, an evolutionarily sensible act because relatives share some genes. The same discriminating organism could likewise ramp up nasty behavior against unrelated individuals with which it is most sensible to be in claws- or perhaps thorns-bared competition

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:56 am
by applestar
My dad grows burdock as well as Japanese mountain potatoes (Dioscorea japonica). What he does, when harvesting, is to dig a knee-deep trench alongside the row, then ply the roots out into the trench.

A side story: Years ago, when he started growing the mountain potatoes, someone in Japan sent him the "secret formula" -- he asked for my help in getting the "right stuff" -- they turned out to be things like rice bran, soybean meal, etc. He was SO happy when I told him he can get all he needed from a local feed store, and inexpensively too. Until then, he used to sprinkle chemical granules and powders. After his potato harvest turned out so well, he was totally convinced and he's been gardening organically ever since.

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:12 am
by Toil
hey thanks appelstar, it's not too late for me to do that! I was trying to go at the things directly, and just kept slicing chunks off.

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:12 am
by The Helpful Gardener
Cocannoer talks about the Pawnee women weeding their weeds; taking out some of the crop to allow for spacing. I think that suggests a density issue rather than a need for complete sterilization...

I am buying some purselane and lambsquarters seeds this year and giving it a run on a couple of rows. I cannot ignore all the native wisdom here; this bears investigating. I will report back over this season...


Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:19 am
by soil
yeah, but if you plan on serving it regularly, it helps to have a prolific cultivar. The wild stuff is kind of a pain to harvest, at least it is here.
not a pain at all, you just take a handful. and eat it. and it grows fast no need to buy seeds. thats silly. my purslane grows to 4 ft diameter each so theres a lot of it.

i find it loves to grow with a rock mulch that it trails over.

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:24 am
by applestar
Ooh, that's a really pretty lambs quarter. *I* might have to get some, too!
Looking forward to your scientific approach and report, HG. :wink:

Soil, some of us have "inexplicably" run out of purslane.... :roll:
I hope the few I left alone last year manage to proliferate this year. :wink:

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:27 am
by Toil
soil, I'm thinking dinners for 4, with a purslane salad or garnish. A substantial portion. A forage themed menu would be cool, maybe rabbit for an entree with lamb's quarters for garnish. It's lemony, right? Or am I confusing lamb's quarters with something else I tasted?

It all gets more complicated if you cook for guests. well, not the lamb's quarters. we got tons.

this salad looks good:


Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:29 am
by applestar
I don't think lamb's quarters is lemony -- are you thinking sorrel or young rumex? In addition to culinary French sorrel, I've also used wood sorrel leaves, separated into little hearts over salad.


Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:29 am
by rainbowgardener
Here's a thread we had about purslane last summer:

In it I posted a recipe for purslane potato salad.

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:31 am
by Toil
oh yeah, that was sorrel. I can't remember the taste of lamb's quarters. Is it just leafy?

see? this is why I stared this thread. I need to rectify my ignorance.

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:38 am
by applestar
Hmm. "Leafy" makes me think of lettuce, you know, kind of mild and watery? I guess more like kale -- I want to say GREEN, but it's a bit "furry" :lol:
But specifics... is it... nutty? Not bitter... but sweet? Not really?
Anyone else?

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:41 am
by The Helpful Gardener
[url=]EAT THE WEEDS![/url]



Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:01 pm
by soil
soil, I'm thinking dinners for 4, with a purslane salad or garnish. A substantial portion.
i knew from the moment i saw it here, that it was food and it needed to be managed properly so i can have more than enough to eat. my mother and grandmother used to eat it as well. one plant is more than enough for supplemental food in salads and such, a few plants is enough to come harvest the tips( the best part) daily for months. maybe they don't grow as big or as fast where you are. when the season comes i will try and remember to take pictures for you.

on another note a very good video about weeds is on youtube, do a search for eat the weeds. a guy has about 120 videos each on a specific weed/plant, where to find it, when and how to eat it. he has a VERY good system called I.T.E.M.ize

I= Identify
T=time of year
E= environment its growing in
M= method of preparation

and you need to know ALL of them before you consider eating it.

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:43 pm
by top_dollar_bread
these links have helped me id weeds

hope this helped some one
weeds are great for the compost as well :wink:

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:49 pm
by GardenGeek
oh Waoo.. That is astonishing
i mean i just ended up collecting some tips to kill these weeds from my lawn naturally and here i came across with an entirely different view.

I also went through few topics of the book "Weeds the guardian of soil" and i have to say that my perspective for these weeds are going to change from now on :D Thanks a million for sharing the facts

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:20 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
GG, it seems a lot of how we view weeds is based on some poor information we have been getting for decades, maybe centuries, of how weeds are always bad. It is the biggest reason for the biggest dump of of fertilizer and pesticides in America; our lawns, and I have spent some time learning just how damaging THAT is to our land and country. SO the opposing viewpoint deserves some time now, and I will plant some things this year that I have been pulling out and throwing away of years (I did leave a few purselanes in last year; somehow I guess I always knew that there was good weeds and bad ones).

The meaning of weeds. Seems even the definition of weeds needs review. Perhaps we have been too quick to judge, to choose, to point fingers and persecute. Guess history is full of examples of that; seems a pretty human reaction to any number of issues, and it is usually a bad one. We should re-examine our thinking in a new light, with the wisdom of ancient practices meeting the intelligence of new science.

A little more than you were counting on, right, GG?

A little more than I was counting on too :lol:

I need another minute...


P.S., Soil, thanks for vid links, I added a link to his site in my last post (I did not even know "eat the weeds" was already a battle cry, but glad to hear it is...)

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:23 pm
by Ozark Lady
I have tried to eat wild lambsquarters... I don't think it is possible... ha ha.
Or I did something wrong, they are tough, strong, really negative in taste all the way around.
Now, oxalis, yes, I weed it out, cause I eat it as fast as it grows right in the garden, I pull it, and eat as I work... tee hee

My favorite weed is pokeweed. I make it into spinach, asparagus and okra. You just gotta know how to use it.
If your poke gets too old and strong, cut it down... it will grow back, and in a few weeks, you are back in business... spinach, asparagus and okra on the table again.... all from poke.
Since spinach bolts on me, I find poke is my homegrown spinach.

I have blackberry patches all over the place, and raspberries are mixed in with them. My question is: Does anyone know how to make black berry, or raspberry tea? I know the leaves are good animal foods. So which is the tea made out of the berries or the leaves? Or both?

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:48 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
OL, I have never made the stuff but have several bird volunteers (two black and a rasp) coming as well as a bunch of raspberry transplants put in last year from a friend. SO lets find out...

Just busted out the Raspberry Zinger from Celestial (one reason I never made my own was that I like theirs). Hibiscus, Rosehips, Roasted Chicory, Orange peelings, Blackberry leaves (finally!) Natural raspberry flavor (whatever THAT means) and other natural flavors, Raspberries and raspberry leaves.

Hmmm. Sounds like all of the above...

Im gonna have a cup now. I'll be back...


Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:34 am
by Ozark Lady
Once upon a time.... in the far distant past. :lol:

I used to buy Lipton flavored teas.... they were regular tea with flavorings, they came in cinnamon, black cherry, black berry, etc. I usually had 10 different boxes of them, at all times.

I used my coffee maker and made hot tea by the pot full. I loved to mix the cinnamon with the blackberry and brew up a pot full.

Well, suddenly they got hard to find... replaced with herbal teas that have no caffeine, and for me at least, no taste. I won't waste my money on them.

I was thinking along the line of Mr Coffee.... with some tea bags of regular tea in it, some blackberry leaves, perhaps dried berries and maybe a cinnamon stick... would it work? The mad scientist in me says, Maybe, but I surely won't guess all the flavors they use...

I just replaced, Billy Joe Tatums Wild foods cookbook. I had it for years, but lost it in a house fire. She has many recipes for eating the "weeds".

If we grow the weeds, and use them in the garden, then at the peak of flavor we eat them all up... seems like a win, win situation for me.

My troubling weed, is not actually a weed. I am forever digging out locust trees. The roots spread everywhere, and up pops these baby trees along the root. It is spiny, tough and not a peaceful weed. Does anyone have a redeeming point in locust trees that are forever trying to take my garden, yard, etc. ?

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:20 pm
by applestar
Me, me!!! They're nitrogen fixers and the bacterial nodules on their roots help to nourish to big trees, just as beans and legumes nourish veggie plants. :()

The way to use them is to let them grow a bit then cut them down. You have a self sustaining cycle there, Ozark Lady. :wink:

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:20 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
AS is right, the permaculture folk are forever falling all over themselves about that tree for just that reason...and it ain't a bad one either...

Neither is AS's strategy; the nitrogen fixing bacteria in the nodules won't really release until the tree dies, and as those roots rot they add carbon AND nitrogen back into the soil without plowing. That's a good trick...


Posted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:16 am
by Ozark Lady
In theory, I understand what you mean about the nitrogen setting etc.

In daily practice, I am not convinced, I will continue to cut out every locust tree that I can find!

I have raspberry and blackberry bushes, inching into my garden from the south, and the locust attack on the east, and a new one, Jimson (Datura) on the west, along with the stinging nettle....
I leave the nettle, the chickens hide from hawks in there, it is shade for the smaller animals, the bees love to forage there, I simply clear me a path through it. I let the brambles go, as long as they leave me room to get to my beds, but the Jimson and Locust are my enemies.

On the north of my garden is elderberries and pawpaw trees, mixed in with hardwood saplings, which I really need to thin out again. And simply leave the big trees, the pawpaw's under that, and the elderberry clump, the wild weed queen anne's lace is also underfoot there, it kind of looks pretty in bloom, but it is getting to be a jungle there.

I don't know how to post photos in forums, I have tried many times, so best I can do is link...
[I've edited the link to display –applestar]
The beds run east and west, in the above photo you are viewing the east and a bit of the south overgrowth. I simply cleared an area in the woods and made it a garden, and the woods keep trying to take it back, a constant battle. What you can't see is that the terrain drops about a foot every 4 feet from North to South, so it is a slope.

Weeds grow rampant there, and I leave quite a few of them, we just lop them down a bit, to keep it negotiable. I mean, how can you garden in weeds taller than you? But, I hate to have to pull clover out. I usually just plant tall plants, and trim the clover back, then when plant gets larger, the clover is a green manure growing at the base of it.

Posted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:06 pm
by Sage Hermit
you can use the leaves of raspberries and the fruits after some dehydrating for tea. Helps with gynecological health (specific to child birth) from what I'm told. Sorry I don't have much more to add to the thread. I like sleepy time myself.

Posted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:58 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
Hey OL

AS strategy WAS for cutting the locust, just grow them when you are not using the space and cut them down when you need it. Don't rip out roots, let them rot and cut any new shoots that spring up.


Posted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:53 pm
by Ozark Lady
Thanks everyone. And thanks Apple for helping with the image.

Hey Apple, I have been playing alot of You tube videos on mushroom cultivation. It is fascinating how the factories do it. Just what I need.... 'another project'! tee hee. But, I think it could go right along with gardening, and self sufficiency.

Okay, we need a mushroom thread. I have a million and one questions!

Posted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:30 pm
by gixxerific
Ozark Lady wrote: Okay, we need a mushroom thread. I have a million and one questions!
Something like this perhaps :lol: [url=]Applestars Mushroom Thread[/url]

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:34 pm
by Ozark Lady
Thanks, Gixx.
I thought that I had searched this entire forum and found just little bits and pieces here and there, never a good thread like that, about mushrooms.
I guess it shows that I don't look under permaculture, very often... Oops.
I really enjoyed that thread, and I would have sworn there wasn't one anywhere in this forum, back to the drawing board on getting to know this forum... ha ha.

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:35 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
Use that search box OL. All will be revealed... :wink:


Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:51 pm
by Ozark Lady
Me? Me do something the easy way.... how odd! :D

Now why didn't I think of that when I saw there are like 45 pages of posts in various categories, and thought... no way will I ever get through these... :roll:

I have noticed mushrooms like to grow in my garden, I will be happily weeding, and suddenly there is a whole clump of mushrooms under my plants. They are usually meadow mushrooms, but since they don't grow on wood, I just don't feel confident that they are safe to eat.

When you find mushrooms growing under your plants, I know they are cleaning stuff up, I remember the earlier info. But, are they good, bad, or indifferent for the garden as a whole? Are mushrooms in this case, a weed?

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:24 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
Mushrooms don't compete for nutrient like plants do; they are more focused on carbon than on nitrogen or the other major players. Fungi help penetrate soil for roots to negotiate, open the soil structure to hold more air and water, and create food sources and even symbiotic realtions that can benefit plants directly.

All in all our soils are generally short on fungal matter, and could use more. Most garden soils are bacterially dominant, making them more suitable for weeds than veggies. When you get an even balance you have created a less suitable situation for weeds and a better one for your veggies. The reason that forest soils are unsuitable is because they are TOO fungal, and we need to get bacterial foods and supplements (like compost) in them to get them to where we want them.

Knowing where you are on the soil succession range is just as easy as looking to see who is popping up. I suspect you are getting pretty close to balanced with a mix of weeds and locust, but locust is a bacterial specialist (hence the root nodules for nitrogen fixing bacteria), so you are probably still just a little bacterial. But I view the mushrooms as a real good sign you are almost there...


Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:07 pm
by Ozark Lady
Don't I wish, but actually, the locust are mostly on the east side, and the mushrooms are mostly on the west side... closest to the fruit trees and black walnut. They are totally different beds. The ones with the locust are poor soil and doing lousy. Predominantly rocks and roots. The ones with the mushrooms are diseased and doing lousy, except for the plants that have mushrooms. At least that is my guess, since the tomato plants failed there, but you know, the pepper plants all did great in that bed. I wonder if the mushroom spores were in the soil when I bought the plants?

The truly good beds are not either one of those, and do not have locust nor mushrooms, just lots of weeds, mostly from seeds in mulch... grass etc.

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:53 pm
by applestar
In Paul Stamets' garden mushroom experiments, Brussels Sprouts grown with Hypsizygus ulmarius (Elm/Beech oyster mushrooms) flourished better than those without, and, in something associated with him (I've forgotten what), King Stropharia (Garden Giant/Burgundy Wine Cap) mushrooms are recommended for growing on the shady side of corn rows.

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:43 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
Locust is a seral landscape specialist, a reclaimer of spent or damaged soils.Perhaps the best bet is to let them have it for a bit and then cut them back and amend with compost.

As for the other spot, let the mushrooms do their thing and you will have the soil you wish soon enough...


Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:29 pm
by Ozark Lady
One thing that I do, that is perhaps odd.

I let weeds 'mother' my tender young plants. I don't clear them out all the way, I simply remove enough of them to let me get my young plants into the bed. I then let them grow for a bit, using the weed shade as a protection. Then, once the plant is established, I slowly remove the weeds, so the extra sunlight does not shock my baby plant. Consequently, my early season garden, looks like it is neglected, when it isn't, well, not really... it is planned chaos.

I noticed that wild strawberries, would grow great, if you left them alone, but if you mess with them "helping" they die everytime. So, I started watching... wild strawberries grow, where my kids had weinie roasts, open burning was allowed when I observed this. They also grow best under weeds... shade... of course.

So, I tried burning brush on my beds, and then letting the weeds have their day. And it seemed to work, but some plants weren't crazy about the burned beds... all liked the "mothering done by weeds". And yet, most were glad to see them go.

I don't remove clover, unless I have to double dig a bed. I simply take my scissors to it, and trim it up, when it shades my plants too much, then I train it to grow around the base, as a green mulch. There are some other weeds that I do this with too, that I don't know what they are. If the weeds start outperforming the veggies or flowers there, then I know that is not a "friend".

My tame strawberries love sharing their bed with clover, but occasionally I have to have a talk with the clover... tee hee

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:01 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
A very healthy attitude towards your weeds, one that benefits your other plants and your soil. We have become too quick to pull or hoe and even spray poisons to rid ourselves of plants we can use to the advantage of both crop and soil.

This knowledge, known to every indigenous tribe around the globe, has been ignored and reviled by Western civlization as "laziness" and "neglect", when indeed it is the smartest form of agriculture to work with nature rather than against it. Glad to see that some out there still understand the true workings of the planet and use it to advantage.


Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:45 pm
by Toil
I've been reading this thread in awed silence.

All I did was ask a question and all this knowledge just exploded from everywhere.