I like the comment by Eve Emshwiller in the interesting article http://whyfiles.org/2012/farming-native-american-style looking at how to learn from how the Native Americans had developed stable, sophisticated food-gathering systems:
“There were a lot of people who were not considered agriculturalists, who were [supposedly] just gathering from the wild. But if you really understand what they were doing, there is not a sharp line between gathering and farming. There is a huge continuum of ways that people manage resources and get more from them.” This is a message that I try to get across in my book where many examples are given of this continuum between foraging and gardening.
I grow a couple of the wild gathered tubers mentioned in the article. First, Riceroot is a really hardy edimental and an important foraged food plant across its range (the first group of pictures below). The last three pictures are of Hog peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata).
The ATW selfie is going viral worldwide…. ;) Send me yours and it will be added…you will be showing support of a very good cause: the conservation of the amazing diversity of food plants Around the World!
The first time I made a megasalad in 2001 with 363 different plants (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=206) I approached Guinness to claim a world record. They were not interested and I accidentally found the rejection email today (from 10th October 2001). Their reply: “Unfortunately, we would not be interested in a record for the most diverse salad. I recommend that you choose a salad of some particular variety and attempt the largest salad of its kind.”
After this, I was glad that I’d been refused as the Guinness Records represent greed and an inorganic product. I tried half seriously to find an organic brewery that would be interested in starting a record book of records with a sustainable message…..still looking…
I’ve eaten vegan food for Xmas for over 30 years and it’s always nut roast and a diversity of colourful tubers from all over the world!
The seeds on the nut roast are “bulbils” of Alpine Bistort (Polygonum viviparum) (more in the book!)
Hablitzia (the Caucasian Spinach) and Digitalis purpurea (Common Foxglove) are both shade tolerant perennials one an edible and the other an important medicinal, so not unlikely that they would meet as in these lovely pictures captured by my old friend Robin ALLAN whose name I spelled wrongly in the book’s acknowledgements, confusing with my cousins who are ALLENs.
The coffee plant is a fantastic edimental indoor plant that tolerates quite low temperatures in winter….but don’t expect more than a cup of coffee a year :) Coffee tea is an alternative (made from the leaves) and the fruit are also tasty. Strangely, coffee fruit juice isn’t often seen (large amounts of fruit flesh must just be thrown away)? Coffee fruit wine is also produced locally..
There are 8 pages in my book devoted to this, one of my all time favourite perennial vegetables, Hablitzia tamnoides. I prefer just to call it Hablitzia or Habby as my friend Telsing calls it fondly, but sometimes it is known as the Caucasian spinach revealing its home territory. I’m particularly in awe of its hardiness as shoots appear in autumn and are usually undamaged after being exposed to up to 3 months of freezing temperatures. Even if the shoots were killed off, there are numerous shoots waiting at the ready to sprout from the roots! Even on the 31st December, the snow having disappeared for some days, I could now harvest a few shoots for a winter salad! I did this last Xmas which was very mild – the reddish shoots at the bottom in the 50 species salad picture are Hablitzia. The pictures of my oldest Hablitzia root mound below were taken today, 31st December 2014….
I also noticed like last year that several seeds have already sprouted around the plant, eager to get started with spring. Last year they all died in our winter drought…. I’ll leave them and see if they make it… :)
Oca (Oxalis tuberosa) is a short day plant from the Andes which produces next to nothing outside here as the plants are usually killed by the first hard frosts in early October…..
In order to lengthen the season, I grow my Ocas in large pots, which I usually bring in to the porch on the first frosts…
This year I was a bit late and most of the foliage was killed before I could bring the plants inside and only the odd stem remained green until harvest. I hadn’t therefore expected much yield. However, some of the varieties were as good as normal….
Most of the snow disappeared in the garden after rain and high temperatures over the last 24 hours…revealing this old man’s beard in seed. I’ve grown Clematis vitalba as a spring edible (cooked young shoots) for a number of years, but after a long mild summer and autumn this is the first time the seed has matured and the beard has emerged…this is a good one for the Forest Garden, but remember that it needs to be cooked as poisonous raw like most members of the Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae…
Clematis vitalba is an important wild foraged edible particularly in Italy!