The Grow System
What are your favorite identification apps for foraging? I have been using PlantNet, PlantSnap, and Seek by iNaturalist. Would love other recommendations!
Garlic mustard is invading my area and good to know it is edible too, but I don’t think I can eat it to extinction lol.
I look forward to when rose of Sharon grow, they look so pretty in a salad.
@OhiohillsLouise Rosalee's new book, Wild Remedies, has a recipe for mustard greens chermoula. If you like it, that might help to eat up some of your mustard. I might try it with some other greens added in this year as well.
so far this year yellow dock, teasel, mullien leaves ( i cheat cause i grow them around my house and the leaves each 2 1/2 feet ) soon will be white ,black and red mulberries arrow root yarrow nettle cleavers want to hunt for morels puff balls mushrroms huckle berries 2-3 months from now redcaps hawthorn berries in the fall, in search of burdock think i found some, along with normal vegies cattail
Spruce tips will be ready soon in my area. I make spruce tip honey with them as a cough and sore throat syrup. Just make sure you harvest them when it has been dry for a couple of days. One year mine were too wet and fermented in the jar. I threw it out but maybe I should have tried it and had spruce mead. LOL.
I actually plant dandelion seeds to try to grow my own in a pot, but have had trouble. Would love to have the nurtition of dandelion and feel confident that it is grown in organic soil that is not contaminated. Any other recommendations?
@jmachledt I too cannot get dandelion seeds to sprout in a pot. Outside they grow in either sun or shade, rich soil, poor soil....
Maybe they are rebellious plants that only want to grow where they are not wanted.
I have persimmons, clover, dandy lions, wild grapes, and blackberrys a plenty. I see many other options, but I do not trust my proper plant identification. I may be playing it too safe! :)
@dimck421 I feel the same way. I will often find plants I believe are edible but will not touch them until I can confirm with others exactly what the plant is and what parts I can use.
My daughter and I went out today and picked Juneberries. We got nearly 3/4 of a pound!
@Gail H Mine won't be ready for a bit. Some are just forming fruits but others still have flowers.
Dandelions, have roasted a couple of trays worth. Chickweed and cleavers were plentiful in my friends yard and he also has some mullein growing 😊. My yard has bunches of wild strawberries and some other things I’m sure are good but need to identify 100%. An old hickory tree next to my driveway in the yard next door (no one lives there).
What do you use the dock for? is it leaves for greens or do you use the seeds somehow? I used the young leaves for the first time, but the ones in my yard are already going to seed now.
We forage red & white clover, dandelion, ground plantain, lambsquarters, wood violet and some mint all from the yard for our rabbit. The kids forage common wood sorrel for a lemony-snack. We also have nettle growing, though I usually don't forage those. We have catnip for the cats, and we dry that when we find it.
In previous years, we foraged black raspberries along a bike trail north of us, or from a friend's acreage. Now we have them growing in our own yard, so we don't bother going anywhere for that anymore.
@Christa Maloy Welcome to the TGN Forum! Its a great place to ask questions, or post some of your knowledge to share.
Yellow dock can be used as a green, so added to salads or cooked like spinach. The root is classified as a bitter so it aids digestion. Also, leaves and roots are classified as an alterative so good for liver function and the elimination of waste. The root is widely used by herbalists to support patients with low iron levels, both for its iron content as well as its ability to assimilate iron from other foods. Usually made into a syrup with molasses (and sometimes other herbs) for this purpose. The seeds can be ground and used as a flour or added to other flour blends.
Anyone with the tendency for kidney stones should avoid dock as well as anyone with hemochromatosis.
I'm not super dock knowledgeable. Is there a difference between yellow dock and curly dock? I think what I have here is curly dock.
@Christa Maloy Rosalee de la Foret has a good article about Yellow Dock (aka Curled Dock, Curly Dock, Sorrel, etc.) at: https://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/curled-dock.html
This is a link to a plant ID website that might help you decide which Rumex species you have. It is a BC site (so mostly plants from the Pacific Northwest) but it has good pictures and plant ID information. https://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/DB_Query/QueryForm.aspx?hfl=1&f=1&Genus=Rumex&lifeform=0&Thumbs=Y
After making sure of I.D. permission, and sustainability of plants I like to forage for Nettles, horehound, blackberries, cleavers, elder flowers and berries, yellow/curly dock, mustard and radish greens. It is very exciting to see what our local areas have to offer I just have to be careful about plant hoarding haha😬
Spring is going to be rolling around again soon! What is the first thing you will forage for this year?
Right now we are under a small layer of snow so there is no harvesting. But when its time I am lucky to have a little of everything here.
I had to add elderberry (although there is some 1/4 mile away and on my brothers property) and ramps. Right now I harvest about 3 miles away in a one acre plot of ramps.
In the spring I mow late or in spots so that I can harvest dandelions and violets. I am blessed like@SherryA with a nice supply of almost everything. I love my yard too and I know its chemical free.
@gardneto76 when its nicer out I do go foraging on friends property and my brothers. Together the have about 125 acres. I can also go to my neighbors who has about 60 acres. one is a 5 minute walk, the other a 5 minute drive. I have 17 acres here.
I love foraging because you get out and see nature so its fun to hit the road when you can. We have a lot of back roads here where people will let you pick things. They usually just give you a look or ask you a lot of questions and learn something.
I love pricky pear. I guess if you ask how far I go to forage - Prickly Pear would be my longest forage. I live in Pa, I got the prickly pear in the state of Indiana. We were at a Studebaker International car show. It was 6 am and I saw prickly pear by a restaurant near us that was shut down. ( I later heard it had a fire and chose not to reopen) Well, I asked a few questions, found a big spoon and dug some up and broke some off. I had to borrow gloves from one of the car owners and paper towels to keep them moist so they would hold until we returned home.
I later heard my brother tell one of his car friends he couldn't take me out in public without an adventure.
I saw some wild garlic still green in my woods yesterday, but pickings are generally pretty thin right now. Chickweed, henbit and deadnettle are usually the first edible greens to show up here in west-central Missouri, probably in a month or so. New cattail shoots will soon be up too. Violets, stinging nettle, poke, wild asparagus, cleavers, pepperweed, shepard's purse and various mustards will be along soon after, dock too, and probably other greens I've forgotten. By late April I'll have a regular salad bar growing in the clearings in my woods. Never find much in the way of edible mushrooms though, which is always disappointing.
One year in late April I was out foraging in my woods right after a rain. Everything was so fresh and yummy. I came to one spot where the ground was covered with a variety of edible greens, and I got down on my knees to gather some. Was soon eating more than I was putting in my basket, just enjoying the fresh, crunchy, juicy feast of flavors, when I looked up, and there on the other side of the clearing was a rabbit, sitting up on his haunches and staring at me like he just couldn't believe what he was seeing. So I told him, Well you guys have no scruples about raiding my garden, so I guess I can raid yours once in a while too!
@MaryRowe sounds like you have a nice selection. Its so nice to have all that free food to forage. Plus its always fun and an adventure.
I need to add mushrooms to the property. With the creek and woodlands I know I have a good place to grow them. My nephew has a friend who is going to teach us more about mushrooms. I know I have two edible wild mushrooms that are safe but we have others and I have to ID them first.
I also want to add ramps. My entire family has harvested them for years but last year was the first year I tried them.
I travel a lot of back roads and as I'm driving slowly down these roads, I'm watching for wild animals, Amish wagons, farm equipment, I'm pretty slow so I can keep an eye on the plants on the sides of the roads. If I see something that I don't know what it is by the leaf, flowers etc. I'll stop take pictures of it, write down the area - road name, by large white rock past sharp S curve etc.. Then when I'm home I can look it up it see what "finds" I found. I don't pick anything I can't positively ID and most places have no cell service to use the plant ID sites. When I find something new I read up on it and learn as much as I can.
My goal was to learn 1 new forage plant a week, what I would use it for. I tried picking the "weeds" then watch for those but I had better luck ID the plant after I found it. All the others I tried to find were off on the timing, not blooming, already bloomed, missed the fruit, etc. I found soooooo many things I didn't think we had and many others all the sites say you will not find this in your area.
@Denise Grant & @MaryRowe Living in Phoenix I already have an abundant supply of common mallow, henbit, and chickweed. It is so plentiful In the sprint I can use it as green matter in my compost. I only have an 8,000SF lot here in the city and the henbit & chickweed grow anywhere there is not cement. My chickens eat all they can, but with only 2 there is no way we can eat all of it.
@bcabrobin I need to get better at taking notes as to where I find things. We often go off-roading around the mountains. I have found several different varieties of Prickly Pears and yucca. We drive slowly down the forest roads watching nature. It is our escape from the city. I have pictures of things, looked them up in my foraging book, but now I cannot remember which trail or forest road we found them on.
@MaryRowe I have a beautiful stand of wild garlic growing. It must by 20 foot by 20 foot. I love the scrapes and harvest and give a lot away.
Why does foraged food alwasy taste to much better? It might be the stories that often go with it?
Despite not being a big fan of electronic technology, I have discovered that a GPS is a herbalist's or forager's best friend when it comes to locating that special plant that you found last year. I know that most cell phones these days have GPS locators in them, but I am not sure if they always work when out of service areas. GPSs are relatively inexpensive (when you consider other electronic devices) and they have the ability to store locations.
There won't be anything to harvest here for at least a couple of months now. We are finally getting winter. More snow in the last couple of days than there has been all season and temps are starting to drop today.
I suppose I could harvest conifer needles for tea. Or bark if I needed any. There are a few rose hips left on the bushes that the birds haven't finished off. But I have lots of goodies in storage so no need for anything till the spring harvest starts. Cottonwood buds will be the first thing but not for a couple of months.
@Denise Grant Foraged food doesn't always taste better....I've tried some pretty "earthy" tasting stuff on occasion that I would have to be very hungry to try again....But you are right--for the most part foraged does taste soooo good, just popping with flavor. It's probably partly the fun and adventure of finding it yourself, but then too, wild foods are generally so much more nutritious than cultivated varieties, and since we generally eat them fresh picked, it's no wonder they taste so good!
I know we are all waiting impatiently for the first green shoots of spring, but is there anything good to forage right now? Normally this time of year I leave any wild edibles still out there for the critters who need them more than I do. But if I was really hungry, in a survival situation, there are still a few shriveled rose hips on the bushes and a few juniper berries the birds have missed. It's not too hard frozen here yet to dig up some cattail roots. @torey also mentioned conifer needles and bark. What else is out there this time of year?
I am lucky to have a local fairground across the road from my house. It is used for a 10 day fair at the end of August, and sits mostly vacant until then. I have foraged St. John's wort, plantain, and red clover from their yet-to-be-mown fields.
I have wild raspberry growing on the edge of my back yard, and my sister has violets that pop up every spring. Violet lemonade (made from the purple flowers) is magical! It changes color when lemon is added to the violet tea.
@Wendy Violets also make a wonderful Jelly