Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

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Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby DrJones » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:24 pm

My wife has been moving more towards raw foods, and we've been eating wild greens such as blue mustard which grows wild and abundantly in Sanpete Co. We also took a class on herbs and alt healing. Hence this thread.

friendsofthe asked:
I suppose I need to learn more about blue mustard, what is it? As for the dandelion, I tried that last year and it was awfully bitter. Is there a secret to eating dandelion?


Attached is a photo of blue mustard. Mild, a bit tangy, delicious IMHO. In Spring City, Sanpete Co, most of the homes have about an acre of land (more outside of town in the county). Blue mustard is everywhere -- blue/purple fields seen in the spring time.

Dandelion seems best early in the spring -- BEFORE its yellow flowers appear.
In town, a rich guy bought a bunch of heirloom seeds (about a year ago) and has made these available to towns folk -- condition: for those who will grow their own gardens. Very nice guy!

We had delicious early lettuce last year; planning more this year. Also, lots of garlic already planted ready to spring forth. It has been a mild winter so far; finally we're getting the water we need in the mountains.
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Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby DrJones » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:30 pm

PS -- we have dandelion and blue mustard growing wild in our lawn; on our acre. In Provo, I would spray the darn weeds. Here I let 'em grow and eat them! Yummy! :ymhug:

It's a whole different life style here. Chickens are rather abundant, sheep, cattle, and horses of course. Lots of people have gardens.

In Provo, a neighbor was coerced by the city to NOT have a garden in front of his house where it could be viewed from the street. Here, we would laugh at such nonsense. :)) My one garden is right in front!
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby Tesla » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:12 pm

Thanks for sharing about garden locations. We lived in the Seattle area for 14 years, just 9 months ago we moved to North Idaho where we have 5 acres. From our house we have a beautiful view of the mountains and we cannot see a single light or house. We can finally grow a garden anywhere and build anything we like, chicken coops etc. Its wonderful.
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby Rensai » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:41 pm

Tesla wrote:Thanks for sharing about garden locations. We lived in the Seattle area for 14 years, just 9 months ago we moved to North Idaho where we have 5 acres. From our house we have a beautiful view of the mountains and we cannot see a single light or house. We can finally grow a garden anywhere and build anything we like, chicken coops etc. Its wonderful.


That sounds wonderful and has been my dream for some time. I sure hope I can find the means to do something like that before too much longer.
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby Rob » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:07 pm

Dandelion greens are fantastic. As is usually the case, timing is a factor. They're less bitter before they go to flower.

The root has its purpose as well. I know of a number of herbal formulas that use dandelion root as a hepatic.

Hope this isn't too much of a tangent, but here's a video showing how to make a decoction of dandelion root in the wild. I think he's over-boiling it, but the concept is pretty cool.
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d38_1327449809
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby DrJones » Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:16 pm

Good comments, much appreciated. North Idaho, Montana, Sanpete Co... there are several places to think about. But IIRC, President Packer said there is no one geographical spot that is "guaranteed safe" and it becomes a matter for pondering and prayer for each family -- also IMHO.

That said, it's sure a good idea to know the edibles are growing wild in your area. Some are talking about planting certain herbs in the mountains around here ;)

In fact, one might choose a refuge spot based on the number of dandelions growing there -- the Dandelion Index. (I just made that up :) but it makes some sense.)
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From the bartering thread--

Postby bobhenstra » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:05 pm

---Grandma had a big garden but it was mostly things like squash, pumpkins, cabbage, stick to your ribs types of foods. Her favorite garden was in her basement. She had the boys make her a rectangular box out of scraps gleaned from the “yard,” where the grain come from-----” it was about 8 foot long, and it was waterproofed with wax, then she had them make smaller square boxes with out bottoms or tops, they were about 6 inches high. Then she and the girls went into the fields and dug up dandelions, roots and all, they packed the dandelions into the smaller boxes with bottom of the roots all level with the bottom of the boxes, they packed them in tight, with a little dirt packed around each root. They cut the leaves off the crowns of each plant without damaging the crowns, put the smaller boxes into the larger box, poured some water into the large box and grew dandelion greens in the basement. Dandelion greens grown in the sun are very bitter, grown in the basement they were pale green almost yellow, the bitter taste gone, and were a family favorite steamed or in salads. Jo and I found a little bit of liquid fertilizer didn’t hurt, and the small boxes need to be held about 1/2 inch of the bottom of the big box. You can get an ample harvest out of each box about five times, 8 small boxes will supply enough greens to last a winter.

Jo and I like sprouting seed for veggies and salads much better, but anything that works in an emergency----
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby DrJones » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:39 pm

Bob:
Dandelion greens grown in the sun are very bitter, grown in the basement they were pale green almost yellow, the bitter taste gone, and were a family favorite steamed or in salads. Jo and I found a little bit of liquid fertilizer didn’t hurt, and the small boxes need to be held about 1/2 inch of the bottom of the big box.


I've never heard of this one, Bob -- great idea! but do they require the basement lights to be on? to give them some light? seems they would not grow (not much) in the dark...
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby bobhenstra » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:54 am

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4373 First page

Grandpa's basement wasn't totally dark, we could see what we were doing down there. But the dandelion greens grew very well. They'll also grow in an enclosed porch. We grew them in our basement just fine. Steam them and add bacon bits, absolutely scrumptious!

However, Jo and I discovered we liked sprouts better, our kids would eat sprouts, no problem!. Virtually any seed can be sprouted! I made a automatic waterer to grow our sprouts, we could grow eight trays of different types of sprouts in two five gallon buckets stacked. Jo would steam a tray, something different every night for dinner, then she would wash the tray off, put in some different type of seed and place the tray back in the five gallon bucket. The buckets had siphon tubes attached to the inside wall of the bucket. We used a standard lawn sprinkler timer and a small pump to fill the buckets four times a day, when the water reach the level to the top of the siphon, the water drained automatically from the top bucket into the bottom bucket then out of the bottom bucket into the 15 gallon water storage container.

We live on five acres of wild foods. Showy milkweed plant parts are also very good eating, tastes like fresh peas when cooked correctly, however, you have to get the right milkweed plant and, it has to be cooked correctly, other milkweeds are poison, will make you quite ill. Showy milkweed was Jo's favorite wild food to eat. The flowers can be deep fried, the young flower buds and a little later the very young seed pods are great eating when, cooked correctly! The green parts must be boiled three different times, the water from the first two discarded, the white milky latex sap is water soluble, and must be removed from the plant parts before consumption by boiling. But the taste of the cooked plant is outstanding, butter, salt and pepper!

Image

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Re: From the bartering thread--

Postby Rand » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:46 am

bobhenstra wrote:---Grandma had a big garden but it was mostly things like squash, pumpkins, cabbage, stick to your ribs types of foods. Her favorite garden was in her basement. She had the boys make her a rectangular box out of scraps gleaned from the “yard,” where the grain come from-----” it was about 8 foot long, and it was waterproofed with wax, then she had them make smaller square boxes with out bottoms or tops, they were about 6 inches high. Then she and the girls went into the fields and dug up dandelions, roots and all, they packed the dandelions into the smaller boxes with bottom of the roots all level with the bottom of the boxes, they packed them in tight, with a little dirt packed around each root. They cut the leaves off the crowns of each plant without damaging the crowns, put the smaller boxes into the larger box, poured some water into the large box and grew dandelion greens in the basement. Dandelion greens grown in the sun are very bitter, grown in the basement they were pale green almost yellow, the bitter taste gone, and were a family favorite steamed or in salads. Jo and I found a little bit of liquid fertilizer didn’t hurt, and the small boxes need to be held about 1/2 inch of the bottom of the big box. You can get an ample harvest out of each box about five times, 8 small boxes will supply enough greens to last a winter.

Jo and I like sprouting seed for veggies and salads much better, but anything that works in an emergency----

Bob, you just keep offering original and practical solutions to life's potential challenges. Many thanks. Rand
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby bobhenstra » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:02 pm

Your very welcome Rand, My Father having grown up during the Great Depression was always concerned about another depression happening. He, like everyone had his weaknesses, but one of them was not knowing how to survive in tough times.

It's truly amazing how much wild food is actually out there, all we need do is get the information and practice it, practice, practice, practice-- learn to enjoy wild foods, or learn to understand what's edible you may not enjoy so much, but it's something in your stomach. Hunger pains hurt, it's going to real hard on mommy and daddy looking into their hungry child's eyes, because parents are not prepared, how do we explain our lack of preparation to hungry eyes, little bodies racked with hunger pain?

About three hundred yards below my home there is a swampy area that contains enough wild food to sustain our little town for a year. Cattails, reeds, watercress fish, frogs, fantastic tasting crayfish, ducks, pheasants. Birds of many different varieties. Animals of many different kinds-- all that can be used for food. Many of which will require a much different attitude as to whats edible and what isn't. Squimish won't work when your hungry, believe me, when hunger pains hit, you'll eat, even if what your looking at cooking is a muskrat, you'll eat!

Crayfish tails dipped in garlic butter, and steamed watercress, a little salt, one of my favorite meals!

Bob
Last edited by bobhenstra on Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby SmallFarm » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:23 pm

My avatar picture is Amaranth, a wild edible that grows everywhere. :D
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby bobhenstra » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:23 pm

SmallFarm wrote:My avatar picture is Amaranth, a wild edible that grows everywhere. :D

Sprouted amaranth seeds steamed, a little sugar, bit of milk, breakfast--- yum!

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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby AGalagaChiasmus » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:19 pm

I have chickweed growing all over my backyard (small .083 acre lot), so I grabbed some up and washed it and ate it yesterday. My wife just looked at me funny. Anyone got chickweed recipes?
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby bobhenstra » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:09 pm

Did we lose Stephen on this site, his website is full of great wild foods information. I suggest everyone simply google "edible wild plants" you'll get so many hits you won't be able to study them all.

Since I grew up like I did, one of my very favorite books is a book written by Dolly Freed called "Possum Living" How to Live Well Without a Job and With Almost no Money! It's almost exactly like my family growing up, cept Dad had a job--- but it's the way Mom and Dad chose to live. Literally tons of wild asparagus graced our table, we ate wild long tailed chickens, pond chickens that flew right over the house, every type of fish we could procure, anything and everything edible, and believe me, My Mother was a great cook! (Had to send Jo for three weeks of OJT right after we were married!)

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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby DrJones » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:57 pm

Thanks for your practical down-to-earth advice, Bob. You just might survive the coming crunch with insights like this!

About three hundred yards below my home there is a swampy area that contains enough wild food to sustain our little town for a year. Cattails, reeds, watercress fish, frogs, fantastic tasting crayfish, ducks, pheasants. Birds of many different varieties. Animals of many different kinds-- all that can be used for food. Many of which will require a much different attitude as to whats edible and what isn't. Squimish won't work when your hungry, believe me, when hunger pains hit, you'll eat, even if what your looking at cooking is a muskrat, you'll eat!

Crayfish tails dipped in garlic butter, and steamed watercress, a little salt, one of my favorite meals!
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby bbrown » Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:26 am

Hey, one possible use for cattail...a friend's dad was over-exposed to radiation and they told him he'd never have kids, etc. Somehow he knew/heard about using cattail root tea for that, and he ended up having 12 and is still healthy with grandkids gallore. Sadly they don't seem to grow around here, but I have bought some local herb books since we've got TONS of stuff, it is just very different from places like UT and ID. Though our dandelions are generally knee-high, taproots go to China, and they're definitely plentiful. ;) You'd be a fool to starve to death here.
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby DrJones » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:25 am

Cattail, you say? Can someone tell me just what parts of the cattail you eat, and how you recognize it?

Meanwhile, I found that I can buy dandelion seeds on-line. He he... Hey, they're edible and prolific! I'm seriously thinking about PLANTING them on some land we have in the mountains... :ymhug: Then eating them. Free food basically.
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby bobhenstra » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:39 pm

The incredible cattail
The super Wal-Mart of the swamp

By Kevin F. Duffy

I can think of no other North American plant that is more useful than the cattail. This wonderful plant is a virtual gold mine of survival utility. It is a four-season food, medicinal, and utility plant. What other plant can boast eight food products, three medicinals, and at least 12 other functional uses?

Cattails in winter
The Common Cattail (Typha latifolia) and its brethren Narrowleaf Cattail (Typha angustifolia), Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis), and Blue Cattail (Typha Glauca), have representatives found throughout North America and most of the world. While living in Northern Japan, I spent many chilly mornings in snow storms among miles of cattails while duck hunting. Cattail is a member of the grass family, Gramineae, as are rice, corn, wheat, oats, barley, and rye, just to mention a few. Of the 15 most commonly consumed domesticated plant foods, 10 are grasses. However, of more than 1300 wild grasses, none holds a loftier position as a survival food than cattail. Just about any place you can find year-round standing water or wet soil, you can usually find cattails.

In Euell Gibbons’ Stalking the Wild Asparagus, his chapter on cattails is titled “Supermarket of the Swamp.” As you will see, this title aptly applies to the cattail. However, due to its medicinal and utilitarian uses, we may want to mentally modify the title to “Super Wal-Mart of the Swamp.”

Identification

Cattails are readily identified by the characteristic brown seed head. There are some poisonous look-alikes that may be mistaken for cattail, but none of these look-alikes possess the brown seed head.
Cattail, Common and Narrow-leaf Blue Flag (Iris versicolor) and Yellow Flag (Iris pseudoacorus) and other members of the iris family all possess the cattail-like leaves, but none possesses the brown seed head. All members of the Iris family are poisonous. Another look-alike which is not poisonous, but whose leaves look more like cattail than iris is the Sweet Flag (Acorus calumus). Sweet Flag has a very pleasant spicy, sweet aroma when the leaves are bruised. It also does not posses the brown seed head. Neither the irises nor cattail has the sweet, spicy aroma. I have seen large stands of cattails and sweet flag growing side by side. As with all wild edibles, positive identification is essential. If you are not sure, do not eat it.

Corms, shoots, and spikes

In just about any survival situation, whether self-imposed or not, one of the first plants I look for is the cattail. As a food plant, cattails are outstanding and offer a variety of food products according to the season. In early spring, dig up the roots to locate the small pointed shoots called corms. These can be removed, peeled, and eaten, added to other spring greens for a salad, or cooked in stews or alone as a pot herb. As the plant growth progresses to where the shoots reach a height of two to three feet above the water, peel and eat like the corms, or sautee. This food product is also known as “Cossack Asparagus” due to the Russians’ fondness for it.

In late spring to early summer, some of my favorite food products come into fruition on the cattail. Soon after these shoots become available, the green female bloom spikes and the male pollen spikes begin to emerge. These spikes can be found in the center of the plant and form a cylindrical projection that can only be detected when you’re close to the plant. Peel back the leaves in the same way you would shuck corn, and both the male portion above and the female below can be seen. The female portion will later develop into the familiar brown “cattail” seed head from which the plant’s name is derived. The male portion will atrophy into a small dried twig that may easily break off the top of the seed head. Both the male and female pollen spikes can be boiled and eaten like corn on the cob, and both are delicious. The male portion provides a bigger meal at this stage. They have a flavor that is corn-like, but distinct from corn. I cannot imagine anyone finding the flavor objectionable. Both may also be eaten raw.

Pollen and root starch

Later, the male pollen head will begin to develop an abundance of yellow pollen with a talcum powder consistency that can easily be shaken off into any container. Several pounds of this can be collected in less than an hour. The traditional use of this pollen is to substitute for some the flour in pancakes to make cattail pancakes. This also works well with cornbread. Other uses of the pollen include thickeners or flour extenders for breads, cakes, etc.

Cooked male and female pollen and bloom spikes
In late summer to early fall, the tender inner portions of the leaf stalk may still be collected, but the availability of this Cossack Asparagus begins to dwindle, due to the toughening up of the plant. During this period and all the way to spring, the most abundant food product, the root starch, may be harvested. It is so abundant, a study was conducted at the Cattail Research Center of Syracuse University’s Department of Plant Sciences. The chief investigator of the project was Leland Marsh. The reported results were as follows:

Yields are fantastic. Marsh discovered he could harvest 140 tons of rhizomes per acre near Wolcott, NY. That represents something more than 10 times the average yield per acre of potatoes. In terms of dry weight of cattail flour, the 140 tons of roots would yield approximately 32 tons.

To extract the flour or starch from the cattail root, simply collect the roots, wash, and peel them. Next, break up the roots under water. The flour will begin to separate from the fibers. Continue this process until the fibers are all separated and the sweet flour is removed. Remove the fiber and pour off the excess water.

Allow the remaining flour slurry to dry by placing near a fire or using the sun.

Cattail root flour also contains gluten. Gluten is the constituent in wheat flour that allows flour to rise in yeast breads. The Iroquois Indians macerated and boiled the roots to produce a fine syrup, which they used in a corn meal pudding and to sweeten other dishes. Some Indians burned the mature brown seed heads to extract the small seeds from the fluff, which was used to make gruels and added to soups.

Medicinal and other uses

The medicinal uses of cattails include poultices made from the split and bruised roots that can be applied to cuts,
Yellow Flag, a poisonous cattail look-alike.
None of the look-alikes has the
characteristic brown seed head. wounds, burns, stings, and bruises. The ash of the burned cattail leaves can be used as an antiseptic or styptic for wounds. A small drop of a honey-like excretion, often found near the base of the plant, can be used as an antiseptic for small wounds and toothaches.

The utility of this cattail is limited only by your imagination. The dried stalks can be used for hand drills and arrow shafts. The seed heads and dried leaves can be used as tinder. The seed head fluff can be used for pillow and bedding stuffing or as a down-like insulation in clothing. The leaves can be used for construction of shelters or for woven seats and backs of chairs, which has been a traditional use for hundreds of years.

They can be woven into baskets, hats, mats, and beds. The dried seed heads attached to their stalks can be dipped into melted animal fat or oil and used as torches.

The next time you see “The Super Wal-Mart of the Swamp,” why don’t you do some shopping?

Image
Sources

1. Gibbons, Euell, Stalking the Wild Asparagus. Alan C. Hood and Company, Putney, Vermont; 1962. 303 pp.
2. Harris, B., Eat The Weeds. Barre Publishers, Garre, MA; 1971. 223 pp.


However, as the scriptures say; There must be opposition in all things. The opposition here is;

Image Yellow Flag, a poisonous cattail look-alike. None of the look-alikes has the characteristic brown seed head.

A poisonous plant that looks a little like cattails. Make sure you know what your picking, know the difference.

There are many varieties of mushrooms that are absolutely Delicious. And, there are those, if eaten, will kill you! And according to the testimonies of those no longer with us, they're delicious! You have to know what your doing with wild foods.

We have eaten cattails and cattail parts for many years! The marshy area below my house is wide and several miles long. Even "if" we are hit by a serious drought we'll still be able to dig the rich roots for their valuable starch, just like the Native Americans did before us! There is more to eat in a marsh than there is in a forest.

To get the above information I simply googled "wild foods, cattails" I suggest "wild foods, chickweed" Make sure your printer is loaded with plenty of ink and paper.

Bob
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby bobhenstra » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:56 pm

Every Prophet I quote, everything I write is my opinion.

Joseph Smith Salvation consists in the glory, authority, majesty, power and dominion which Jehovah possesses and in nothing else; and no being can possess it but himself or one like him
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby DrJones » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:42 pm

Thanks, Bob. Very helpful information!
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby AGalagaChiasmus » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:04 am

Chickweed is very tasty and flourishing in our mild Oklahoma winters:

1.Chickweed addresses these conditions: lymph mover, swollen glands, sore throat

2. Chickweed dissolves cysts, tumors and irregular growths

3. Chickweed helps skin disorders, a favorite for diaper rash and babies, used topically for skin eruptions, hemorrhoids, cuts, wounds, burns, etc. It

4. Chickweed is effective with dry coughs

5. Chickweed deals with inflammatory problems: ulcers, hemorrhoids, gallbladder.

6. Chickweed heals wounds and draws out infection

7. Chickweed is really helpful with eye problems: pinkeye, itchy and dry eyes

8. Chickweed is a joint oiler for rheumatism

9. Chickweed is considered by many an herbal diet pill, Eating chickweed also thins the membranes of your cells so that nutrients are more readily absorbed and utilized.
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby DrJones » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:36 am

So I looked around and bought about 10,000 dandelion seeds for our spot in the mountains, etc. Lezlee says I can also plant some in the north half-acre, but not IN the grass! LOL.

I also bought a bunch of purselane and some cattail seeds.

1 "Dandelion - 10000 Seeds"
$8.99
In Stock
Sold by: Outsidepride
1 "Purslane - 5000 Seeds"
$4.99
In Stock
Sold by: Outsidepride


My daughter Becky thinks I'm a hero to get these wild greens... :ymhug: She's going more raw, green smoothies etc.

Yummy! Oh, and I bought some salad dressing.. :)
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby bobhenstra » Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:40 pm

Lol, vinegar and oil Steve, vinegar and oil! Dandelion seeds sprout well and are delicious! But they won't do well in basement gardens. You'll need mature roots for that purpose. Purselane seeds can be cultivated in a garden, in fact you can purchase improved varieties of Purselane seeds that grow much larger leaves for your garden. But planted in a pasture is good too! Purselane is a very common salad food in Europe, used in soups in the Far East. Cattail seeds will only grow in areas where the ground is continually wet.

I mentioned on another thread that the very best survival book in print is the Air Force Pilots Survival Manual, but the very best book for living in depression type conditions I've ever come across, is called "Possum Living" by Dolly Freed. Both books are full of every day "simple" ideas to exist in terrible conditions.

I suggest copies of both books, lots of study and as much practice as you can do----- legally of course!

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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby DrJones » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:10 pm

Here's a note about early gardens and TEOTWAWKI... Note the source, survivalblog.com --
http://survivalblog.com/2012/02/surviva ... ndy-m.html

Survival Gardening: A Cautionary Tale, by Cindy M.

I am writing this to encourage you to do with gardening and food preparation what we are encouraged to do with all of our prepping, practice, practice practice, your life depends on knowing that your plan will work! I don't know if this will even qualify as a survival article but if nothing else maybe it will help some, like me, who need that little kick in the pants to start practicing our survival plans. Maybe some of our mistakes, outlined in this article, will help you avoid them and experience a more successful first year of gardening than we experienced.

My husband and I have spent the past three years researching information on seeds and gardening and we agreed that this would be my area to plan and oversee with his help. We understood that our choice of seeds and the success of our gardening could mean the difference between surviving or not. We chose heirloom seeds so we could save seeds for future gardens. We considered our options for placement, we have a very big challenge, we have limited space for a garden due to our location. We opted for raised beds, this is to help maximize space and yield.

Last year we purchased our seeds as part of our Christmas, which was centered on preparation and survival equipment. In February, I began my first year of survival gardening. I had planned what to plant and knew what needed to be started indoors before spring. I put the grow lights in the basement fixtures where we were setting up our little green house and meticulously spent a day planting my seeds with a lot of optimism and prayer. It was very exciting to see the little seedlings start to grow and gave me a real sense of accomplishment. In the spring I moved them up to our sun porch, to start hardening them off. We got our raised beds built. We then prepped the ground we were placing them on, tilling and removing grass etc. We then filled our raised beds and I made my map of where everything was to be planted based on my assessment of the sun, the space and trying companion planting to help control pests. The raised beds were also awesome for controlling weeds, grass etc and helped with watering and prevented wasting water. We used lumber from pallets that we were able to get for free. The down side is that they will have to be replaced, something we are working on with a more permanent solution, it is that or stock up on pallets for replacement down the road.

As the days warmed we began planting and moving our plants outdoors. We also chose to utilize Square Foot gardening in our beds, to maximize space. We used string to mark off the beds in square foot planting grids. This worked well for us and we will continue to use this method. I knew early on that my tomato's were not doing as well as I hoped. I gave it several weeks and decided to replace them, so I went to a local nursery and bought replacement non hybrid variety's and replanted. Not an option TEOTWAWKI. We also had several other failures from our attempt to start our seedlings indoors. In fact almost everything we started inside failed and had to be replaced or we simply did not grow this year. I know what some of my mistakes were and will try again this year making adjustments. The size and type of containers as well as waiting to long to move them up to the sun porch was part of the problem as well as the soil mixture we chose. So this year I will practice once again and hope that I have learned enough on this front to be on the road to success.

We had mixed results with the seeds planted directly into the soil, our beans, squash, peas and cucumber did well but were planted too late. Our yield was very low. I also lost my squash's and cucumbers to a pest that rotted the main stem. We tried using diatomaceous earth for pest control with limited success, you have to reapply every time it rains and it can also kill the critters you want in you garden. Next lesson learned, Sevin Dust is going into our survival supplies, at least until I master organic gardening. A little Seven on the garden is more desirable than a loss of life sustaining food. The next problem I encountered was my layout failed. I planted in such a way that my tomato's overshadowed my peppers and we did not get enough sun and they grew like vines and never yielded anything. They could not get enough sun. I learned this year what parts of my garden layout worked to best utilize the sun exposure and where it failed. I also did not allow enough room and need to plant more beans. The weather was also a challenge, we live in the Midwest and our summers can be very dry and hot. Our tomato's grew and grew but were not setting fruit or did not ripen until the weather moderated closer to fall. Earlier planting would have yielded us an early crop to enhance the later crop close to fall, having to replant cost us valuable time in the early season. We had some great salads using our large variety of lettuces and I learned how to pick the lettuce and a variety of greens to keep them producing. I was able to can about 19 pints of tomatoes, 9 pints of pickles from the cucumbers before the pests got them and 16 pints of green tomato salsa. I also gathered a pint of mixed dried beans, navy, kidney, wrens egg and black eyed peas, I will also use some of these for replanting along with seeds left over to see if gathering these worked and if they will propagate, the rest will go into a pot of bean soup this winter. It was rewarding to put up what little we got out of our garden and deepened my determination to do better next year.

I learned what I need to plant more of and less of. For example, I would rather have beans on the shelf than to try and creatively use more radishes than we could eat. Some of the foods we grow can be canned, frozen, dried or stored in a root cellar but some need to be used fresh from the garden. I also need to work on spacing my plantings over weeks to extend the yield as well as planting fall crops to extend the the growing season.

Overall our first attempt at survival gardening was a huge failure, I am so thankful that we were not depending on it this year in a survival situation. I am also thankful that I dug in and applied my plan and put in the work to learn these lessons and hope that this next year will yield success built on those lessons. I have learned that the life sustaining skill of gardening needs to be practiced and lessons learned while we can still feed our families without depending on the food we can grow. I planned very carefully and believed I had it all worked out, I am so glad I had the opportunity to put my plan into practice before it becomes critical to my families survival and to learn that, I had a lot to learn.

There were also many things we were prompted to think about and to work out in advance. We will be working on how to best turn our little sun porch into a green house so that we do not have to rely on grow lights. Grow lights are a fine alternative now but may not be feasible TEOTWAWKI. We are also going to build some cold frames to cover our new seedlings and to give us an opportunity to plant earlier. These will provide some protection from the chilly spring nights and help hold in the warmth from the day as well as protection from insects until the plants are stronger. This was something else we learned that we really needed, to help prolong our growing season and give our seedlings a better start. In working the garden this year we were also motivated to think about water when TEOTWAWKI hits. So, we worked out a way that we can have water on hand near our garden during the times we need to water. We bought large food grade barrels to place under the down spouts on our garage to collect rainwater with a spigot attached near the bottom. This enables us to attach a hose so we can water when we need to supplement mother nature. Our garage is detached from our home and the garden is right next to it, so this works out well. This won't help during a prolonged drought but most of the time, in our area, it will provide a really good supplement to mother nature under normal weather patterns. So much of what we are doing, such as gardening, in prep for whatever may come, is not rocket science but there can be many details that need our attention, before our lives depend on it, things we won't think of until we are using our preparations. Practicing helps us to find what we have missed. In some cases we will be able to adjust as we go but things like watering a garden could be the difference between security and success and a devastating failure.

I don't want to discourage anyone by sharing this. In spite of my failures, I felt empowered by my effort and the knowledge that I am building and learning skills that could make a difference when faced with TEOTWAWKI. I learned the importance of not only practicing my gardening but also the need to practice with many other aspects of our survival plan and preparations. I urge everyone who has not practiced their gardening to start next spring and not wait until your family is dependent on that part of your preparedness plan. By drawing out and putting my garden plan to paper I have also made it easier to evaluate and rework my plan, now that I put it to practice and learned what worked and what did not. I hope you have a better outcome with your first efforts.

The important thing is to begin the effort now, before your life depends on it! All the plans, preparation and supplies in the world will not help us if we do not learn to use them, learn what works and learn what does not work. The bottom, bottom line is that I am thankful for the opportunity to practice my garden at a time that the hungry eyes of my kids and grand kids were not looking at me for success. Hopefully when that time comes I will have learned all my lessons and will have a very successful survival garden. In the meantime, we need to practice as though our lives depend on it.
"...my eyes beheld the ‘BOOK OF MORMON’—that book of books … which was the principal means, in the hands of God, of directing the entire course of my future life." - Parley Pratt
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby DrJones » Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:31 am

The "big" elite evidently hate dandelions:
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby JohnnyL » Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:10 pm

DrJones wrote:Here's a note about early gardens and TEOTWAWKI... Note the source, survivalblog.com --
http://survivalblog.com/2012/02/surviva ... ndy-m.html

Survival Gardening: A Cautionary Tale, by Cindy M.

The important thing is to begin the effort now, before your life depends on it! All the plans, preparation and supplies in the world will not help us if we do not learn to use them, learn what works and learn what does not work. The bottom, bottom line is that I am thankful for the opportunity to practice my garden at a time that the hungry eyes of my kids and grand kids were not looking at me for success. Hopefully when that time comes I will have learned all my lessons and will have a very successful survival garden. In the meantime, we need to practice as though our lives depend on it.

Yes!
And along with that, eat a little food storage, too, and before your life depends on it! We bought some, thinking it was good--opened the bucket, found they were little packets... that we couldn't eat! We'd literally have to be starving before breaking that crap out. It's a good thing we didn't buy a whole lot without trying, and didn't wait until we were hungry before trying.
On the other hand, knowing that if we don't get other food storage, we will HAVE to eat that... inspires me to get food storage!
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby DrJones » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:28 pm

Good points, JohnnyL:
Yes!
And along with that, eat a little food storage, too, and before your life depends on it! We bought some, thinking it was good--opened the bucket, found they were little packets... that we couldn't eat! We'd literally have to be starving before breaking that crap out. It's a good thing we didn't buy a whole lot without trying, and didn't wait until we were hungry before trying.
On the other hand, knowing that if we don't get other food storage, we will HAVE to eat that... inspires me to get food storage!


My son is eating soaked-wheat quite a lot, and says its fine. The wheat is from a bucket we've had in storage for quite a while. He says soaking for about 32 hours works well, it swells and often starts to sprout. YES-- he is practicing!
And getting used to "uncooked" wheat -- just soaked in water. I admire what he's doing. I've tried soaked oat groats, and they are quite good with a little stevia.

Now --
"opened the bucket, found they were little packets... that we couldn't eat! We'd literally have to be starving before breaking that crap out."


I believe you -- but could you pls tell us what SOURCE or company provided these packets? Something we'd like to avoid! so knowing the source would be helpful.
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby dlbww » Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:20 am

A couple of years ago a client gave me the book, "Alkalize or Die" by Baroody which caused us to rethink our diet again. Greens are very alkaline and very good for the body. We've incorporated them into our morning smoothie; almond milk, ground flax seed, frozen fruit, frozen berries, psyllium husks, food grade diatomaceous earth (for heavy metals), protein powder, spinach, etc. About the soaked wheat: "Acid-forming grains become alkaline forming when sprouted" and remain so if cooked at under 150F (Alkalize or Die). And most berries are very alkaline so I've been increasing the number and variety of berry vines/bushes on the property. Thus far we have strawberries, currants, blue honeysuckle, raspberries, blackberries, hardy kiwis, blueberries, loganberries and tayberries.
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Re: Wild greens; herbs; raw foods; early gardens

Postby bobhenstra » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:50 pm

Soaked triticale was our family favorite for breakfast food. But we tried and ate them all----- We always bought our breakfast grains from the animal feed store, much much cheaper there--

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