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Author Topic: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging - Posts welcome  (Read 3407 times)

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Online AtroxaTopic starter

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In golden April weather,
In sun and wind and rain,
Let us fare forth and follow
Beneath the spring's first swallow
By budding break and heather
To the good brown soil again!
~Frederick Frye Rockwell "Invitation"


This is a blog I'll just be doing in my spare time that's something of a catch all for all my plant-related interests; gardening, foraging for wild edibles, cooking with both, herbalism, and various home made herbal products

-banner made by me, but using pictures I found on google, credit goes to original owners-
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 12:41:05 PM by Atroxa »

Online AtroxaTopic starter

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Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2016, 11:30:04 PM »
The home gardener is part scientist, part artist, part philosopher, part ploughman. ~John R. Whiting

Peripherie's Garden Blog also here on E made me want to do something of my own along a similar line so here it is!

Figure I'll tell a little about myself and you might be seeing here first. I'm not the most experienced gardener in the world, I've only been doing a more serious vegetable garden for two years now, and I live in the city in an apartment so I'm limited to things that will grow in containers and how many containers my patio can hold without it just being cramped. But so far I seem to have a natural green thumb, as growing things has always come a bit easily to me and I've had luck so far with getting things to grow and produce. I've also taken up foraging for wild edibles in the last year or so, and while I definitely a novice at that, I've learned a lot! Just a warning, take nothing I say in this area in particular as hard fact. Eating wild plants and mushrooms comes with the risk of grabbing the wrong thing, which could make you sick, or worse. So as a disclaimer; if you find something and you aren't 100% sure what it is, don't eat it!

April is almost here, the risk of frost in my area (central AL) is almost completely gone, so my little "garden" is finally starting to get its little stem-legs under it and build some momentum! The seeds I planted a few weeks ago have sprouted and I've bout some sprouts from a local nursery and am eager to see them all grow big and strong and start producing!

A few pictures for you all;


I don't do flowers much anymore, as I've found I much more enjoy plants that produce something but I do occasionally get flowers, and I'm very fond of tall flowers like these snapdragons, angelonia, and salvia
And the other two would be my little vegetable plants! Spaghetti squash, dixie squash, zucchini, green beans, three varieties of tomatoes, bell peppers, and egg plant. All still babies and none of them in the permanent homes yet.


Growing fruit tends to be much more demanding of space and resources than vegetables, so I don't grow many of them but I do have a blackberry bush (currently a bit scrawny as it wakes up from its winter hibernation) and a strawberry plant I recently bought.


And now for the herbs! Herbs are what I love and work with the most, both for culinary and medicinal purposes, and for simple enjoyment. I've got lemon balm, cilantro, parsley, spinach, lavender, and spearmint. I'll probably be talking about this group more than any other as far as domestic plants go.

That's all for now! I have some stuff on wild edibles to share soon but that's for another day.

-Atroxa
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 10:40:31 AM by Atroxa »

Online Peripherie

Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2016, 07:52:51 AM »
Wow! I love all your plant babies! :) Your porch also looks much less of a mess than mine. Sometimes I am glad it has a cover and sometimes I think it would be better for them if it didn't. I know I will be inspired to keep going with my little projects as I watch yours grow!

Also, love the name and the banner you made!
Peri

Online AtroxaTopic starter

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Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2016, 10:46:58 AM »
Wow! I love all your plant babies! :) Your porch also looks much less of a mess than mine. Sometimes I am glad it has a cover and sometimes I think it would be better for them if it didn't. I know I will be inspired to keep going with my little projects as I watch yours grow!

Also, love the name and the banner you made!
Peri

I totally call them my 'plant babies' or 'green babies' haha and my porch probably looks like less of a mess because it has nothing else on it and I swept the other day. No cover would be awesome more sun and more rain but not really an option living in an apartment. Right now I have to kind of play sun and shadow chess on my porch. I move my plants around if I'm at home to try and keep them in the maximum sunny spots and out of the shadows cast by the rails and the 'roof'.

You need to post some pictures of yours though!


Online Oreo

Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2016, 01:04:13 PM »
Someone else that grows lemon balm.  ;D I love the herb and have it growing wild all over my property. I love how much different it is in tea vs the tang of lemon. Kind of a mild lemon vanilla cream flavor.

I look forward to reading more of your blog, but wasn't sure if it is okay to post here.

I just bough my special garden veggies for this year. I can only take care of so much, so I got a mere six varieties of tomatoes, some yellow scallop summer squash and some yellow zucchini. We already have a large supply of greens that self reproduce, colored chard, collards, chives, and onion greens. The herb garden is a mass of now wild herbs. I don't even know if I can list them all off the top of my head. Tries: Several varieties of thyme, and mint. Rosemary, sage, tarragon, oregano, parsley, feverfew, bergamot, st johns wort. I probably forgot some.

It looks so beautiful this time of year since all the new baby plants are spreading their leaves. ;D All the stuff from the white fence on the right to the big rock on the left are my herbs. Most of what can be seen from this angle is the lemon balm and oregano.



*becomes an avid Atroxa blog follower*

Online AtroxaTopic starter

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Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2016, 02:14:37 PM »
Someone else that grows lemon balm.  ;D I love the herb and have it growing wild all over my property. I love how much different it is in tea vs the tang of lemon. Kind of a mild lemon vanilla cream flavor.

I look forward to reading more of your blog, but wasn't sure if it is okay to post here.

I just bough my special garden veggies for this year. I can only take care of so much, so I got a mere six varieties of tomatoes, some yellow scallop summer squash and some yellow zucchini. We already have a large supply of greens that self reproduce, colored chard, collards, chives, and onion greens. The herb garden is a mass of now wild herbs. I don't even know if I can list them all off the top of my head. Tries: Several varieties of thyme, and mint. Rosemary, sage, tarragon, oregano, parsley, feverfew, bergamot, st johns wort. I probably forgot some.

It looks so beautiful this time of year since all the new baby plants are spreading their leaves. ;D All the stuff from the white fence on the right to the big rock on the left are my herbs. Most of what can be seen from this angle is the lemon balm and oregano.



*becomes an avid Atroxa blog follower*

I was really surprised when I got that lemon balm and started using it because I was expecting maybe like a hint of lemon to the scent and taste but man, it's surprisingly strong! I like plucking a leaf when I'm finished and rubbing it on my hands so they smell lemony fresh. It doesn't grow wild around here though.

I like how you're all 'a mere six varieties' when I'm worried three tomato varieties might be too much for me to handle X D

I really want to get some fever few, I keep dried feverfew in stock but I really love growing them myself. I want that and calendula, and St. John's Wort.

And I love your garden! I am so jealous. That looks like a spot I could just spend all day in.

Online Oreo

Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2016, 02:26:09 PM »
I say mere, because I used to keep a 1/4 acre garden of every vegetable under the sun ...except okra. On an average year I grew enough tomatoes to make tomato juice, sauce, snappy Tom, and ketchup, besides eating them. Since becoming disabled I am down to three growing bags at the back of the house: two for tomato plants and one for the summer squash. The chives and parsley are in planters to keep the deer away and the greens are in a small strip 3'x10' that Mr Oreo keeps tilled.

I love walking through the herbs for the same reason as lemon balm on the hands. Especially the rosemary. The scents don't bother me like air freshener does. I sometimes feel like a cat that wants to roll around in the catnip. I want to brush up and rub my hands all over the herbs.

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Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2016, 12:40:33 PM »
I say mere, because I used to keep a 1/4 acre garden of every vegetable under the sun ...except okra. On an average year I grew enough tomatoes to make tomato juice, sauce, snappy Tom, and ketchup, besides eating them. Since becoming disabled I am down to three growing bags at the back of the house: two for tomato plants and one for the summer squash. The chives and parsley are in planters to keep the deer away and the greens are in a small strip 3'x10' that Mr Oreo keeps tilled.

I love walking through the herbs for the same reason as lemon balm on the hands. Especially the rosemary. The scents don't bother me like air freshener does. I sometimes feel like a cat that wants to roll around in the catnip. I want to brush up and rub my hands all over the herbs.

Oh that sucks, but that's cool that you got to do that. My fiance and I want to homestead one day and I know that that will require a small farm/very large garden to achieve. For now though, I've just got my seven by seven foot patio. Bigger than my old one though!

First thing I do on mornings that I don't have to hurry to class or clinic is go out in my garden and days when I do have to leave, that's where I go first thing when I get home.

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Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging - Posts welcome
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2016, 10:20:51 PM »
Plants cry their gratitude for the sun in green joy. ~Terri Guillemets

So on top of gardening I also go foraging for wild edibles, I find hunting for mushrooms especially exciting. It provides a really weird thrill and satisfaction to find a mushroom that you know you can eat. This early in the spring it's morel season in a lot of the country. My own area has a very brief spring, about 75% of the year is summer weather. Morels grow when the snow melts and wither when it gets up in the 80's. They're a meaty mushroom that can fetch very high prices on the market and in restaurants because they're difficult to cultivate in a controlled environment, most have to be found in the wild. I've only been mushroom hunting for about a year and a half but I've definitely gotten into morel hunting!

In the course of mushroom hunting I often keep an eye out for edible wild plants too. Most of them are actually considered to be weeds, because they're hardy plants that can and do grow just about everywhere. One of the most versatile edible plants is actually the dandelion. While I was out hunting and hiking this past Monday I found some chickweed and wild violets, both of which are good raw as a salad but you can also cook them. Chickweed is especially abundant in my area, it grows in huge beds. Wild violet is also very common, but grows in small clumps.

I took the morel mushrooms, violets, and chickweed I found and cooked them with chicken breast for dinner that night and it was delicious!


I only found a few morels but this one was particularly gorgeous, it's a yellow (morels come in blacks, grays, and yellows) which are the most common in my area. And there's also some wild violet, and a bed of chickweed. Wild violets are very easy to identify thanks to those pretty purple four petal flowers which add a wonderful bit of color to salads. Chickweed is a little harder to identify because it looks so average, and there are plants that look similar that aren't good to eat so be careful! Here's a good video on identifying it.


And a complementary picture of my dog, Willow, flopping down in that wild violet after I took a picture, she's my usual hiking partner.


Here's the morels, violets, and chickweed ready to be cooked up for dinner and the finished product! Chicken with a weird curry and morel concoction for the sauce, and chickweed and violet pakora cakes with some sriracha sauce for dipping!



This is basically the recipe I used for the chickweed pakora, it was delicious! Used almond flour instead of chickpea flour since I didn't have any on hand but it was still really good. It ended up with an almost fried okra kind of taste, if any of you have ever had that (I thought that this was a common thing everywhere but apparently it's a southern thang).

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Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging - Posts welcome
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2016, 10:34:49 AM »
I'm going to be planing a small garden this year, along with some herbs.  *happy bounce* 

I have a half whiskey barrel I was thinking of planting my herbs in.  Thyme, rosemary, parsley, chives, basil....and so on.  Can I plant them all in the barrel, or do I need to keep them separate? 

Also....in the garden, is it better to plant plants that are already started (like you can buy from the garden centers), or is starting them from seeds better? 


Online AtroxaTopic starter

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Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging - Posts welcome
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2016, 02:44:54 PM »
I'm going to be planing a small garden this year, along with some herbs.  *happy bounce* 

I have a half whiskey barrel I was thinking of planting my herbs in.  Thyme, rosemary, parsley, chives, basil....and so on.  Can I plant them all in the barrel, or do I need to keep them separate? 

Also....in the garden, is it better to plant plants that are already started (like you can buy from the garden centers), or is starting them from seeds better?

Herbs are pretty hardy little plants. They don't tend to need a lot of soil, water, or even fertilizer. Which makes them easy to grow. They're very good at taking a little and making a lot. That mixture of herbs should be fine together, but keep an eye on them. Not all plants get along. Each plant species uses certain nutrients from the soil while often putting other nutrients back in, or dislike other nutrients. It's why farmers tend to rotate their crops. You'd have to look up which nutrients those plants use, fix, and dislike, but if you start seeing the leaves looking wilted or having brown spots on them, there's probably some conflict going on.

As for starting from seed or buying sprouts, that's up to you. I start from seed, but some people are too impatient. It also depends on your area. You'd have to look at your plant zone to see when the best time to plant seeds is. I say this because in my area, it's a little late to start your seeds, so if you live anywhere in my zone you'd do best going ahead and buying some sprouts. If you live in a more northern zone, where spring comes late, you should still be good. Look at the plants you're wanting to grow as well, some seeds need the nightly freeze to germinate, others will die if they get too cold.

Starting from seed definitely requires more planning, patience, and room, but the initial cost is often cheaper since you tend to get a lot of seeds for a few bucks and those seeds are often good for several planting seasons as long as they're kept dry.

I'd suggest going to a nearby nursery and looking to see what they have available both as sprouts and as seeds. Home Depot and Lowe's tend to have a pretty good seed selection, but I wouldn't buy sprouts from them. They don't usually have a lot of vegetable sprouts anyway.

Offline FourStellar

Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging - Posts welcome
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2016, 08:37:23 AM »
Hi. I am new and not approved, so I'm nosing around where I'm allowed.

Your food looks amazing! I'm anxiously awaiting morel season here where I live. Question: Do you grow lovage and if so, how do you use it in your cooking?

Online AtroxaTopic starter

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Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging - Posts welcome
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2016, 04:11:59 PM »
Hi. I am new and not approved, so I'm nosing around where I'm allowed.

Your food looks amazing! I'm anxiously awaiting morel season here where I live. Question: Do you grow lovage and if so, how do you use it in your cooking?

I don't grow lovage, I wasn't even sure what that was honestly! lol I looked it up though and it seems like a pretty versatile plant:

Quote
The leaves can be used in salads, or to make soup or season broths, and the roots can be eaten as a vegetable or grated for use in salads. Its flavor and smell is somewhat similar to celery. The seeds can be used as a spice, similar to fennel seeds.[3] In the UK, an alcoholic lovage cordial is traditionally mixed with brandy in the ratio of 2:1 as a winter drink. In Romania, the leaves are the preferred seasoning for the various local broths, much more so than parsley or dill. In the Netherlands it is the only non salt ingredient of the traditional Asparagus dish.

In Romania it's also used dried and with seeds to conserve and to add flavour to pickled cabbage and cucumbers.

Online Peripherie

Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging - Posts welcome
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2016, 05:17:01 PM »
Ooo... my SO would be so jealous of that whiskey barrel! Our peppers and potatoes are starting to grow. I am so overdo on pictures.  ::)


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Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging - Posts welcome
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2016, 05:51:10 PM »
To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves. ~Mahatma Gandhi

I had a friend ask me the other day how I managed to get things to grow, and really I couldn't tell you. I put things in dirt, water them, make sure they get sunlight, and they grow. Gardening does take work but I think people tend to over complicate it. Unless you're growing something completely out of its element then generally, that's all plants need, soil sun and water. There's exceptions of course, but doing a bit of research, even if its just watching youtube videos (which I do often) or browsing forums can usually tell you everything you need to know.

More often than not though, if you have trouble growing things I can bet its that you either provide too much or too little sun and/or water. Surprisingly, too much sun or water is more common than not. It's actually easy to over water a plant, and they can in fact get sunburned. More than eight hours of sun is pushing it, and if a plant isn't producing whatever its supposed to produce (vegetable, fruit, etc) then it doesn't need too much water. Read about the needs of the particular species if you're unsure.

That bit of advice given, I'm going to show you guys how I dry my herbs. I live in an apartment, I don't have the room to be hanging up bushels of drying herbs everywhere. Especially since you're usually supposed to put them kind of off on their own. There are quick methods that just employ the oven but drying herbs too fast damages them and lessens the potency of the constituents that give them their taste and smell and possible medicinal uses. So what I do is clip them, wash them off real quick, and then hang them to dry out for about two or three days. This lets them dry naturally enough that it only takes about fifteen minutes in the oven on the lowest setting to finish them off. You want the leaves to crumble when you rub them between your fingers, then they're done. Store them in a sealed container and they're good for the next year!

My mint and lemon balm plants before


And after, I try to leave about a quarter of what was already there and leave young shoots


I wash them and then lay them out to dry a bit before gathering them up and then hanging them


And then after a few days, I finish them off in the oven, I didn't take pictures of the mint since it's pretty much the same either way. Remove the leaves from the stems and lay them out on a cookie sheet, put the oven on the lowest heat setting and then leave them in there for about ten minutes, then another five if they're not quite ready. I put them on a folded piece of paper to pour them into the container more easily.


These are my containers! I decorated and painted them myself. And that's some of my spring altar for the background there.

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Re: Gardens Wild and Tame - Gardening and Foraging - Posts welcome
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2016, 03:49:04 PM »
An update on my garden! Things are coming along quite well, I've got all the plants I want/need and everyone is growing big and strong. Just about all of my plants are ready to be moved into their permanent homes, just got to actually do it. Only have about five that still need to be transferred thankfully, but that will require at least three more bags of soil x.x so far potting soil is definitely the thing that costs the most.

Here are the two barrels that people seemed to like so much, there's still a third on that needs filling and planting but thee two look so good! I need to get a cage for the second to support the tomato and bell pepper plants (when they start fruiting they have a hard time keeping themselves upright). First barrel has a black krim tomato plant, bell pepper plant, green onion, raddish, and garlic; then the second has beefsteak tomatoes, bell peppers, thai basil, parsley, and cilantro!


The green bean plants are BOOMING. I took this picture last week and they're already even bigger than this. And the strawberry plants in there with them are producing well. I've already got a bunch of little green strawberries growing


My zucchini have put out their first blossom


My spaghetti squash are growing nicely, and already starting to climb up their trellis. These plants can get pretty huge, and they vine and climb. So I move them off my porch and put them in a big pot just beside it with these trellis for them to grow up. They've already survived their first summer storm without the protection of the patio.


My blackberry bush is blossoming as well and I already have a couple little green blackberries growing, can't wait to eat them. I love blackberries!


And the garden over all right now, a bit messy but I'm so proud of how well it's doing, considering this is only my second year gardening and how limited my time and resources are
« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 03:50:18 PM by Atroxa »