: More information from Steve, please
- Thank you for your imput Steve, and welcome to the group.
I would like to hear more from you, and your natural gardening stories.
I mostly sit in an Ivory tower, learning from books and the web,
slowly gathering information, hoping someday to find the funds
to go homestead on my own,
my experiences though tell me about a couple of things not everyone knows
recently due to an early snow a couple years back, some parsnips and carrots
got left in the ground,
I had always heard about people doing this, but doughted the application in
I live in frigid North Dakota (technically zone 4, but practically zone 3
USDA).. gets down to about minus 30 degrees, frost down about 18 inches
parsnips overwinter wonderfully, and gain sweetness, they will start to lose
firmness if you don't dig them and they sprout too much though, but up to
about 4 inches sprout is ok
carrots get eating by slugs and other bugs, loses over winter are 10-25%,
the carrots also don't store well once dug in the spring, they rapidly lose
firmness and often turn to mush.. at least in my area.. presumably if you
can dig through frozen ground before they break dormancy these problems
would vanish, but last time I tried this I broke the pick axe I was using.
Burdock and Jerusalum artichokes get woody and lose flavor if overwintered
Burdock will become pest.. but if you like eating the roots (gobo) then
you're good to go anyways
I'd like to know how cold it gets in your area Steve, that you had this
I"m having sucess with overwinting herbs (micro zone right next to house ..
) zone 5 oregano,thyme, terragon so far
walking onions, and salad burnet too,.. but I'm still working on finding a
overwinter/perrenial main course....
ps anyone who hasn't, should look into the work THe Land Institute is doing
on perrenial crops (gains and psuedocereals).
>From: Steven McCollough <steb@...>_________________________________________________________________
>Subject: [fukuoka_farming] My crops this spring
>Date: Tue, 09 May 2006 14:39:31 -0400
>This spring I have been blessed with some limited success in my natural
>farming experiments. The subject is biannuals. In the past I always
>dealt with plants as either perennials or as annuals and never really
>thought about biannuals. I don't know the official definition of a
>biannual but for this discussion I mean those plants that will die back
>in the fall and come back in the spring. So in this category I include
>spinach, kale, carrot, etc. Organic gardeners are probably laughing now
>because this has been known for a long time. Well, knowing something
>and actually experiencing it are two different things.
>These crops give a great advantage to the natural farmer! As usual the
>discovery was accidental. I planted a spinach crop last fall and it
>didn't really have time to mature. This spring it came back strong.
>This is just the sort of thing we need to bridge the growing gap between
>growing seasons. For those of you in warmer climates, you might be
>surprised to hear we can only grow crops about four months of the year
>with any vigor and eight months a year for even the hardiest plants.
>Now I love spinach. I would say spinach is my favorite and to have
>spinach for the daily salad makes me feel like a million bucks. I can
>just feel the vitamins coursing through my system. The trouble with
>spinach is it really wants to go to seed in the heat of the summer. OK,
>I say let it. The cabbage family, kale, and carrots too. Allowing this
>more natural growth pattern means a plentiful supply of seeds produced
>every year. That's another thing I see as the mainstay of natural
>farming is to figure out how to get things to reproduce and seed
>themselves. Unfortunately, the carrots will probably pollinate with the
>native queen annes lace and I don't know what other problems will arise.
>I had a similar experience a few years back with broccoli. I planted it
>in the spring with a number of other crops and it got swallowed up by
>the more vigorous summer vegetables. When these died back in the fall,
>the broccoli came back strong and produced a wonderful crop at a time
>when I never had broccoli before. I also had similar experiences with
>an accidental crop of fall peas. Having not gotten to picking all of
>the pea crop one summer, that fall I had a fresh pea crop in the fall
>from the left over seed that spilled to the ground.
>I am starting a new program this year to expand the variety of plants
>that reseed themselves. I will take a small area set aside for the
>purpose and encourage all my favorite plants to reseed themselves. I
>will weed and transplant in new varieties. The eventual goal being to
>have an area that reseeds itself and grows like weeds.
>I also have a new experiment making a burdock fence. Burdock as anyone
>knows who has it as a pernicious weed, makes a tall sturdy plant in its
>second year covered with the prickliest, stickiest hitchhiker you can
>imagine. The deer in my area, the biggest four legged pest in the
>garden, seem to avoid burdock when ever possible. So I figure to grow
>it in perimeter rows and weave the stems together. When the sticky seed
>heads come out I may have created a monster that will be out of control,
>but then again it already is so what's the worry. Burdock seed, by the
>way is a medicinal product as is the root.
>I am also looking at other native and imported possible food products
>that are already successful in my area.
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> I also have a new experiment making a burdock fence. Burdock as anyoneMy goats would eat your fence down in a heartbeat... they LOVE burdock,
> knows who has it as a pernicious weed, makes a tall sturdy plant in its
> second year covered with the prickliest, stickiest hitchhiker you can
> imagine. The deer in my area, the biggest four legged pest in the
> garden, seem to avoid burdock when ever possible. So I figure to grow
> it in perimeter rows and weave the stems together. When the sticky
> heads come out I may have created a monster that will be out of
> but then again it already is so what's the worry. Burdock seed, by the
> way is a medicinal product as is the root.
as do the sheep!!! Perhaps the deer will, too :-).
>I'm taking account of what we have growing here, too (also in the UP).
> I am also looking at other native and imported possible food products
> that are already successful in my area.
We have elderberry, gooseberries, currants, honeysuckle, service
berries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, thimble
berries, crab apples, apples and filberts. Of course, lots of the
berries are small and hard to beat the animals to, but some, like the
service berries, are quite prolific... I'd like to work on ways of
getting better crops from some of the existing plants. As for wild
veggies, we have trout lilies, dandelion, burdock (as you mentioned),
white campion, mustard, ox-eye daisy greens, lamb's quarters, sorrel,
lady's thumb, dock, queen anne's lace, chickweed and more. I've
discovered that sap isn't just for syrup, and drinking sap straight is
the best spring tonic I've ever had. The fermented sap was good, too.
Besides the maple trees, we also have yellow birch that provide sap.
Then there's mushrooms.. I've heard the morels are to be found around
here, but haven't spotted any myself yet. And medicinal herbs.. St.
John's Wort and Horsetail. I'm pretty sure I spotted Golden Seal in the
National Forest. It's a great place to be!!
Thanks for sharing, Steven.