"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Where the Wild Things Grow

My wife and I took the puppy for a long walk along the river awhile back and saw that buttercups were coming up everywhere, so very early, and me with no camera. So we went back the other day and took a few pictures and noticed that even the honey bees were out and about. Last year I didn't see any bees until June and this year they are out in early March. It must certainly be a sign of good things to come.:)

We found our first wild edibles of the season as well, a type of wild onion was growing everywhere. I brought some home to plant in the garden, my goal being to let them go to seed. We were talking about how fun it would be if I could cross them with our Red of Florence scallions. I held some of the little scallion bulbs over from last season so perhaps if they bloom at the same time? I wonder if wild onions flower annually or biannually, guess I will find out soon enough.

I also gathered a few cuttings off a willow type tree that grows along the river banks as they would seem to be a most excellent source of basket making materials. I soaked them overnight then stuck them in the garden's soil to hopefully root up and grow, we shall see.

During our wanderings we came across this little plant just emerging, it has a flavor similar to celery or lovage. Can anyone help me to identify it? Perhaps a type of wild parsley?

42 comments:

Heiko said...

Cow parsley perhaps? I'm on my way out, but will have a closer look later.

michelle said...

Mr. H., It looks like Spring has sprung! I love the way that wildflowers just seem to appear out of nowhere when you least expect them. Have you been making baskets very long? That's a skill that I would like to learn, baskets are just so beautiful.

Mr. H. said...

Heiko - I will have to look up cow parsley and see if it matches what I saw...thanks.

Michelle - It sure feels like spring outside today.:) I have never made a basket in my life, but hope to start doing so in the near future.

Stefaneener said...

Bees mean spring. I love Rowdy's paws. So sweet, and such a lucky puppy.

Tovar Cerulli said...

That is early! We're still looking at snow here in Vermont. Can't wait to see what you're seeing!

Diane@Peaceful Acres said...

Thanks Mike for rubbing it in...we still have snow and might I add...your snow! Our precips have really slowed down and I'm wondering what kind of summer it will be, that is if we ever see summer or spring for that matter. Nothing is in bloom here. Not yet anyway! But I am ever so hopeful. I love the pic of the puppy paws!!!

Heiko said...

It's tansy, almost certain! Use leaves to flavour fish according to my wild food book, but use sparingly. Or make a pudding with milk flour and eggs flavoured with tansy. Or tansy pancakes according to another herb book.

Silke said...

Wow, Mr. H., I can't believe how far along your spring is already. Here it's just the opposite. In about a week, the azaleas are usually in full bloom all over town. It may still happen, but we still had frost last night. I love this time of the year. Everyone is outside examining their plants, just waiting for spring to explode! :) Silke

P.S. Love those puppy paws...

WeekendFarmer said...

lovely pic of the river! Does the herb have sage like smell? I remember seeing something similar in Spain...not sure though.

Roasted Garlicious said...

it's a very springish day again today too... BUT... they are warning us of impending possiblities of the S word tuesday or weds.. and since your east of us ;) ... and yes Rowdy lucked out with his 'mom and dad'...

It's me ...Mavis said...

You should make a basket! I have made a few before and they are lot's of fun! Yep, add that to the ever growing "to do" list :)

johnny said...

Dude..you're a forager. Those alliums look inviting.

There are wild onions and garlic here, but they have yet to "spring" forth. They are a bit of work to prepare, but are tasty and good spring tonics. Nothing like the ramps I enjoyed when I lived in VT though.

I purchased some Ramson seed this year. I'm hopeful they will naturalize but it gets so dry here in the summer it may be nothing more than wishful thinking.

We had a gorgeous day here with nice weather forecast for most of the week. The low tunnel has warmed up nicely and the overwintered cilantro is growing. Scallions, radish, and greens will be sowed this week along with fava beans and snow peas. Already I feel behind.

Spring arrives March 20! Welcome Spring!

Mr. H. said...

Stefaneener - Bees do indeed mean spring, but it is way to early for us. It will be so fun to see how this particular spring pans out. Rowdy enjoyed sniffing at the bees...he is fascinated with insects...poor bugs.

Tovar Cerulli - It really is unusual weather for us. Last year we were still being dumped on in March and had many feet of snow going into spring. I like this better.:) Thanks for stopping by.

Diane - I really feel bad for you, it's almost embarrassing to post how nice our weather is...what can I say. I hope your snow melts soon and spring comes with a vengeance to your part of the world.:)

Heiko - Thanks, I will try to go back in a few weeks and see what that plant is doing and think you might be right. When will I be able to buy a copy of that book?:) Thank you for the recipe suggestions, I will try them if it proves to be tansy.

Silke - Like I told Diane, it's almost embarrassing to live in North Idaho and show flower pictures in March. But hey, luck has to befall us once in a while, right.:) Speaking of puppy paws, I wish you could have seen him the other night. He tipped over the waste paper basket under my desk and fell asleep with his head inside, so adorable...the little monster.

WeekendFarmer - I'm not sure if it smells like sage or not, I will check next time. Funny you should mention that as there is wild sage everywhere along the river.

Roasted Garlicious - I will be surprised if we have snow considering we have managed the whole winter without it. But yes, I heard the same forecast. Poor Rowdy went running with us today and is plum tuckered out. He went 5.4 miles and had energy to spare. Right now he is snoring on his cot in the living room...a very spoiled dog he is.:)

Mavis - I really want to, and after reading a fellow blogger's post about basket weaving I am inspired (thanks Lynn). I will try it soon, unfortunately I do lack the artistic talent the rest of you seem to possess. But I will try.:)

Mr. H. said...

Johnny,

We are foragers - various berries, fruit, mushrooms, herbs, anything we can find...our favorite pastime to be sure.:)

I have yet to try ramps, but hope to do so one of these years. I did not know you could buy the seed?

I'm glad to hear that your weather is favorable and hope it helps your onions to germinate and grow. I always forget to try planting cilantro out early as it is indeed very cold hardy, perhaps I should do so soon.

kitsapFG said...

We used to hunt wild onions when we lived in central Washington. Never seen them in our current location - lots of other good things though - blueberries, salal berries, salmon berries, huckleberries, wild raspberries, and of course.. blackberries. There are mushrooms galore too but I am too chicken to venture into that.

We had a glorious weather week too - but the forecast is calling for an abrupt change to cold tomorrow night. I intend to get out and cover a few items tomorrow - just to be on the safe side.

Heiko said...

Mike, until I get around publishing a book there's always the Collins pocket guide "Food for Free" by Richard Mabey. Not a comprehensive guide, but small enough to fit in your back pocket on your ramblings.

vrtlarica said...

Those willows will root up for sure. I did the same thing 2 years ago and all of them are now growing in a form of a bush. Friends keep reminding me that I need to remove most of them, as later I will have problems with too many willows that are difficult to remove permanently.

There are still no bees here. We have had few very warm days and this morning snow started falling again... I guess no outdoor gardening for me in next few weeks.

johnny said...

http://www.gourmetseed.com/product/HB35/Ramsons-or-Bears-Garlic.html

We have huckleberries and blueberries. Some are quite good, others not so. There are places where cranberries grow abundant, including a few abandoned bogs. Its a lot of work to collect enough sound cranberries to make it worthwhile though. This year I plan on putting up blueberries as I've found a good picking area.

I get wild mushrooms every year and they are a big part of my diet in the winter. Mainly Oysters and Maitiake (Hen of the Woods). Last year there was so much rain it was a fantastic mushroom year, the best I've ever had. Here are a couple pics:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/10593595@N00/3468523439/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10593595@N00/4149938517/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10593595@N00/3959798362/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10593595@N00/3958476195/sizes/l/

Mr. H. said...

kitsapFG - I spent years looking for wild onions before stumbling upon them growing all along the river bank. Our weather has been nice but still pretty cold in the evenings, 20°on the dot this morning. I will have to look up salal berries as I have never heard of them before.

Heiko - We have a couple fairly good wild edible books but I will take a look at the one you mentioned as well. "Food For Free" - can't go wrong with a title like that...thanks.

vrtlarcia - That's good to know, the willow (if that's what it is) is so very flexible it should be excellent for basket making I would think.

Last year I was worried because it took so long before any bees showed up. I was beginning to think that they wouldn't come at all.

Johnny - Thank you so much for the link to the seed company, I might order some from them. Also your photos were very interesting. I have never seen maitiake mushrooms growing around here before, but that does certainly does not mean they don't. We mostly harvest morels (yours look spectacular) and the occasional shaggy mane. There are lots of boletes in these parts but they are so darn buggy we don't bother with them.

I really like how you buried your celeriac and kept the celery and carrots in the garden all year. The only reason I don't try that is we normally have so much snow, 100' last year. I do take our coolers (don't they work great) and bury the remaining root veggies like you did once the cellar warms up too much and this usually gets me into June with most of our stored roots and even potatoes. Thanks again for sharing the links.

johnny said...

I really like the selections gourmet seed has, and they generally give you a good seed count, much better than Johnny's. I tried their chicory mix last year and was rewarded with some nice heads that lasted all winter in the frig. Looked to me like Fedco cut back on their seed count with some items, but I haven't ordered from them in a few years. Only thing I don't like is some of their seed is treated.

The cooler trick worked great. I just pulled the last of the celery root out last week. Its as good as when it went in. Unfortunately the celery only kept for a month before it froze. We had some heavy snow that matted down the straw: something I hadn't counted on. I will try it again but with pvc hoops to support the tarp. I'm about to dig all the carrots up: they're starting to root. Usually they keep until June in the frig. I'm hoping the voles didn't get into them too bad. I have a couple of those vole chaser things that seem to be working. There are trails all around the garden but so far I haven't seen a lot of chewing on my roots. They did get into my parsley root but that was right on the edge of the garden.

johnny said...

Oops! Gourmet seed sells some treated seed not Fedco.

LynnS said...

Well geez, I guess my comment disappeared. No matter....

I think your plant may be wild parsley, Lomatium foenaculac. Couldn't tell the basal formation from your photograph but here is a page that might be of help:
http://www.biosurvey.ou.edu/okwild/wpar.html

Mrs. Mac said...

I got out my book, 'Wildflowers of the Inland Northwest' ... but didn't see exactly the plant you questioned. Let me know if you figure it out (Tansy leaves appear different from your picture) ... Amazing that just a few miles away flowers are blooming .. I'm sure they will be doing the same in our area soon. I've been on the lookout for wild garlic or onions since last year .. how neat that you found some. Enjoy your day .. P.S. I have watermelon seeds for you ... and some homemade bar soap for Mrs. H.

Mr. H. said...

Johnny,

We are going to order some of that seed, so thanks again. We had the worst problem with voles until we got chickens that have access to the entire outskirt of the garden. All of the scratching and squawking seems to have scared most all of the voles away.

Mr. H. said...

Lynn,

I looked up wild parsley and if that is what the plant turns out to be I will try to get some seed off it this summer just for fun. Thanks

My comments always seem to disappear as well...thanks for trying again.:)

Mr. H. said...

Mrs. Mac,

We have a book called "Wildflowers Of The West" I will take a look in it. Yes, down along the Spokane river everything is starting to green up and grow, I guess it will be our turn soon. I did notice that my sorrel and chives are coming up though.:)

The next time we go I will get some wild onions for you to plant in the garden if you wish. We will make arrangements to stop by soon.:)

Ayak said...

Lovely pics Mr H...particularly the pup's feet...ahh!

Anonymous said...

Not tansy, perhaps Lomatium judging by taste.
Eva

Mr. H. said...

Ayak,

Yes the he does seem to have his feet in everything...even the flowers.:)

Mr. H. said...

Eva,

Thanks, I think you and Lynn might be right. I will know for sure when it grows a bit.

Mrs. Mac said...

Thanks Mr. H on the wild onion offer, I'll take you up on it. Do you have any horseradish roots you want to 'get rid of';)? If not ... do you want to go in on an order for some? Or do you know where to buy them locally? I've read they can be invasive and should be planted in a 6 inch pipe or a barrel.

Mr. H. said...

Mrs. Mac,

Yes we do, Micki will email you.:)

GetSoiled said...

Two things:

1. Let me get this straight: you FIRST taste the plant and THEN try to identify it? You are out of your mind!!! That's pretty cool.

2. I think you should have zero issues with rooting willow. I once read somewhere that willow makes a great natural root hormone. Your posting reminded me of this so I looked it up. Check out this link to see how to make a natural willow rooting tea:

http://www.ehow.com/how_4905464_willow-tea-natural-rooting-hormone.html


PS: love, love, love those puppy paws!!! Oh, and last thing (to clarify on our last emails): what we call buttercups here is different than those buttercups in your photos...pfew!

Mr. H. said...

GetSoiled,

1. I would never taste a plant before trying to identify it, that's plum crazy...I let Micki do that of course. She is so game for such taste tests that I have to keep a close eye on her at times..."OK, you tried it hon, now spit it out before you get sick and I have to haul you off this mountain draped over my shoulder."

2. Thanks for the link, we borrowed a few apple tree cuttings from an old orchard the other day to try and root them just for the fun of it and were talking about the possibility of using willow as a rooting compound but I had yet to look up how that is done.

3. We only call them buttercups because our parents called them that...I guess because they are the color of butter? Perhaps that is not what they are at all. I will have to look them up later and see for sure. Glad you are still alive though...pfew indeed.:)

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

i want to steal your puppy! :)

GetSoiled said...

Haaaaaaaaaa! Nicely said Mr. H! And very nice technique to stay away of harming yourself while tasting unknown wild edibles.

By the way, I love the title of this post...it had gotten lost in my water brain the first time I read it :)

Mr. H. said...

Dirty girl,

He rolled in deer poop and chewed a hole in one of my wifes coats yesterday. I will pack him up and ship him your way ASAP.:)

Mr. H. said...

GS,

Rowdy says..."Let the wild rumpus begin."

Silke said...

Hi, Mr. and Mrs. H, and Rowdy. Just stopping by to say hello. I hope all is going well and you are still enjoying your mild winter!! :) Silke

Mr. H. said...

Hi Silke,

I know, I know, your saying to yourself "Where on earth has that Mr. H been. He doesn't write, he doesn't stop by anymore...whats up with that.":)

So sorry, we have just been super busy with projects, puppies, grandchildren and gardens. All is very well, and we are enjoying our mild winter to the fullest...so nice.

Thank you for stopping by and Rowdy and Mrs. H said to say hello.:) You should see how big that puppy is getting, Winslow would be most proud of him.

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

I'm still waiting for that puppy.

Mr. H. said...

Dirty Girl,

They would not except him at the post office...to noisy. Will try UPS.:)

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