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Map/Notes for Collecting Free Seeds and Wild Edibles from Native/Wild Plants

 
gardener
Posts: 1946
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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I've recently been enjoying collecting seeds and edibles of native/wild plants from my own property as well as some of my friends', to plant the seeds in my food forest and eat the edibles (of course).

It also makes for some really interesting conversations, and the first time I've asked my friends, they kind of look at me funny, when I ask to collect some seeds from their yard. But then they're usually interested in what type of plant it is, and what it can be used for. It also opens the door to start talking more about permaculture with them too!

If I want to harvest seeds or edibles again in the future, it's easy to lose track of where the plant was, and what time of year it's producing seeds or available to harvest, even on my own property.

I'm planning on making a quick and general map of my property with notes on where the plants are located and what time of year the seeds or edibles are ready to harvest. I'm also planning on doing this for plants growing at friends' houses or other places near me that are available to harvest.

Do you make a map or notes on when and where to collect free plant seeds or edibles from native/wild plants?
 
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Not exactly like you are proposing. I've got a mental map of 25 miles of roadsides around where i live where interesting plants/trees are. I drive to people's houses for work and identify constantly while driving. I'll stop and harvest herbs when they're abundant. Throw out some seeds of endangered species that do well in my direct surroundings in places where i feel they might thrive. But mostly herbs. Or if they're really good for insects i'll try to spread them around. Just chuck em out of the window into the berm. They'll find their way.
Stepping up now to growing looking for trees, because the farmer i work with wants more trees to grow on his property. Things like ash, because his cows like those leaves in a drought. As well i think growing trees are going to play a major role in the future to save biodiversity and battle desertification, taking carbon in and create local bumper crops for free while we're at it. For us, cattle and wildlife.
Have you read Trees of Power by Akiva Silver from Twisted Tree Farms? He has a great tree farm and you tube channel. He talks about collecting free seeds in his book.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRaTsz4gmlE6OVEuOKOE4Ow
 
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Posts: 1978
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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Yes I do! Not a map, but I keep a running journal (MS Word doc) with the first half where I jot notes for each day (weather, when I planted or harvested what, when something got hit by frost, etc), and the second half is paragraphs alphabetically for each type of plant, or "compost" or "pests" or "mulch" whatever. My main wild collection plant here is capers, and I have notes going back years for which month I collected seeds (September is best here, but I've collected as late as December, and this year some were ready in late July). I also have notes about how I planted them (with capers I've had good luck germinating them with low-tech stratification, but then very poor luck transplanting them out the following year, so I've started just collecting many more seeds than I used to, and scratching them out into the desert hoping one in a thousand might grow).

I also keep notes of where I collect capers each year, and when, and anything special like "the plant down at the bottom of that little valley is covered with little weevilly things [with detailed description] and losing all its greenery" so that I can learn if that's a temporary problem or what. I use description of the places rather than a map.

I noticed a pretty desert plant with white flowers south of my house this year, so I collected the seed heads with the thought of scattering them in the desert land north of my house where there has been some earth moving and ugly scars.

I've transplanted or scattered seeds of other wild plants many times over the years. A hugely productive wild edible is Lepidium latifolium (known as a noxious foreign invasive in the US but native to here) and it is dead easy to propagate by its runner rhizomes. When we started developing the desert into our school, and the canals were absolutely bare sand, I gathered local grass seed and scattered it there, and I think it was effective. Local people here were like, "What are you doing?!" but it worked. After a permaculture workshop in 1995 or 96, one of the local guys got into it and gathered lots of seabuckthorn seeds, so now the campus is surrounded by a big loop of that along the outer canals.
 
Steve Thorn
gardener
Posts: 1946
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
737
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Hugo Morvan wrote:Not exactly like you are proposing. I've got a mental map of 25 miles of roadsides around where i live where interesting plants/trees are.



I wish I had a memory like that Hugo!

I drive to people's houses for work and identify constantly while driving. I'll stop and harvest herbs when they're abundant. Throw out some seeds of endangered species that do well in my direct surroundings in places where i feel they might thrive. But mostly herbs. Or if they're really good for insects i'll try to spread them around. Just chuck em out of the window into the berm. They'll find their way.



That's really neat, a great way to spread awesome plants!

Stepping up now to growing looking for trees, because the farmer i work with wants more trees to grow on his property. Things like ash, because his cows like those leaves in a drought. As well i think growing trees are going to play a major role in the future to save biodiversity and battle desertification, taking carbon in and create local bumper crops for free while we're at it. For us, cattle and wildlife.
Have you read Trees of Power by Akiva Silver from Twisted Tree Farms? He has a great tree farm and you tube channel. He talks about collecting free seeds in his book.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRaTsz4gmlE6OVEuOKOE4Ow



Yeah I've enjoyed reading some of Akiva's stuff on his website and have been hoping my library will get his book soon so I can check it out!
 
Steve Thorn
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Posts: 1946
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
737
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
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Rebecca Norman wrote:Yes I do! Not a map, but I keep a running journal (MS Word doc) with the first half where I jot notes for each day (weather, when I planted or harvested what, when something got hit by frost, etc), and the second half is paragraphs alphabetically for each type of plant, or "compost" or "pests" or "mulch" whatever. My main wild collection plant here is capers, and I have notes going back years for which month I collected seeds (September is best here, but I've collected as late as December, and this year some were ready in late July). I also have notes about how I planted them (with capers I've had good luck germinating them with low-tech stratification, but then very poor luck transplanting them out the following year, so I've started just collecting many more seeds than I used to, and scratching them out into the desert hoping one in a thousand might grow).

I also keep notes of where I collect capers each year, and when, and anything special like "the plant down at the bottom of that little valley is covered with little weevilly things [with detailed description] and losing all its greenery" so that I can learn if that's a temporary problem or what. I use description of the places rather than a map.



That sounds like a great organized system Rebecca! I'd like to start making more detailed notes like this for my plants, it sounds really helpful.

I noticed a pretty desert plant with white flowers south of my house this year, so I collected the seed heads with the thought of scattering them in the desert land north of my house where there has been some earth moving and ugly scars.

I've transplanted or scattered seeds of other wild plants many times over the years. A hugely productive wild edible is Lepidium latifolium (known as a noxious foreign invasive in the US but native to here) and it is dead easy to propagate by its runner rhizomes. When we started developing the desert into our school, and the canals were absolutely bare sand, I gathered local grass seed and scattered it there, and I think it was effective. Local people here were like, "What are you doing?!" but it worked. After a permaculture workshop in 1995 or 96, one of the local guys got into it and gathered lots of seabuckthorn seeds, so now the campus is surrounded by a big loop of that along the outer canals.



That's really neat!
 
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inaturalist is a great resource, you can map where you find certain species and see where others find those species. iv used it to collect seeds before
 
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Don't know why I've never thought of writing notes on where, when and why of local edibles of interest to me. Think I will now. Hubby and I have relocated some plants and bushes and trees to our land. Because he's in the building biz he has often brought home a bundle of rescued green babies. I've also gifted and been gifted starts of various kinds over the years. Once an elderly friend's husband pulled into the driveway collared for me and then dropped a crate stuffed full off the back of his pickup laughing saying he didn't know why his wife wanted him to bring me all these weeds.

 
pollinator
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Just a thought but mentally mapping plants is a very natural habit for me as a botanist. If every time you see a plant you repeat to yourself it's scientific and common name. Then when you think of a plant you think about various places you've seen it, then a mental map of its biogeography is being built and you may have some very specific ideas about where to go collect it's seed next time you need some.
 
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I use a Google Maps overlay.  There's probably a "file" on us.
 
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My husband uses Google maps to map foraging spots too, and he has it color coded and by season, too.  He wrote a blog post about his system on our family foraging and green living blog here.



He has a pretty easy system that works really well and has added a lot more wild edibles since then that might be hard to keep track of otherwise, so we know where there's a great site for wild asparagus in May or where to find wild grapes in late summer, etc.

I personally try to stay away from Google these days, but I'm a cranky old thing.  ;)

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