I read a book about gathering wild plants by John Kallas, called Edible Wild Plants. I loved it, but I thought, why don't I just bring some of those plants to my garden and "herd" them. They can contribute to diversity of the yard and it's more convenient than driving a long ways to a forest. I planted plantago major, a type of not very invasive mint plant (I don't know the name), and I "herd" leeks, curly mallow, scorzonera, sow thistle, spiny sow thistle, and Good King Henry . They comprise most of the green leafy vegetables that I eat. I also am herding wine cap, shaggy parasol, blewit, and turkey tail mushrooms.
Can you think of other wild or semi-wild plants that can be "herded" into the yard?
I'm also interested in this idea - in a climate more like the East Cascades / inland Basin and Range.
Volunteer or hardy edibles include horseradish, chickweed and lambs' quarters (garden areas).
Native edibles include cattail, saskatoon, wild onion / garlic, black elderberry, numerous other berries and roots. I've heard about something called "yampah".
What does it take to grow camas? Will it or wapato grow above 3000 feet elevation?
(We have a pond and boggy areas, but harsh winter and summer weather instead of the Western rainy climates' protracted springtime.)
What other native edibles, or medicinals, should I be watching for?
How can I increase their numbers, so that harvesting them contributes to their survival instead of decline?
John, there are some very easy plants to establish in the garden (in fact, many that are dependent on disturbance to maintain their populations). I have Oenothera biennis (evening-primrose) growing now, all from wild seed (most of it seed banked in the soil). I also just seeded the area with Arctium lappa (greater burdock), which I love the spring shoots of. Portulacca oleraca (purslane) is one of my all time favorite wild plants that frequently springs up in gardens. Its nutrition is unrivaled. When it comes forth, I ditch the cultivated plants (i.e., weed them) in favor of the Portulacca. Essentially, just tilling the soil and letting wild species come in will provide more nutrition than what you would cultivate. Species such as Taraxacum (dandelion), Chenopodium (goosefoot), and Amaranthus (amaranth) produce wonderful greens and will volunteer in gardens (or can be seeded) quite easily. Good luck with your efforts.