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Judielaine Bush

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since Jul 28, 2018
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forest garden homestead
Four acres near Pittsboro, NC. My goals are more restoration than production, fighting the honeysuckle, autumn olive, tree of heaven, and stiltgrass and establishing native species in their place. But hey, if i can enjoy the fruits of that labor, i'm for it!
Piedmont, NC
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Recent posts by Judielaine Bush

osker brown wrote:Our upcoming crops for the fall are sochan,....



I'm curious about your fall harvest of sochan! I was searching sochan today to get an idea of what to expect in harvesting in the spring, but if there's a fall harvest too, i'd be delighted.
5 months ago
I'm pretty certain about the one plant that has recurred from the older growth at the base. But it certainly seems that it should be a prolific self seeder. I hope to find that out this year, with the plants that have thrived in the sun.

Are your plants thriving in partial shade where you are?
6 months ago
I haven't seen much mention of Talinum paniculatum (Jewels of Opar or Fame Flower). I keep track of the botanical family as well as scientific names because it helps me in understanding  what to expect. Up until 2006 one could have written that Talinum paniculatum was in the same family as (summer) purslane and miners' lettuce (or winter purslane). The taxonomists have apparently decided they aren't that closely related, since they separated the genus Talinum into its own family and  Portulaca into its own. USDA Plants hasn't caught up with these revisions and still lists it in Portulacaceae.

The map of where the plant is native in the US is curious, with populations apparently rare and scattered north of the 31st parallel:  https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=TAPA2 One wonders if birds distributed seeds to the northern counties where the plant has been found and the population had just started when the  botanist collected the plant.

Buoyed by the thought it might be suitable, and happy of the thought of a summer green, it was an early plant in my gardening attempts. I was influenced by my understanding that Jewels of Opar was like miners' lettuce (which i had known from years of hiking in the Santa Cruz mountains) and so i had certain expectations. I had it in a shadier spot and wasnt surprised by its size there. I'm in 7b, and have had a plant come back a couple years. This year, i tried a planting in a much sunnier space and found out, wow!, how much larger and productive can this plant be! I'll be trying to protect these (along with my first year scarlet runner beans) .

I've got a rather tired red clay as soil, and my garden plot is where i suspect top soil was borrowed in grading the house site.  That's where my first plant is managing. The thriving plants are with amaranth and sesame on a small hugelkultur berm. The clay might have a bit more loam in it in this spot, but currently it's quite sunny. Hopefully the chestnut tree will change that.

The leaves are tender and succulent, and a bright yellow-green. They have a nice crunch, no bitterness, a slight earthy edge. They bruise easily. I seem to have snails EVERYWHERE this year, but the T paniculatum seems only slightly bothered. The flowers and seed panicles are lovely, suitable for arrangements fresh and perhaps dried, and definitely making seed collecting easy if you are at the edge of the perennial range.

I can't tell yet if deer or rabbits would graze it: i've grown my plants in protected areas so far. The unprotected plants may have been grazed away by a particularly rapacious bunch of rabbits this year or they're lost in goose grass. Next year i will try an unprotected area but in the sun.

A few permies who are closer to the 31st  parallel than i have written of the plants naturalizing, and some have the seed listed for sale.  My original seeds were from https://www.southernexposure.com/products/jewels-of-opar-fame-flower/, with an established plant it's easy to get seeds for the next year.


6 months ago
I'm in a 7b patch that is surrounded by 90' yellow pines and dotted with  mature tulip poplars. I understand the shade concern. This year, with the warm spell in March, the leaves came out early and i think the early shade made even more prominent the uncommon coolness of May.

Similar in height to Jerusalem Artichoke is sochan (Rudbeckia laciniata), another member of the vast asteraceae family in the same sunflower tribe. This thrives in light shade, so i'd give it a strong recommendation. I haven't eaten any yet: i transplanted a volunteer plant from a spot to my garden and wanted to give it a year to establish.

Using sochan:
* https://foragerchef.com/sochan/
* Nutrition https://theonefeather.com/2014/04/gettin-wild-sochan/
* Included in  "Incredible Wild Edibles 36 plants that can change your life" by Samuel Thayer

On the other end of the height spectrum, violets -- the leaves make great additions to salads -- and sorrel have worked for me. I'm looking into Virgina waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum) both as an aggressive native for understory planting and as an edible.

* https://foragerchef.com/virginia-waterleaf/

Egyptian walking onions have worked wonderfully for me: it's taken some time to get used to using them, but their ruggedness is good.

I'm not crazy about chickweed and bittercress, edible winter annuals that will show up in my yard without invitation. I'm not brave enough for poke: i do grow it in my fenced area for the birds, because the deer eat down it everywhere else. I've been reading about how edible milkweed (particularly butterfly weed) is and i wonder i'f i'll brave that. As a perennial, butterfly weed's bright orange flowers might be welcome in your garden. I spent some time reading about the poisonous characteristics of potatoes just to try and put the risk in context.

I'm giving Scarlet Runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) a try as a perennial. They're another attractive plant. 7b might be too warm, but i'm hoping they might be productive in the long autumn, and, as a perennial, get a jump in the spring.

6 months ago

Dan Boone wrote:...  This year is looking like a HUGE year for our wild passionfruit -- passiflora incarnata.  I mostly just stuff those into my face, ...  



This is the third year for a volunteer plant (under our black walnut). I've put it up on a tee-pee, and it's setting plenty of fruit. I've been wondering what to do with them once they ripen. Do you just spit out the seeds as you go? Or swallow the seeds?

I ran across something that implied the skin has pectin, but the jam recipes all seem to add pectin.

7 months ago

greg mosser wrote:... this batch has ... been a little more local-i-fied with mugwort (also bitter!) and spicebush berries.



I made my first batch with just the black walnuts and then added the sweet and spice with sugar in which i put the few spicebush berries i collected. I don't drink much so it's taking a while to finish, but it was a marvelous way to use black walnuts. I want to try picking some, perhaps next year.

7 months ago
I've bought a role of 4" high Tenax  pet fencing -- it's like the extruded plastic mesh deer fencing but shorter. I've also some step in fence posts. I used this for a variety of purposes, and this past fall i used it to fence off an area of native plants i wanted to get established. Both inside and outside the fence i planted crimson clover. Inside the fence the clover grew lush and tall over the winter. Outside the deer cropped it to the ground. The flimsy barely there fence has kept the deer away since last fall.  I assume that while the deer pressure is high -- cropping any sprouts down to the ground all winter -- there was just enough easy access forage that the hassle of dealing with the fence wasn't worth it.

Now to see if the crimson clover "straw" will suppress the blasted goose grass that took over the area last year.
9 months ago
Violet leaves are a delightful addition to salads and i understand the tougher leaves are decent potherbs. I think they make an excellent ground cover, although i've had rabbits denude twenty five square feet overnight.

I've a lilac too -- not the abundance of lilac you apparently have -- and did not know the flowers were edible! Mixing the lilac with the violets is brilliant. I';ve been trying to source some of the scented violets, Viola odorata. Someone said they were selling bare root plants, but i have begun to worry they did not know the difference from V odorata and V sororia. I'm going to be cranky if i've bought more V sororia.  I think my seed starting skills have gotten better so i think i might have success with the cold stratification to start from seed. I'm thinking about getting a white variety and then i will be able to visually identify the scented flowers - it's such a strong scent i think i could use it with the purple blossoms providing the visual impact.

Anyhow, great blog post!
9 months ago
I'm pretty sure the doogwoods (Cornus florida,) on our lot are suffering Anthracnose dieback, and have been since long before we moved here. I'm assuming we'll loose them all, but i'm not in a rush to cut them all down. One -- maybe 3" diameter trunk? -- had pretty severe die back. Given the way many of the dogwoods seem happy to sprout new growth from mature trunks, we essentially pollarded it. The tree has responded with new growth up and down the trunk. Will it ever flower again? Too soon to say for my tree.

What it sounds like is your dogwood is in the wrong place. If all you were asking about was the dogwood, i don't think i would encourage you.  But it sounds like you're willing to surrender the dogwood and use it as ta trellis. Will hardy kiwi die back to the ground for you each year or will it just keep growing? They appear to have a very long life time. If it doesn't die back every year, i would propose putting in a trellis that would have a lifetime commensurate. If it dies back every year, it seems you could grow the kiwi on the dogwood and, if the dogwood did die, you could easily replace it with a more substantial standard later.


I've been thinking about appropriate supports with respect to native and wild passion fruit and trumpet creeper. The passion fruit dies back each year, so i'm just going to make a tripod of logs, and when they rot, i will replace them. The trumpet creeper, though, has a woody trunk, and if the supports rot from under it, all that plant will collapse and die. So there i want something less transient.
9 months ago
Asteraceae-Asteroideae-Heliantheae: Rudbeckia laciniata (sochan, Green-headed Coneflower, Common Cutleaf Coneflower, Green Coneflower, Goldenglow)

It sprang up in an area that has pretty damp ground and is somewhat shady for me here in Piedmont North Carolina, and due to pets, not a place where i want edibles. I transplanted it last fall to my food plot and nibbled on some greens this spring. Next year i hope to really dine on it.

https://foragerchef.com/sochan/
Nutrition https://theonefeather.com/2014/04/gettin-wild-sochan/
Included in  "Incredible Wild Edibles 36 plants that can change your life" by Samuel Thayer

Native through a good deal of the United States and eastern Canada
http://www.namethatplant.net/plantdetail.shtml?plant=1277
https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=RULAL
9 months ago