Native Plants

Why I Farm Native Plant Foods

I wasn’t much interested in native plants until I came to live on this land. I knew that native plants were good for the wildlife, and that they could be pretty, but I was only interested in edible plants. I could imagine native plants in the landscaping, because I had seen them there, but I never imagined them in food production. I had never seen them in orchards, I had never seen them in vegetable gardens, and I rarely saw them in garden catalogues. Little by little, the native plants won me over. Did you know many of them are edible? Read the full article to learn more!

Poison Ivy : An Unlikely Ally

Poison Ivy might be the most hated plant around. Although it is a difficult plant to love, this plant has some surprising virtues, and plays an important role in native landscapes. The thing is, this plant is not really here for human beings. It’s here for everybody else. Read the full article to learn more about native plant species Toxicodendron radicans, and its beneficial role for wildlife, insects, and soil.

Violets : A Native Plant, A Natural Food Coloring

The Common Blue Violet is a beautiful, edible, native “weed” that can be found in most unsprayed lawns in the Eastern United States. In this article, I show you how to use violet flower petals to make beautiful culinary creations, including Violet Salt, Violet Sugar, Violet-Rimmed Mocktails, and Violet Sugar Cookies. These recipes carry the joy of spring forward into the whole year. It is my hope that by raising awareness of the benefits of this native plant we can encourage more people to ditch the chemicals. Let’s let lawns go wild: for the violets, for the people, and for the pollinators.

The American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) and Family

The American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) is an almost mythical native tree. Legend has it that prior to the 1900s, a squirrel could travel from Georgia to Maine just by hopping from chestnut branch to chestnut branch, without ever touching the ground. Now the American Chestnut Tree is blighted, but thanks to hybrid chestnut trees we can still enjoy chestnut harvests in our home orchards. Read the full article to learn more about the American Chestnut and for chestnut storage techniques and recipes!

The American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) : A Versatile Native Nut

The American Hazelnut (Corylus americana), also known as American Filbert, is a small tree or shrub in the Birch family. Although our native hazelnut is a different species than most hazelnuts available commercially, it is widely reported that the nuts produced by our native tree taste very similar to the more widely available European species. Read the full article to learn more about this amazing native food plant!

Native Plants of the Deep Woods

Many powerful native plants thrive in the deep shade of the forest canopy. These plants are just as important to the forest ecosystem as the large trees that so often receive all the glory. Yet most of the time, when land that was previously cleared is reforested, little to no attention is paid to the understory. The native plants that once carpeted the forest floor do not return once the new trees have grown tall enough to shade them unless someone comes back to replant them. Many of these woodland plants are slow-growing, delicate plants that require very specific habitats, protection, and patience. These plants require and deserve our respect. In this article, we explore fourteen candidates for the understory of your forest garden.

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