November 29, 2014

Saturday Gardening Thread: Gardening Has Been Berry Berry Good To Me [Y-not, WeirdDave, and KT]
— Open Blogger

Greetings Gardening Morons and Moronettes!

Today's topic is "berries," especially huckleberries:

Take it away, KT!

AM I YOUR HUCKLEBERRY?

huckleberries3.jpg

Or maybe your blueberry? Sometimes it is hard to tell, even though the Montana State Legislature has issued a legal definition of "huckleberry". One huckleberry of the genus Vaccinium is the State Fruit of Idaho, and some species are said to do best on volcanic soils, which are common in Idaho. Eastern huckleberries also include plants from the related genus Gaylussicia, which includes the "dangleberry".

Many berries in the genus Vaccinium are noted for their nutritional properties. These include blueberries, huckleberries, bilberries and cranberries. Many of them are useful in the garden as "ornamental edibles". Some even take part to full shade. The ones used in gardens require organically enriched, acid soils. Below, I have included a little information on blueberries, huckleberries and some stand-ins which don't necessarily need really acid soil.

BLUEBERRIES - I have a friend who always makes blueberry pie for Thanksgiving (More American than Apple Pie). Thick, warm blueberry sauce is more my usual level of effort - so good over ice cream, pancakes or waffles. Eating blueberries raw is even easier. If you want to grow your own blueberries, choose types suited to your climate. As a general rule, plan on including more than one cultivar for cross-pollination:
Northern Highbush - the classic type sold in markets (such as 'Berkeley' or Chandler)

Southern Highbush - with a wider climate range ('Reveille' and 'Southmoon' for sprightly flavor or 'Sweetcrisp' if you want your berries sweet and crisp. 'Cape Fear' is an older one, North Carolina, 1987).

Hardy Half-High - some are hardy even in parts of Alaska. (Northsky, Chippewa, Polaris)

Rabbiteye - native to the Southeast (Climax, Tifblue)

There are also some types bred to be especially ornamental.

Blueberry-Cluster-1.jpg

Morons in mild-winter climates can plant blueberries in the fall. I can barely believe that commercial production is underway in our hot-summer Central Valley. Growing blueberries is a huckleberry over my persimmon right now. But if you would like to take a shot, Burpee has instructions for growing them in raised beds, and Dave Wilson (a wholesaler in California) has instructions for growing them in containers.

Juneberry (Serviceberry, Saskatoon) is sometimes used as a blueberry substitute. It grows into an attractive small tree. You could make pie. Some of the Juneberry's relatives are even more ornamental, but not as useful for food.

HUCKLEBERRIES and BILBERRIES - Some huckleberries don't adapt well to gardens, but a few do. Evergreen Huckleberry is an attractive plant native from Santa Barbara to British Colombia. Branches are used in floral arrangements. The fruit has a wild, tart flavor. You could make pie. It takes sun or shade and tolerates salt spray. It can be grown in containers or as a hedge. It needs moderate to regular water. Choose a selection grown in a climate similar to yours for good climate adaptation, as some selections may require a higher winter chill than others.

KTimage.jpg

Red Huckleberry (V. parvifolium) grows in shade or part shade and is native to coastal mountains from Northern California to Alaska. Fruit is sour and is generally used cooked. It makes a nice winter silhouette. There is also a red-fruited huckleberry native to Arizona and New Mexico. Don't know if it adapts to gardens, but the fruits are eaten, cooked. Drought tolerant. Probably lives in the mountains near Tombstone.

Antioxidant-rich bilberries are popular in Europe, and their extracts are common in nutritional supplements. Don't get your hopes up about growing some yourself. They typically grow in very acidic, nutrient-poor soils common in northerly regions. They are blue or purple all the way through, like huckleberries, and will turn your hands, teeth and tongue very blue.

But not this kind of blue.

blueberry1.jpg

My SIL has grown "Garden Huckleberries" for pie, but they never appealed to me much. They are toxic when green and not real tasty when ripe, in my opinion. They need sweetening and could be jazzed up with some spices. They are related to tomatoes. Probably have lots of antioxidants. There are some similar fruits that may or may not taste better. All of them are easy to grow, like the poisonous black nightshade which they resemble. Plant them in containers or rows so you don't confuse them if you live where the poisonous kind volunteers in gardens.

My Huckleberry Friend


Y-not: Thanks KT!

Inspired by KT's "all things huckleberries," I decided to do a little digging into foraging for berries. When I was a kid I spent many an afternoon roaming the open spaces and woods near our house with my sister. We'd usually stumble into some berry bushes and almost always were quick to eat what we'd found. (My other favorite thing was to slurp on honeysuckle blossoms.) We never gathered enough berries to make bringing them home much of an option, but some folks do.

This article from Grist is chock-a-block full of great information and useful links about foraging for berries, both "aggregate berries" (like raspberries, blackberries, and wineberries) and "crown berries" (like blueberries, huckleberries, and juneberries).

Follow the link to learn about how to forage for these edible berries, but beware:

It is important to note that there are several varieties of poisonous berries: Pokeweed, privet, honeysuckle vine berries, nightshade, and Japanese honeysuckle are all blue or purple in color; red-colored poisonous berries include bush honeysuckle and yew. Neither are aggregate fruits, nor do their berries have crowns. Always be sure to identify your plants, and do not just pop any old berry into your mouth as an experiment.

If you decide to get into foraging, this poisonous plants list from TAMU might come in handy.

Turns out you can incorporate foraging for berries into your vacation plans:

Discover the fascinating world of Irish bogs, and learn all about these unique wetland habitats. Find out how plants survive in the challenging conditions of the bog; forage for wild berries; identify & learn about Ireland's wildflowers; watch dragonflies, butterflies and other insects as they emerge for the Summer months.

This foraging adventure in Ireland looks pretty awesome. A lot of the foraging tourism opportunities I found were in Europe.

Closer to home, you could take a class from this guy (in the northeastern United States);

Or this guy (in Florida);

Or this guy (in California).

Or maybe you could just follow this guy:

And now, here's our co-host, WeirdDave:

Berries, huh? I should farm this post out to Gingy, she knows berries like nobody's business. We've probably got a dozen different kinds canned in the basement right now. Blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, either in berry form or as jam.

Yes, jam. Come over to our house and if Gingy likes or appreciates you, she'll send you home with a little jar of homemade jam. Canning jam is what she does during the summer when she's back home in Alberta. Mostly she cans Saskatoon berries because we can't get them here on the east coast.

Saskatoon.jpg

Saskatoon Berries

When she's not canning berries, she's canning jam, using this recipe:

4-1/2 cups crushed Saskatoon berries (about 9 cups of berries)

4 tbsp lemon juice

1 pkg crystallized Fruit Pectin

6 cups granulated sugar


Place 7 clean 8 oz mason jars upside down in a pan of simmering hot water to steam sterilize. Snap lids and bands may be put in this same water or in a separate pan. STERILIZE EVERYTHING BEFORE USE. This includes the ladle, funnels, and spoon you stir the jam with.

Wash and crush Saskatoon berries.

In a large deep stainless steel pot, stir together berries, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp (2 ml) butter or margarine to reduce foaming, and pectin.

Measure sugar, set aside.

Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil. Add all of the sugar. Stirring constantly, return mixture to full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off foam, if necessary.

Ladle hot jam into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) of top of jar (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more jam. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Center hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.

And there you have it. Saskatoon jam. But wait! Shouldn't you boil the jam? It's not necessary, just ask the good folks at The Sugar Association

Sugar prevents spoilage of jams, jellies, and preserves after the jar is opened. Properly prepared and packaged preserves and jellies are free from bacteria and yeast cells until the lid is opened and exposed to air. Once the jar is opened, sugar incapacitates any microorganisms by its ability to attract water. This is accomplished through osmosis (the process whereby water will flow from a weaker solution to a more concentrated solution when they are separated by a semi-permeable membrane). In the case of jellies and preserves, the water is withdrawn from these microorganisms toward the concentrated sugar syrup. The microorganisms become dehydrated and incapacitated, and are unable to multiply and bring about food spoilage. In jellies, jams and preserves, a concentrated sugar solution of at least 65% is necessary to perform this function. Since the sugar content naturally present in fruits and their juices is less than 65%, it is essential to add sugar to raise it to this concentration in jellies and preserves.

Y-not: Sweet! Thanks, WeirdDave!

This video seems appropriate:


What's happening in YOUR gardens this week?


**UPDATE: Via Twitter. I propose the next Moron Meetup be held at Doreen's place:


Posted by: Open Blogger at 09:00 AM | Comments (55)
Post contains 1655 words, total size 15 kb.

1 What's happening in my garden? Two inches of snow is what is happening in my garden. I had to dig out the parsley and sage to put into the stuffing.

Posted by: LochLomondFarms at November 29, 2014 09:06 AM (Esq1J)

2 We had a brief respite from the cold, so Mr and I spent part of yesterday doing yard work - a little raking, transplanting, and general cleanup.

Posted by: Y-not at November 29, 2014 09:08 AM (9BRsg)

3 ...the related genus Gaylussicia, which includes the "dangleberry". ==== Wait, doesn't that belong on an earlier thread?

Posted by: Sister Sestina at November 29, 2014 09:10 AM (fjP++)

4 Did Doc Holliday really say, "I'm your huckleberry."?

Posted by: fairweatherbill bucking the wind at November 29, 2014 09:13 AM (7dvtN)

5 Blueberries are proof of God's love for us. That and beer.

Posted by: Diogenes at November 29, 2014 09:16 AM (42tU5)

6 I love blueberries, especially in pie.

Basically any berry pie beats apple in my book.

Sometimes I prefer cherry pie or even peach pie over berry pies...

PIE!

Posted by: Y-not at November 29, 2014 09:25 AM (9BRsg)

7 My mother's parents owned a blueberry farm in SW Michigan.  Acres and acres of blueberries.  Jersey Blues as I recall.

Posted by: mrp at November 29, 2014 09:30 AM (JBggj)

8 My mother's family used to grow some mutant huckleberry strain from das alte Land.  One bad year, no one saved any seeds back, all gone.  Grump.

My brother hunted down something similar at an heirloom seed place near Decorah, Iowa, but they're not quite the same.



Anyway.  Gardening.  Was there something I was supposed to do to my lawnmower before winter set in?  I should have asked my dad when they were visiting, he could have stood around the garage giving me directions while my cats terrorized my mother.  Heh.

Posted by: HR boozin' up the eggnog at November 29, 2014 09:36 AM (ImIut)

9 Maine blueberries are great.

Posted by: eman at November 29, 2014 09:36 AM (MQEz6)

10 Had wild blueberries growing in the lot behind the house growing up. Love em. And I'm still enjoying Alton Brown's cranberry dipping sauce from Thankgiving. Good post y'all.

Posted by: Golfman in NC at November 29, 2014 09:41 AM (YfPDm)

11 The only thing I do in my garden this time of year is run outside & dump coffee grounds around roses, filter & all. I had walked into Starbucks two months ago to ask for used grounds, they are good for soil, and manager told me to call ahead & they would save for me. I'll call in late March or early April depending on weather. I just threw today's grounds off back porch over bud Union of a climber.

Posted by: Carol at November 29, 2014 09:41 AM (sj3Ax)

12 Our gardens are sleeping under 14" of freshly fallen snow. The greenhouse is empty and cold. The little woman has received her first seed catalog and planning starts anew. I am applying the knowledge I gained with my experimental propagation chamber this spring to the fabrication of a bigger better sealed chamber. Alas my strawberries are not mulched and will need resetting in the spring.

Posted by: NativeNH at November 29, 2014 09:42 AM (fOjwI)

13 LochLomondFarms, There's about 1.5 inches of snow on soil here.

Posted by: Carol at November 29, 2014 09:43 AM (sj3Ax)

14 Should've done yardwork (or the Christmas lights!) yesterday-- 60 degrees, sunny, a little wind but...food coma.

Today?  Cloudy, 40's, snow/rain mix.  The garden is just cold mushy mud right now.

Hmmm....

Finish off the pumpkin pie, take a nap.  Yeah.

Posted by: JeanQ Flyover at November 29, 2014 09:44 AM (82lr7)

15 Henry David Thoreau wrote quite a bit about blue, and other types of berries.

Posted by: nanny hag at November 29, 2014 09:45 AM (Queum)

16 Huckleberry picking in my part of Idaho is a family tradition. Most are avid huckleberry pickers in July/August and would be embarrassed if they didn't have a few gallons of frozen huckleberries in the freezer. I make a huckleberry pie every Thanksgiving from our frozen stash. We go out every summer to ensure we get several gallons before it's too late. Popular ways of using huckleberries: ice cream & shakes, pies, quick breads, muffins, coffee cakes, cheesecakes, jam, and there is always Huckleberry Lemonade available at the local restaurants.

Huckleberries are tart and require more sugar than blueberries for a good pie. The flavor is similar to a blueberry, but with a deeper flavor. Although many have tried, it is impossible to replant a wild huckleberry bush and grow it in your backyard. The locals very zealously keep their prime huckleberry picking areas private, if possible!

It's tough work picking, but very rewarding. Especially in a good berry year, when you can find large berries and fill up your picking container quickly!

Posted by: KG at November 29, 2014 09:46 AM (WCCTF)

17 HR, just make sure there's no gas left in it.  Easiest thing to do is crank it and let it run until it runs out of gas.  You may also want to drain the oil, but that's not something I've ever done.

Posted by: Country Singer at November 29, 2014 09:47 AM (nL0sw)

18 You may also want to drain the oil, but that's not something I've ever done.

I don't think I've ever even checked the oil.

Thanks!  That seems easy enough.  I probably could have done it while I was putting up the Christmas lights.

Posted by: HR boozin' up the eggnog at November 29, 2014 09:49 AM (ImIut)

19 If you know an area with blueberry bushes, and that area gets burned by fire, for a few years after the berries are quite prolific.

Posted by: nanny hag at November 29, 2014 09:49 AM (Queum)

20 I don't think I've ever even checked the oil.

Posted by: HR boozin' up the eggnog at November 29, 2014 02:49 PM (ImIut)



That's one of those things that makes men grit their teeth, lol.

Posted by: Country Singer at November 29, 2014 09:51 AM (nL0sw)

21 Gooseberries have been developed to delightful tart/sweet and thornless goodness. Lots of varieties -- plant 3 or 4 because conditions will affect taste. We are in zone 5 and have consistent good luck with gooseberries and currants.

Posted by: sinmi on the phone at November 29, 2014 09:56 AM (A9T4d)

22 This was my heavy gardening day. i went to the Commissary and bought stuff that came out of the ground

Posted by: Nevergiveup at November 29, 2014 09:57 AM (nzKvP)

23 That's one of those things that makes men grit their teeth, lol.

My dad really did teach me better than this.  But it's been 20 years.

Posted by: HR boozin' up the eggnog at November 29, 2014 09:58 AM (ImIut)

24 On the subject of Blue Berries (but not actually blueberry or huckleberry):

Dad's family makes jelly from Oregon Grapes (Mahonia Aquifolium), which grow wild all over the place...sometimes see them in commercial landscapes, too.

They're not pleasant to eat raw!  (I found out as a kid, lol.)  And I doubt they'd make a good pie.  But the jelly?  Mmmmm...

Posted by: JeanQ Flyover at November 29, 2014 09:58 AM (82lr7)

25 Our blackberries are great, but they bloom once and that's it. We've been raking and I pulled up the tomato plants that didn't survive the freeze. There were at least 15 green tomatoes still on there. I guess I should have picked them. For some reason, the lettuce survived just fine.

Posted by: Mama AJ at November 29, 2014 10:06 AM (0xTsz)

26 >>That's one of those things that makes men grit their teeth, lol. And they learn it young. My 14 year old was disgusted with me because I didn't get more gas for the mower when he first told me it was out. He ran out of gas with a 6'x6' patch of grass left uncut. Everybody was sick, I got busy and forgot...

Posted by: Mama AJ at November 29, 2014 10:10 AM (0xTsz)

27 One sort-of-bargain brand of ice cream here has come out with a "limited edition" I'm Your Huckleberry flavor. It contains natural "huckleberry essence", whatever that is, but the only fruit extracts are from blueberries. Mr. Bar-the-Door likes it a lot.

Posted by: KTbarthedoor at November 29, 2014 10:16 AM (qahv/)

28 Sometimes I prefer cherry pie or even peach pie over berry pies...

PIE!


Obscure reference quiz: no Google cheating.
pizza pie, pumpkin pie, pineapple pie, pizza pie, mince tarts

Posted by: pep at November 29, 2014 10:20 AM (4nR9/)

29 We have huckleberries growing wild on our property but I rarely eat them.

Posted by: toby928(C) poluting your thread with football at November 29, 2014 10:20 AM (rwI+c)

30 I live in a semi-desert. No berries for me. Grew some raspberries once. That is all.

Posted by: Ronster at November 29, 2014 10:24 AM (9vrWU)

31 28: Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky.

Posted by: Otis Criblecoblis at November 29, 2014 10:26 AM (IAe6t)

32 And Porky loved pie for breakfast, pie for lunch, pie for dinner, and pie before he went to b-b-bed.

Posted by: Otis Criblecoblis at November 29, 2014 10:28 AM (IAe6t)

33 Oldtimey canning tip: Gramma sealed her berry jam with melted wax. We did not die. Fun fishing out the wax plug in one piece. Okay, sometimes we did find some green fuzz growing between the berry jam and wax. Nothing is perfect. Those old folks were tough. One time we discovered a mouse at the bottom of their container of corn oil. Somebody left the lid off when they put it back in the cupboard. Oil submersion made it difficult to determine how long it had been drownt. The mouse was perfectly preserved. Good thing they used it for fried food. Legal says that I must not in any way recommend these procedures and actively discourage their use. Not for our civilized post-Ferguson times.

Posted by: Man from Wazzustan at November 29, 2014 10:30 AM (0atFl)

34 We have alkaline soil. Raspberries do OK if they get plenty of water which is not us on our sandhill. I don't garden or bake enough to mess with trying to get berries going. I barely used the rhubarb and crabapples from a couple of plants and one tree. I'll be very sad if the econazi's destroy my ability to buy yummy fruits and veggies trucked in from places where they thrive.

Posted by: PaleRider at November 29, 2014 10:32 AM (7w/kf)

35 @31 You are correct, sir.

Posted by: pep at November 29, 2014 10:34 AM (4nR9/)

36 Saskatoons, High Bush Cranberries and Pincherries ... all over north central Alberta and Saskatchewan. Saskatoons and HB Cranberries were especially prolific at my stepfather's place near Cold Lake. When we'd go out picking, we seldom came back with less than 5 five gallon pails. Mom would most often make jelly rather than jam ... mash the berries, and then place in muslin cloth and let drip. Probably why I much refer jelly to jam. Before she got too old to do the drive to British Columbia, she would visit my aunt and bring back many sealed pails of blackberry juice to make jelly. Berries ..... mmmmmm

Posted by: WingNut at November 29, 2014 10:35 AM (A4AYO)

37 We have a Saskatoon growing in our somewhat alkaline, slightly salty soil. It's not supposed to get enough winter chilling to bloom here, but it does. Not real heavily. The birds usually get the fruit before I notice that it's ripe. I would like to know why they named one of the main fruiting varieties "Smoky". Another common name for the Saskatoon is "Shadblow". If I remember correctly, it's because it blooms when the shad (little fishies) are running in New England. There is also an Allegheny Serviceberry - a 30 foot tree with sweet fruit.

Posted by: KTbarthedoor at November 29, 2014 11:51 AM (qahv/)

38 I used to forage for strange green "foods" when I was a little kid, but the only fruits we ever gathered from the wild (except on trips to the Coast) were chokecherries, elderberries and the occasional rose hip. Chokecherries are more work than elderberries, and still are sort of astringent when made into jelly - at least to a kid.

Posted by: KTbarthedoor at November 29, 2014 11:54 AM (qahv/)

39 Jean Q, Oregon Grapes are supposed to be good for you, too.

Posted by: KTbarthedoor at November 29, 2014 11:55 AM (qahv/)

40 Mama AJ, I just read that you can use hard-green, really green tomatoes to make "apple" pie. Slice em up and spice em up.

Posted by: KTbarthedoor at November 29, 2014 11:58 AM (qahv/)

41 We had our first light frost here. Didn't kill anything. I better pick the few remaining Hakurei turnips before it rains next week.

Posted by: KTbarthedoor at November 29, 2014 11:59 AM (qahv/)

42 In the garden we planted about a hundred daffodil bulbs of differing types. The ground is already getting too hard to work, which is a good month earlier than usual, so we used large tubs. I'm eager to see what survives and comes up next spring. The bulbs were bargains. And once they get transplanted into the ground next year, we'll have those tubs for veggies. On blueberries: My grandmother made huge numbers of blueberry pies when in season. My grandparents came from 300 years of Quebec farmers and lumberjacks. When they immigrated to central Mass. as newlyweds, there were a lot of wild berries available in the area and she continued the baking she learned as a young farm girl in Canada. Those pies remain a delicious memory. They might also explain my interest in baking in general.

Posted by: JTB at November 29, 2014 12:20 PM (FvdPb)

43 Updated with cool tweet from Doreen.

Posted by: Y-not at November 29, 2014 12:22 PM (9BRsg)

44 By the way, we just today finished the last of the 25 pounds of green tomatoes we picked when the vines started to die back. I think we lost exactly two tomatoes. They ripened at different rates and we ate an extra six weeks of our harvest beyond our expectations. A wonderful surprise.

Posted by: JTB at November 29, 2014 12:30 PM (FvdPb)

45 Went to H*me D*pot instead of nap.  Now the thread is dead...  *sigh*

Fun fishing out the wax plug in one piece.
Yup!  And Mom wanted it back for reuse, too!

I keep trying to make elderberry jelly.  Seems every batch of berries has a different amount of natural pectin, so even while following the *same recipe* I get either:  Syrup -or- Rubber.

Elderberry syrup complements buckwheat pancakes and venison quite well, btw.

Posted by: JeanQ Flyover at November 29, 2014 12:32 PM (82lr7)

46 Oh, new comments!  Yay!

Posted by: JeanQ Flyover at November 29, 2014 12:33 PM (82lr7)

47 Too many huckleberries to pick? All this wild berry talk makes me jealous. Incidentally, it looks like the Saskatoon is a Western version of the Shadblow. Which may explain how it can survive in our out-of-its-zone garden. "Smoky" is the one I bought, as an experiment. I've been thinking about planting an elderberry or two of some kind, but I don't want my yard to become a protected habitat for the Elderberry Longhorn Beetle, which people wouldn't hate so much if it weren't protected. Heh.

Posted by: KTbarthedoor at November 29, 2014 12:47 PM (qahv/)

48 KT,
Can you tell if Doreen's plants really are huckleberries? Peetey was wondering if they were.

Posted by: Y-not at November 29, 2014 12:50 PM (9BRsg)

49 JeanQ... Thanks for mentioning buckwheat pancakes. This was another signature meal from my grandmother. I think buckwheat was one of the crops they grew on the farm in Quebec. Unfortunately, there is no one left to ask. Haven't made any for years but I sense some coming this week. Also, I'll check into making a fruit syrup (maple syrup is so damn expensive) with Splenda as a sugar substitute. Mild diabetes.

Posted by: JTB at November 29, 2014 12:50 PM (FvdPb)

50 You mentioned buckwheat pancakes, they are one of my favorites. We were camping out west and had been in the mountains for about three weeks with our three kids. On the way home we stopped in at a diner in Livingston, Montana and had a "real" breakfast (according to the kidlets). My son had three orders of buckwheat pancakes, and ate them all. The waitress was amazed and the breakfast was free. My husband said she probably thought we were mountain folk that never got down to the city.

Posted by: abbygirl at November 29, 2014 01:09 PM (Bt2Rc)

51 Been awhile since I've had buckwheat 'cakes, too.  That rubbery jelly can be melted down with apple juice to make yummy syrup...

Sunday breakfast!

Posted by: JeanQ Flyover at November 29, 2014 01:25 PM (82lr7)

52 @48: From what I have read, huckleberries are blue or purple all the way through. Blueberries have blue skin and light centers.

Posted by: KTbarthedoor at November 29, 2014 01:36 PM (qahv/)

53 Sinmi, we should do a gooseberry and currant post sometime.

Posted by: KTbarthedoor at November 29, 2014 01:37 PM (qahv/)

54 I love buckwheat pancakes, too. Buckwheat noodles can be nice, too. Buckwheat is an interesting plant. It is related to rhubarb rather than wheat. A short-season plant, it is traditional in areas with too short a season for cereals, or with acid soils. Sometimes used as a warm-weather cover crop (dug under before it flowers). Buckwheat groats (hulled buckwheat) can be eaten as-is (cooked) or sprouted, then eaten raw or cooked. Various Eriogonum species, the wild buckwheats, are used in dry landscaping around here. They host the larvae of various butterflies.

Posted by: KTbarthedoor at November 29, 2014 01:52 PM (qahv/)

55 @48 again: To confirm ID of berries, try to find a photo showing the leaves of Vaccinium or Gaylussicia species native to the area. Check Wikipedia, State extension agencies or native plant societies.

Posted by: KTbarthedoor at November 29, 2014 03:40 PM (qahv/)

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