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saradippity
02-28-2013, 03:29 PM
So, the gathering season will be soon. I live in an urban setting and I don't own a car. Therefore, if I would like to gather local herbs (and I would) I will need to likely do quite a bit of walking to find a place away from street pollution or herbicides and chemical fertilizers. It's possible though. I would like to leave an offering for the plants I gather from, and I would also like to potentially cultivate plants to encourage my local supply, leaving seedlings and cuttings that I have strengthened in my home and "garden" the settings I find.

I'm thinking I need something lightweight, though if I must carry a couple of gallons of water I can do it if I must (I carry a couple of gallons of vinegar home from the store along with other groceries quite a bit). I don't want to carry a condensed fertilizer so I don't burn roots, but I thought about making a powder that I can sprinkle on the surface of the soil. Alternatively, perhaps I can mold my own organic fertilizer spikes? Maybe using soaked chia seeds as a binder? They get all gelatinous, looks like frog spawn (this makes it very fun to make in a clear glass with a clear juice when you have a ten year old boy - you can ask him if he wants a sip of your "frog spawn soup" and watch him squirm with "eeewww"). Not sure how well the chia would bind when dried after mixing, but I can experiment.

I have a food dehydrator, so I guess anything that I can buy at the grocery store can be dried and used. I also wondered about my leftover lavender buds (I have a mad love affair with lavender tea) or other teas (Earl Grey, chamomile & mint, hibiscus based flavored teas) or coffee grounds. Would these be suitable, or are you aware of any potential hazards of using these as fertilizer? Another possibility I thought of was leftover bones from my stock making. I could dry them and crush them in my mortar and pestle. Also, eggshells could be used. Does it seem that my used food would have too much taken out of it to be of value?

Any ideas? I can't do indoor composting here, every apartment in the whole complex has bugs and if I tempt them they'll all move in here. I've managed to only pick up a few and I'd really like them to not get like I've seen in other homes here.

HappyPotter
03-01-2013, 11:14 AM
Hey Saradippity,

Obviously you won’t be soil testing for specifics however you could always just use 'rock dust' to add extra minerals to the soil and plants love it. You don’t need to carry water, just throw the dry powder on the soil, work it in a little and you’re done http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlGauJnyCFg

In this link is suppliers of rock dust http://remineralize.org/mineral-products/mineral-products example; you can get 2kg bags here www.gaiagreen.com/rockdust.html or hopefully free from your local area you may be able to source.

As for making your own, you could use all the herbs from your teas as well as the egg shells, but personally I wouldn’t use fruits and vegies that haven’t been through a compost, nor the bones from the stock.

But yeah wild crafting foods, nice one, have you ever come across Markus Rothkranz, he’s got some good dvds/books on identifying wild foods www.markusrothkranz.com www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDDfJC5n-D0

saradippity
03-01-2013, 01:19 PM
Rock dust sounds like a good idea, thanks. After I posted this yesterday, I also (very briefly) looked into making my own fertilizer and ran across this page (http://frugalliving.about.com/od/doityourself/tp/Homemade_Fertilizer.htm) which recommends both coffee grounds and eggshells, though I'd have to know if the wild plants liked acidic conditions or not for the coffee grounds. I'm going to have to do more research on our local soil conditions when the time presents itself.

Dendritic Xylem
03-02-2013, 12:15 AM
For potted plants in a low nutrient medium....I add 1 tablespoon blood meal...1 tablespoon kelp meal....2 tablespoons bone meal....and 2 tablespoons powdered dolimite lime-----------this per gallon of soil. These nutrients can also be used as top dressings, just make sure to put a small layer of soil on top of the dressing.

This will provide a good nutrient profile for flowering. If you are dealing with vegetative growth instead of blooming....use half as much bone meal.

Earthworm castings are also your friend ;)


For the record, most of these supplements here will not be directly feeding your plants. The organic meals feed the bacteria and fungi living in the soil. These microorganisms then convert the nutrients into forms which are more plant friendly.

If you're worried about burning or over-feeding.....just use worm castings and kelp meal as a top-dressing after harvesting wild specimens.

zoas23
03-02-2013, 02:39 AM
I have a food dehydrator, so I guess anything that I can buy at the grocery store can be dried and used. I also wondered about my leftover lavender buds (I have a mad love affair with lavender tea) or other teas (Earl Grey, chamomile & mint, hibiscus based flavored teas) or coffee grounds.

I use tea, coffee and vegetables as fertilizers.
No need to use the food dehydrator (in my own case, I actually use water to speed up the rotting process)... and I often wait 3 months before using the compost.

The only problem I've had is mushrooms... which I've learnt to eliminate by cooking the compost before using it (i.e, sterilizing it... maybe this can kill some sort of "good bacterias" or something, but the plants and the mushrooms are often not good friends... so it's better to kill the mushrooms and the mushroom spores that the compost may have before using it).

Oh... the compost won't smell nice at all during the first weeks.

saradippity
03-03-2013, 09:23 AM
Thanks Dendritic, I bet I can work that in using my little hand... um, fork/rake thing. That sounds lightweight enough to carry to the remote spots I'm thinking of. I'm also starting an outdoor garden so I can use it there too. I tend to live in apartments, this is the first time I've gotten a patch of land (they're only letting me have a tiny three foot square, but it'll grow herbs) so I'm on super ground zero for the learning scale, though I'm great with my houseplants.

zoas23, I can't really compost here because I'm in an apartment. However, since I hope to one day actually have a bit of land with a compost heap and a proper garden (and chickens!) how much of the compost do you cook before you use it in the heap, or when the compost is done before you use it in the garden?

zoas23
03-03-2013, 02:32 PM
Thanks Dendritic, I bet I can work that in using my little hand... um, fork/rake thing. That sounds lightweight enough to carry to the remote spots I'm thinking of. I'm also starting an outdoor garden so I can use it there too. I tend to live in apartments, this is the first time I've gotten a patch of land (they're only letting me have a tiny three foot square, but it'll grow herbs) so I'm on super ground zero for the learning scale, though I'm great with my houseplants.

zoas23, I can't really compost here because I'm in an apartment. However, since I hope to one day actually have a bit of land with a compost heap and a proper garden (and chickens!) how much of the compost do you cook before you use it in the heap, or when the compost is done before you use it in the garden?

I live in an apartment!
I use a big salad bowl (2 liters) and I cover it with a plastic bag. The smell doesn't invade the apartment if I use the plastic bag.
I sterilize / cook the compost before using it. I use a couple of "big" spoons in each pot that has a plant.

saradippity
03-04-2013, 01:23 PM
Hmm. That tempts me. I don't know though, the bugs that live in the walls.... There may be less of them now though. They were horrible downstairs when this one family lived there, but the lady now seems tidy. I think everyone across the hall is tidy too. I might get away with it...

Karl
03-07-2013, 03:23 AM
Hi Saradippity,

I love that this kind of direct relating to plants with a view to gratitude and giving is happening here in the forums. Conversations can tend toward the wildly theoretical- I appreciate the grounding of relating to the plant kingdom directly and as a caretaker. I seasonally make seed balls from organic medicinal herbs and bring those with me when I gather. I combine the seeds with a rich compost and egg white. Lots of the herbalists I know take the traditional offering of tobacco with them- the seed balls just make more sense to me personally.

http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h19/karlcrosby/seed1_zps5357f4ce.jpg

saradippity
03-07-2013, 03:42 AM
That's a great idea! I've got to remember that, especially when I start gathering wild seeds. It reminds me of "seed bombs", I remember running into "guerrilla gardening" when writing a paper on urban pranksters instigating social change. I bet that corner of the internet might have some suggestions, though if I recall the premise seemed to be almost to throw the seed bomb and then forget about it. That can't be true on all their sites though.

Hmm. I have some purslane seeds I gathered last year and I recall they make a nice companion plant, acting to prevent evaporation of moisture from the soil and helping other plants root more easily. I bet those would make great seed balls, even before I gather seeds from the other local plants I find. And I agree with you about the difference between theory and practice. I love theory, don't get me wrong, but there are so many times that I've been surprised at the insights I get when putting something into practice as well, not to mention a greater sense of connection to the principles at hand.

Karl
03-07-2013, 04:21 AM
The seed ball concept in recent times comes from this guy:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/Masanobu-Fukuoka.jpg

Masanobu Fukuoka reintroduced the notion of seed balls for his method of "natural farming". Permaculture owes a lot to his writing. Guerilla gardening certainly picked up the technique. Fukuaka made seed balls with clay. The compost and egg method is a variation.

HappyPotter
03-11-2013, 10:51 AM
Seed Balls, nice one Karl, I've been wildcrafting herbs for donks and never thought of such a thing, thanks for the tip..