Monday, January 23, 2017

Gardening economics: The Top 3 Questions I get asked

Often when I exhibit my garden harvests, people immediately start asking me how much I spend each year on gardening supplies, how much food I produce, and how much land I'm working with. These questions will be answered here, and I hope this is useful to all those that are curious and want to work with their own slice of land to grow food where ever and when ever.

1. How much do you spend on your garden every year?

Typically every year in the Spring, I buy $20 of mulch which is a truck load, and I spread that on the garden to start transplanting seedlings. Sometimes I will end up buying another truckload up mulch at the beginning of Fall for the fruit trees, so that will come to $20-40 in mulch every year. Then of course because I plant a lot in containers, I usually end up buying $30 in garden soil or potting soil. As for seeds, I typically do not need to buy seeds because I have been saving seed from my own crops for years, and I hoard seeds for the following year, so I don't usually spend any more than $20 on seeds. Although for the first couple of years I was buying $50-60 worth of seed to start my Non-gmo organic seed collection. And I always buy some plants at the nursery to get started early such as brassicas, tomatoes, or peppers that often take a long time to grow for a regular gardener, so I will spend no more than $20 on a certain type of plant every year. With all that factored in, I will usually spend approximately $90-110 total every year.

2. How much food do you produce?

Actually this is very hard to calculate because the foods I harvested were organic, some wild edibles, and some foods that are very unique that they may be quite expensive. For example, the figs that I grow and harvest, I'm not sure what they would equate to be because I have never been to a grocery store that sold fresh figs like they do in California. To calculate how much food I produced last year, I skimmed some harvest photos, and I would estimate that I grew over $400 worth of food.

Actually, this is a low estimate because like I said, I grew lots of fruit that I have nothing to compare the price to, especially the wild mushrooms I picked. In fact, I grow unique fruits and vegetables that add value to the garden. To get an idea of a big harvest for me in the garden, below I have posted photos of my garden harvests for the last couple of years:


minus the peaches! 2014






Because I'm calculating last year's garden harvest, I actually got back less because I didn't garden as much last summer as I have done previous years where I've had help. In previous years without growing and harvesting peaches and figs and wild mushrooms in the garden, I was growing $1000 every summer in squashes, greens, tomatoes, and peppers. 

3. How much land are you working with?

In previous years I have been permitted to use my grandparents' gardens that they grew on for decades, and now I have taken it over to use. I'm not quite sure what the footage of this garden is behind their house, but I will estimate that it's a 60-70 foot long garden and 15 foot in width. The garden in front of their house that I have been using is a little smaller, but still a lot larger than the garden at my house. This one is probably 50 feet in length, and the garden I work with at my house (on my mother's property) is perhaps a little more than 40 feet in length. On my mother's property (which is 0.6 acres), I grow fruit trees all over the garden and around the house. There is over 14 fruit trees on the property (cherry, plum, peach, nectarine, pear, figs), and over 20 fruiting bushes (blueberries, grapes, raspberries, aronia, blackberries, goji.)

Of course, not everyone has even the small amount of land I'm working with, so I want to mention that I have many posts on growing in containers indoors, and growing food as an apartment dweller, so I recommend reading those posts if you're an aspiring gardener that does not have their own land yet. Here are some suggested posts to visit for apartment dwellers:

Grow Veggies & Fruit trees in Containers (Limited Space & Urban gardening)

Recycled Bucket Gardening (container gardening for apartment dwellers)

1200 square foot apartment garden

Scary truth about PLASTIC: The ocean is a plastic soup

The ocean is a plastic soup. Plastic is derived from synthetic materials, most commonly produced from petrochemicals, and we have become devastatingly dependent on this "material", and the environment is reaping this destruction. "In some cases, small amounts of those chemicals can remain trapped in the product unless suitable processing is employed. For example, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has recognized vinyl chloride, the precursor to PVC, as a human carcinogen" according to McRandle of "Plastic Water Bottles". National Geographic. BPA in plastic has been argued to be an estrogen-like endocrine disruptor that may leach into food (McRandle, 2004.) "The very chemical bonds that make them so durable tend to make them resistant to most natural processes of degradation."
In fact, what happens to a lot of plastic is that it drifts from landfills and populated areas into the water ways. The documentary Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch shows you footage of their own discovery of what plastic does from netting entangling coral reefs to pieces of plastic eaten by seabirds. In the documentary, the research states that often the people that use netting for fish will leave the net in the ocean. In one instance, one sperm whale found in California in 2008 died because it ingested 22.2 kilos of plastic in its lifetime. 

Because plastic is relatively low cost, "easy" to manufacture, versatile, and resistant to water, plastics are highly valued by people. According to Andrady of "Applications and societal benefits of plastics" says "packaging beverages in PET plastic rather than glass or metal is estimated to save 52% in transportation energy". While this may be the case, I am advocating for a an entire shift away from pre-packaged beverages and things altogether. Yes, that sounds like I do not want to buy anything at all, and that sounds very strange to people to imagine a world where things aren't wrapped or packaged, or that things wouldn't exist at all. That is the concern for people.

According to The World Counts, global plastic waste has created a gigantic “plastic soup” the size of Russia in the Pacific of up to 15 million square kilometers. In 10 years, this amount will double. This year alone, we will be producing 5 trillion plastic bags, equating to 160,000 every second. All of us are guilty of this plastic convenient bag. But for the last 6 years I have used cloth bags every time I go to the grocery store so I'm not using plastic grocery bags. Of course when there is an occasional plastic bag that ends up at the house, I use it for the bathroom trash (I may do a video or a post on what I do with plastic bags in the future.)

Even on my behalf, I have limited the amount of trash and waste I produce and throw away. For years I saved plastics and took them to the recycling place, but realized: this is only adding to the environmental degradation--it's fueling the fire, so to speak. I save cardboard boxes to burn later, I save glass bottles, and other things so I'm not throwing them away. I realize though that I'm surrounding myself in trash and waste as to avoid adding to it to be dumped elsewhere.

This is a consumer culture, thus it is a trash culture too. There are small and large scale solutions, and all we have to do is imagine we can do it because humans are very good at imagining the future and creating what we want to see. I believe that we can abolish the plastic industry and completely change the way we make everything. It is a matter of seeing the problem, because especially in the case of trash and waste, if someone picks up our trash to take it to a landfill, we are not aware of the devastation we are doing ourselves. We don't watch our trash get taken to a landfill and watch our own trash get tossed and parts move with the end, and things end up in the ocean. If we see the problem, we will want to fix it.
I have mentioned this before in several posts: that instead of logging trees and clear cutting forests for carbon materials like box, loose leaf paper, and many other things, we can use hemp or bamboo instead because they are low impact materials. This can be said for plastic as well, by replacing plastic with hemp fibers.

People think because bottled water exists, that somehow it's better than tap water (although I find that tap water tastes like bleach, I still drink it instead of bottled water.) But, more people are buying different beverages in plastic bottles, and of course when you give people so many options, they help these corporations get rich.
Once again, individual solutions are good, but there will need to be large scale change that requires corporations to refuse buying and using plastic while completely changing the way they package items. Or even better, these corporations realize that what they produce and sell is meaningless to life, adds to the trash and waste of the world, and realize that they only produce things to make money instead of creating everlasting change. Actually, the large corporations need to be held accountable for all the unhealthy food and beverage options and the waste that exists in the world--we cannot blame people for their own mindless gluttony because it's the rich that are exploiting that notion of people.
There are many micro and individual solutions, like Sweet, a company that takes travelers to destinations like Mexico, that they call 'gaycations' to clean up the environment and do many community service projects during their stay. I found that to be interesting and mindful, so I recommend watching the full video here for some inspiration.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Scary truth about America's diet (food waste & unhealthy food consumption)

According to Ecowatch:"90 percent of the foods humans eat come from just 30 plants. Out of tens of thousands of plants we could eat, mankind chooses to consume only about 30 of them. It’s crazy to contemplate how limited our diets are compared to all of the different foods we could be eating".
A diet of 30 plants that humans consume is less worrisome that Michael Pollan's argument.
As mentioned in my post on re-wilding yourself with wild edibles, Michael Pollan has much to discuss on this subject. Pollan in In Defense of Food, says that the majority of American's calories come from 4 foods: wheat, sugar, soy, and corn. However he also mentions that another big portion of the calories come from dairy and meat products as you can see in the pie chart below from Food is Medicine.

US Food ConsumptionMany health gurus tell you to eat simple, and this makes intuitively like eating an apple. I consider my diet simple as far as eating a large variety of fruits, vegetables, greens, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, but this means that I'm get a variety of vitamins and minerals. The kind of simplification in the typical American's diet is excluding these health foods for diet that is simplified to a handful of the same ingredients for every meal with a different arrangement of those ingredients.

Let me be clear: I do not fault an individual for the availability and price of unhealthy processed foods. Actually, there is much to say about the way food is distributed such as grocery gaps where urban and rural areas have to travel up to 20-50 miles to get a grocery store. Considering this, there are family dollar stores, gas stations, and liquor stores in close proximity to the poor urban and rural regions of this country. I can protest all day to avoid putting your dollar in these big corporations that are making you and your family unhealthy. And let me also be clear: just because your skinny, doesn't mean your healthy; and just because you're fat, doesn't mean your unhealthy.
In considering all of this, who do we look to that created this unhealthy industry? Do the CEOs and head management eat the crap that they sell in stores? Does Doritoes eat Doritoes? Do these people that run the corporations let their children sit in front of the TV and watch the food ads they put on TV to brainwash children?
It's similar, but not quite the same way cigarettes are sold. There is a warning label on cigarettes, but the only labels on packaged foods are those that are deceiving you into thinking it's a health food. Healthy food is a whole food like fresh fruits and vegetables.

The limited ingredients in a diet is just the least of our worries, because a much more pressing issue is that 40% of U.S. food is wasted, equating to $165 billion a year in waste according to CNN. This means that there IS enough food to feed the world, and the problem isn't an expanding population where the globe cannot produce enough food for everyone. This is another problem with corporations: they're producing too much food, and distributing too much food in the most consumer-heavy regions. Of course packaged food has a "long shelf life", which basically mean there isn't any nutrition left. So, let's consider what food is wasted the most. I worry, though, that when people do attempt to eat fruits and vegetables, this food typically goes to waste. 
 As mentioned, packaged food that can be preserved with a longer shelf life than fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, is a mixture of those same ingredients of meat, dairy, wheat, corn, soy, and sugar. Because these foods are highly processed, thus their raw, fresh form loses the nutrients and minerals that once was there before the processing. The solution to unhealthy food consumption and food waste isn't to grow more, sell more, or donate more. The solution lies within the power structure. This may sound like a radical idea, but by giving people and families their own land to grow their own food will be part of the solution.
This further angers me because there is the safety of pesticides and GMO foods argument that we need these technological innovations to ensure we have enough food and no money is wasted--well, isn't that a laugh when we consider that people deliberately are wasting food, and corporations continue to over produce and over sell foods. Not only is food wasted and chemicals used becomes unnecessary, but fuel and transportation become wasted. And lets get real about the land we use for what: where we have hundreds of acres of wheat, corn, and soy being grown exclusively for the fattening of cows, chickens, pigs, and animals to get fat on their unnatural diet in order for humans to consume them.

Of course there are many solutions, but we cannot keep making the same mistake of selling and growing more, because the problem is where the food is getting distributed, as mentioned by National Geographic: "the richer the nation, the higher its per capita rate of waste." National Geographic also states that: "To compound the environmental insult, food buried in the airless confines of dumps generates methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide. If global food waste were a country, it would be the third largest generator of greenhouse gases in the world behind China and the United States."
 Restaurant buffets are notorious for food waste. In fact the other day as I watched my mother and sister eat at a Chinese restaurant, we examined a family that continued to get food from the buffet that they ended up leaving there to be thrown away. My mother, sister, and I were furious at this, to the point we wanted to take the food (because we watched, and the food wasn't touched). 

Additionally, we have to refuse a global food corporation like McDonalds taking over America,  India, Asia, and Africa. We got to refine the food market, but the food shall not be refined! 
The solution is not necessarily individuals taking their business elsewhere, it is a matter of a culture shift and changing our perspective about the kinds of food we want to sustain the planet that works with this planet.

Common Tomato Plant Ailments & Pests

Original post @ Organic Tomato Garden Tips to read full article, in addition to Using Hydrogen Peroxide with added information.

Early Blight

"Caused by a fungus Alternaria solani, early blight is also known as target spot or alternaria leaf spot. Signs of early blight are loss of leaves on the lower part of the plant and brown or black spots that are 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter that appear on lower leaves. Spots often merge and form odd-shaped blotches and may look like a target. Leaves will fade to yellow and dry up. Early blight often attacks the tomato as well, leaving large black concave areas on the tomatoes. Warm damp weather helps spread early blight. Fungicide is used to control early blight. Follow manufacturer’s instructions when using any fungicide on your plants.
Verticillium Wilt
"The fungi Venticillium albo-atrum and Verticillium dahlie are the cause of verticillium wilt. Small yellow patches appear on the lower leaves of the plant and, eventually, as the disease spreads upwards, leaves turn yellow, wither and drop. Verticillium wilt also causes the internal browning of the stem near the soil line. Infected plants can survive but their growth is often stunted and their crop yield is lower. Controlling verticillium wilt is difficult; no fungicidal treatment has been effective. The best way to prevent verticillium wilt is to choose tomato plants that are not susceptible to the disease. Look for tomato plants or seeds that are labeled “V” for verticillium-resistance. The Better Boy, Big Beef, Roma and Early Girl are a few varieties of tomato that resist verticillium wilt."

Bacterial Spot

"Bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria causes bacterial spot. This disease appears as brown spots on the leaves and stems of the tomato plant. The splotches are about 1/8 inch across and feel slightly slimy to the touch. As the spots begin to grow they often appear to be surrounded by a yellow halo. Once spots become abundant, they will grow together and cause the leaves to turn brown and wither. Bacterial spot can affect the fruit of the plant. Black dots will appear on the tomato and will enlarge to 1/4 to 1/2 inch in width and become sunken, gray and scab-like. Keep areas around tomato plants weed-free to help reduce the chance of bacteria growth. Fungicide is effective in controlling bacterial spot. Follow manufacturer’s instructions when using fungicides on your plants."

Bacterial Canker

"Plants infected with bacterial canker often appear to have the disease on only one side. Eventually the disease does spread to the entire plant. Caused by a bacterium Clavibacter michiganesis subsp. michiganesis, bacterial canker can cause extensive damage to your tomato crop. Young plants will suddenly wilt and older plants will experience browning along the edges of their leaves. In rare occasions, the stems of the plant will develop cavities or brown cankers. Raised white spots may occur on tomatoes, sometimes called birds-eye-lesions, and the white spots will turn brown as it ages. Control bacterial canker by planting disease-free plants and keep areas weed free to reduce chances of bacterial growth. Copper spays have little effect on the bacterial canker and, most likely, will not stop the spread of the disease".

Septoria Leaf Spot

"Septoria leaf spot is caused by Septoria lycopersici. The first symptoms are small, water-soaked spots. The spots grow to about 1/8 inch in diameter, then develop grayish-white centers. The edges then turn dark. The spores of this fungus are spread through rain and from watering from above. Eventually, the leaves turn yellow and fall off. While the infection can invade the plant at any time, it is most commonly seen after the plant sets fruit, according to the University of Iowa. Control septoria leaf spot by planting healthy plants with the proper amount of space between them, watering at the base of the plants, watering in the morning, removing dead and decaying branches, and keeping any fallen plant debris cleaned up"


"One of the most common pests on tomatoes is the aphid. Aphids suck the sap of the plant causing misshapen foliage and fruit. Introducing beneficial insects into the garden can help this problem. The natural predators of aphids are laceywings and ladybugs.
"Hornworms are a green caterpillar with small black spots and two protruding antennae on their heads. They eat foliage and the tomatoes and can do a lot of damage before you find them. The best defense against hornworms is to go in your garden often and pick them off the plants... Another remedy is to sprinkle flour on the tomato plants."

Cutworms and whitefly

"Cutworms damage tomatoes by cutting the stems. If you see this damage on your plants use wood ashes on the ground around the stems. Another common pest is the whitefly, which makes the tomato leaves yellow and distorted. Laceywings and ladybugs are also effective for this insect, as well as spraying with garlic oil or using yellow sticky traps."

Blossom end rot 

"A water-soaked spot at the blossom end of tomato fruits is the classic symptom of blossom-end rot. This relatively common garden problem is not a disease, but rather a physiological disorder caused by a calcium imbalance within the plant." Some gardeners suggest using eggshells because it contains calcium, but other gardeners protest that using eggshells is not useful because the shells take time to break down. In turn, they suggest keeping consistent soil moisture around the plant. Frequency or amount of water is not key, just consistency. Additionally, "Excess ammonial types of nitrogen in the soil can reduce calcium uptake as can a depleted level of phosphorus" according to one user at a garden forum here. This user also suggested Tums tablets, which I would consider Calcium vitamins as a handy "supplement" to the plant/soil if you have nothing else on hand.

Companion planting

"Traditional gardening wisdom teaches that certain plants grown together create mutual strength and disease resistance. Companion planting is one way to create a disease-resistant tomato plant.  Tomatoes become more disease free and pest resistant when planted near onions, nasturtiums, marigolds, asparagus, carrots, parsley, and cucumber. Basil repels whiteflies. Dill and borage repel hornworms."

Organic Insect Spray

"Garlic and pepper is an all-purpose bug spray for common tomato plant problems such as aphids and hornworms. Its strong odor keeps many insects away. This spray also stops mildew.
Organic Fungicide
"Baking soda has been found to have fungicidal properties. Baking soda spray is effective for tomato blight, powdery mildew, and as a general fungicide. Use as a preventative or when blight problems have already developed. An effective mixture is baking soda, vegetable oil, and Castile soap. Another popular organic fungicide is an apple cider vinegar and water mixture."

*Peroxide is another useful ingredient in the garden regarding health and prevention. This is because peroxide "works by releasing oxygen. It acts as an oxygen supplement for plants. It seems to really support both good health and strong growth for plants.
Hydrogen peroxide can also help with soil fungus: it aerates the soil, and it is anti-fungal. (It is also anti-bacterial)" according to Using Hydrogen Peroxide. Additionally, peroxide works as a General fertilizer, either in plant water or sprayed on foliage. Secondly, peroxide helps sick plants, which can be applied by using a Spray bottle on the leaves and add to water. Mold or fungus on plants or in the soil can be controlled by using Hydrogen peroxide on plants or in the soil. If you’ve got mold on the plant, spraying the leaves is probably best. Third, Hydroponic gardeners often use peroxide to feed plants, by adding it to the watering system. Also, a Peroxide Spray on tree cuts, helps prevent infection. Peroxide as a spray in the greenhouse controls mold and mildew. Sprouting seeds before planting using water and peroxide that seeds soak in for seeds to sprout faster and grow stronger. Rooting cuttings appreciate the added peroxide in water, if you’ve put the cuttings directly into water before planting. Or, if you’ve put the cuttings into soil or medium, use peroxide in the water you’re using to water the cuttings with.

*Epsom salt as a fertilizer for tomatoes as well. A healthy plant that is more mature will be less susceptible to pests and/or pathogens. Overall, Pest control for tomatoes begins with creating nutrient-rich soil so plants are strong and resistant to disease. Add organic compost to soil before planting.

Compost Tea Spray

"Keep blight and other pathogens away from tomato plants with a compost tea mixture to spray on affected leaves. It is also used as a soak around the base of the plant. Compost is rich in microorganisms that have anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Dilute the compost/water mixture and let it sit for 1 week before use to ensure that plants are not burned".

Beneficial Insects

"Ladybugs, praying mantis, and lacewings are known as “beneficials” and they are a very effective organic pest control for tomato problems. They eat the insects which chew and destroy tomato plants, such a flea beetles and aphids."

*You can attract beneficial insects through creating their ideal environment. Recently I posted examples of ways other gardener made "bug hotels" that attract these insects, here: Beneficial insect/bug hotel ideas

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Indoor Hanging potted plants

The 3M Command strips with plastic hook holds potted plants, and it's easy to put up, fast, and inexpensive. As long as the potted plants are small and light, the plastic hook should hold the plant for a long time. I have been using mine for for months for a potted String of Bananas plant.
Below are more examples of the unique ways to grow a garden indoors using a hanging method.There are additional photos of ideas to display indoor potted plants here: 99 Great Ideas to display Houseplants.

he 3M Command strips with a plastic hook holds potted plants well as long at they're small and light. I have been using mine for months for a potted String of Bananas plant.

Keyhole Gardens (how to & design)

The structure of the keyhole gardens is to create a circular compost pile. Around the compost, soil is to be surrounded in a U shape built up using stacked rocks or another barrier to hold the soil around the compost. As rain falls through the compost, the nitrogen and other minerals from the compost will be slowly released like a liquid fertilizer into the soil.
The first step in making a keyhole garden is either making the cylindrical compost hole with mesh, wire, or some kind of fencing.
Secondly, make the outer frame with bricks, rocks, wood, or other materials to contain the soil. Shape the frame like a U so that you can walk in the space.
Third, lay down cardboard at the bottom of the garden to suppress weeds.
Fourth, begin by adding soil in the garden, and fill the compost cage with food scraps.

Below are examples of the many ways gardeners have made keyhole gardens.

university of bristol

African Raised Keyhole garden bu The Shaster Foundation. Drought proof, flood proof and perfect for people who don't like or can't bend or dig. Feeds a family of 6 all year round in any kind of weather.

Re-wild yourself Part I: list of wild edibles

As I read a little bit of Michael Pollan's book "In defense of food", his overall health advice was to eat the foods that grow wild around us in our own environment. His argument was that when we eat the foods around us that grow wild are those that help us adapt to the environment and prevent diseases. Pollan concludes from researching cultures that it's important to follow cultural practices in consuming food rather than food science. Additionally, the soil and plant in the wild is cleaner than that grown in the big-Ag industry with all of its spray chemicals. Because the soil in the woods has more nutrients for years of composting leaf matter and other natural fertilizing, the edible foods are more nutritious, and have a diverse range of nutrients whereas the typical store-bought food is the same mix of ingredients of wheat and sugar components in a very strict ratio with no nutrition left after processing. Although it does not have quite the vegan or ethical message as far as what I usually highlight on this blog, I do see merit in his argument. I highly recommend reading this book, so request a copy from your local library.

In considering this from Pollan's argument, I find that I also strive to eat this way considering I do a lot of foraging behind my house. My Family and people around Kentucky, especially where I live, hunt for food like deer, fish, squirrel, turkey, and so that's their way of eating life that is around them in their environment.
Because I eat vegan, the wild foods I have eaten are fruits, nuts, greens/herbs, and mushrooms. Apparently there is a App on iTunes for Vegan recipes of wild edibles here: The Wild Vegan.

In past posts on wild edibles, I have shown you that I forage for mushrooms in the woods, as well as berries and paw paw fruits. Typically the kinds of mushrooms that grow behind my house are Chanterelle mushrooms and Chicken of the Woods, in the pictures below.
chanterelles foraged in kentucky woods

chanterelle & chicken of the woods mushrooms forage
Foraging Chanterelle & Chicken of the woods mushrooms in July
For more pictures of the mushroom foraging in the past years, go to the links provided at the end of this post.

Another mushroom found in Kentucky is Morels. When I was a kid, my Dad and I foraged for these and later he fried them and ate them with ketchup. This how I ate them growing up. I haven't had Morels in a long time because they grow early in the season, and I haven't come across a patch of Morels around my house. Because Chanterelles and Chicken of the woods grow behind my house, those are what I forage the most. I eat these types of mushrooms by tearing them into strips and frying them with a little oil, salt and pepper, served over rice or noodles.

Other wild edibles of Kentucky, and perhaps around you too, are Paw paw fruit trees. Last fall I found one paw paw growing among a young, new patch of Paw paws behind my house. The paw paw fruit never grew to a proper size to eat, but when it was so ripe it turned brown and black, I ate a piece and found it to be very tasty, like caramel or something.

Of course other wild edible fruits in the woods are berries. They are very easy to identify unlike mushrooms, but some berries can be questionable, however, I have found that I can trust the look of wild black berries and wild raspberries in the woods. Because there is a lot of land behind my house that I explore, I always find blackberries and raspberries to forage and eat. One year I foraged so many berries that I was able to make 10 half pints of jam. Another berry I love and forage around my house is dewberries. They look like blackberries, except they grow on a small vine that crawls across the ground. Typically they are larger than a blackberry.
Autumn berry, wild edible:
autumn olive berry
Another berry I like to forage for is huckleberry. It looks like similar to a blueberry plant but the berries are darker and tiny. Of course, the huckleberries around you may be different, considering I'm listing wild edibles I eat in Kentucky.
Many people have heard of this fruit because of Huckleberry Finn, but many have not explored the woods to eat this berry. And it's certainly not a berry we find in the grocery store, much like other wild foods.

The berries listed are typically harvested around July and August. Whereas the Autumn Olive, which as the name implies, is harvested in the fall, around September. I have not tried the Autumn Olive, but realized I have many of these plants growing around my house.
Elderberry is easily identifiable, usually growing along the side of the road like Autumn Olive plants (from what I've noticed). Elderberry is bitter, and eating these may require a lot of sugar or some kind of processing.


 Persimmons is another wild native fruit that all animals, including me, love to eat. The persimmons around here are very small compared to California and Asian persimmons that are large. I have noticed two different varieties of persimmons I have foraged where I live: one being a flavor like pumpkin pie (which is a similar flavor to the Hachiya and Fuyu persimmons); and the second being a flavor like orange icy pops.
foraged persimmons from kentucky

black raspberry forage in kentucky

blackberry and dewberry (right) forage

There are so many wild greens that are edible as well like ramps, dandelions, and chickweed. This young gentlemen, Sergei in the photo below, has a book on wild edibles titled "Wild Edibles" and apparently it's quite popular, so it seems to be a worthy purchase for those that want to take on this challenge of eating wild edibles. What he does with his wild edibles, I'm not quite sure, but I thought that he and his family were raw vegans, so I can imagine a lot of the greens are used for salads, smoothies, and juices. I would eat the greens all these ways including frying them.

Of course nut trees are plentiful, typically around property lines, but some remain in the woods for the squirrels to eat. Some of the wild nut trees around here are hickory and beechnut. There are many others such as Walnuts and pecans that I harvest from on peoples' property lines.

Where I live, there is a lot of logging for nut trees, so the woods has become a place of destruction. I am afraid that some of these wild foods like Paw paws may become extinct the more logging that is done. Because of clear cutting, Paw paws and other trees may not survive the logging industry due to equipment/machinery completely killing any other tree that would not have been cut for the logging company. It seems nothing is safe in its path. We must demand an alternative to clear cutting woods and forests, and oil businesses that also clear cut, and shopping malls and other projects that devastate the landscape. We must demand a different path to protect ecosystems, wildlife, and protect wild native plants.

Other related posts are provided below to find more information and pictures of foraging wild edibles, including more pictures of BIG foraging hauls of Chanterelle and Chicken of the woods mushrooms:

Late July Garden harvests (Peaches ... 
Foraging Chanterelle & Chicken of the woods mushrooms in July
BIG Garden Harvest in late August ...
Heirloom Solar Flare & Gold Berries ... 
Chanterelle mushrooms from the woods!
Rain for weeks grows BIG mushrooms ...
Foraging for Wild Edibles (Fall & Winter)
Pawpaw flower & Fruit identification ...
Apple, Persimmon, & Nut Foraging in ...
10 remarkably useful plants you can find in the wild
List of Uncommon Cold Hardy Fruit ... 

Similar to what Michael Pollan was speaking about with diet, Markus Rothkranz, a health "guru", has created this short video I have posted below which discusses the healing properties of wild edibles further as Pollan had.