Quick On-line Herb Order Form

Drylands Permaculture Design Course

Two book reviews and some politics

Miraculous Abundance: One Quarter Acre, Two French Farmers, and Enough Food to Feed the World.
Perinne and Charles Herve-Gruyer. 2016. Chelsea Green Publishing. 253 pages. $24.95 retail.
Wow! What a great book.  Very clear writing on how we could feed the world’s people on small-holdings. We don’t need industrial agriculture! Perinne and Charles show how.  Quite a feat to make a living on farming a quarter acre (and with employees). Their system is based on permaculture, forest gardening, hand labor, biointensive microagriculture and such-like.  Great example and an inspiration to anyone who aspires to make a living on a micro-farm.   
 
Swidden-Fallow Agroforestry in the Peruvian Amazon
William M. Denevan and Christine Padock, Editors. 1988. Advances in Economic Botany, Volume 5. 107 pages.
Another seminal book in pointing out the extent and values of indigenous forest farming systems. In this case the Peruvian Amazon, but the authors also draw some world-wide conclusions.  Worth reading for the person interested in subtropical indigenous forest farming systems, agroforestry and highly relevant to permaculturists. The cataloging of indigenous agroforestry (and agricultural) systems are being recorded at the same time as they are disappearing. There are more and more studies like this that us contemporary forest farmers can learn from. 
I just looked on Amazon and they are currently selling from $212 to $1367, so keep your eyes open for a cheap copy (I found one) and in the meantime go to the public library system.
 
Politics
We all remember the saying that “Nero fiddled while Rome burned”.  We could possibly say that about the current crop of US politicians. “The politicians fiddled while the US burned”.  But it would be more appropriate to say that most politicians are aiding and abetting the looting of Earth’s resources and public purses by the 1%. “The politicians get paid off to fan the flames of the US burning”. The level of complacency and compliance in the United States is still huge, but gradually shrinking. Grow your gardens and work for social change.  Time will tell where the story goes.
 
I was just doing research into the voting choices on my Washington August 2 Primary Election
 
In researching Sam Wright (on the ballot for US Senator) who prefers the Human Rights Party. I found this info. Sounds like a good start to me, though it could also link up with Nature’s Rights and stick up for them, since without a healthy planet none of us will be alive to seek pursuit of happiness. 
The Human Rights Party
The Basic Principles for the Human Rights Party are as follows:
  1. All forms of offensive warfare, including preemptive actions, must be eliminated.
  2. All types of discrimination, in any form, must be eliminated.
  3. All individuals must have access to quality health care.
  4. All individuals must have access to decent personal housing alternatives.
  5. All individuals must have access to quality educational opportunities.
  6. All individuals must have access to viable employment opportunities.
  7. All disabled individuals must have adequate resources to insure their pursuit of happiness.
  8. All retired individuals must have adequate resources to insure their pursuit of happiness.
  9. Revenues from all forms of taxation must be adequate to fully fund all of the above.
PS,  I was also glad to see my friend James Robert Deal on the ballot for Governor and I earlier blogged about checking out his campaign ideas.

Tags: 

A Russian Warning. “A Looming Third World War”

Dear friends and family,

Nobody likes to hear news of impending doom, but perhaps if enough Americans are aware of what is happening we might avoid doom.  I have been following Dmitry Orlov for about 5 years now and consider him one of the most astute world commentators at this time.  I have been following the Saker for about 2 years now.  I consider him one of the best sources of information on the Ukraine, the Middle East and Russia. I recommend following both of their websites and reading this article which they have both signed on to.

Michael Pilarski


A Russian Warning. “A Looming Third World War”

 

By Dr. Evgenia Gurevich, Dr. Victor Katsap, Andrei Kozhev, Serge Lubomudrov, Natalya Minkovskaya, Dmitry Orlov, Irina Petrova, and The Saker

We, the undersigned, are Russians living and working in the USA. We have been watching with increasing anxiety as the current US and NATO policies have set us on an extremely dangerous collision course with the Russian Federation, as well as with China. Many respected, patriotic Americans, such as Paul Craig Roberts, Stephen Cohen, Philip Giraldi, Ray McGovern and many others have been issuing warnings of a looming a Third World War. But their voices have been all but lost among the din of a mass media that is full of deceptive and inaccurate stories that characterize the Russian economy as being in shambles and the Russian military as weak—all based on no evidence. But we—knowing both Russian history and the current state of Russian society and the Russian military, cannot swallow these lies. We now feel that it is our duty, as Russians living in the US, to warn the American people that they are being lied to, and to tell them the truth.

Let us take a step back and put what is happening in a historical context. Russia has suffered a great deal at the hands of foreign invaders, losing 22 million people in World War II. Most of the dead were civilians, because the country was invaded, and the Russians have vowed to never let such a disaster happen again. Each time Russia had been invaded, she emerged victorious. In 1812 Nepoleon invaded Russia; in 1814 Russian cavalry rode into Paris. On June 22, 1941, Hitler’s Luftwaffe bombed Kiev; On May 8, 1945, Soviet troops rolled into Berlin.

But times have changed since then. If Hitler were to attack Russia today, he would be dead 20 to 30 minutes later, his bunker reduced to glowing rubble by a strike from a Kalibr supersonic cruise missile launched from a small Russian navy ship somewhere in the Baltic Sea. The operational abilities of the new Russian military have been most persuasively demonstrated during the recent action against ISIS, Al Nusra and other foreign-funded terrorist groups operating in Syria. A long time ago Russia had to respond to provocations by fighting land battles on her own territory, then launching a counter-invasion; but this is no longer necessary. Russia’s new weapons make retaliation instant, undetectable, unstoppable and perfectly lethal.

Thus, if tomorrow a war were to break out between the US and Russia, it is guaranteed that the US would be obliterated. At a minimum, there would no longer be an electric grid, no internet, no oil and gas pipelines, no interstate highway system, no air transportation or GPS-based navigation. Financial centers would lie in ruins. Government at every level would cease to function. US armed forces, stationed all around the globe, would no longer be resupplied. At a maximum, the entire landmass of the US would be covered by a layer of radioactive ash. We tell you this not to be alarmist, but because, based on everything we know, we are ourselves alarmed. If attacked, Russia will not back down; she will retaliate, and she will utterly annihilate the United States.

The US leadership has done everything it could to push the situation to the brink of disaster. First, its anti-Russian policies have convinced the Russian leadership that making concessions or negotiating with the West is futile. It has become apparent that the West will always support any individual, movement or government that is anti-Russian, be it tax-cheating Russian oligarchs, convicted Ukrainian war criminals, Saudi-supported Wahhabi terrorists in Chechnya or cathedral-desecrating punks in Moscow.

Now that NATO, in violation of its previous promises, has expanded right up to the Russian border, with US forces deployed in the Baltic states, within artillery range of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, the Russians have nowhere left to retreat. They will not attack; nor will they back down or surrender. The Russian leadership enjoys over 80% of popular support; the remaining 20% seems to feel that it is being too soft in opposing Western encroachment. But Russia will retaliate, and a provocation or a simple mistake could trigger a sequence of events that will end with millions of Americans dead and the US in ruins.

Unlike many Americans, who see war as an exciting, victorious foreign adventure, the Russians hate and fear war. But they are also ready for it, and they have been preparing for war for several years now. Their preparations have been most effective. Unlike the US, which squanders untold billions on dubious overpriced arms programs such as the F-35 joint task fighter, the Russians are extremely stingy with their defense rubles, getting as much as 10 times the bang for the buck compared to the bloated US defense industry. While it is true that the Russian economy has suffered from low energy prices, it is far from being in shambles, and a return to growth is expected as early as next year. Senator John McCain once called Russia “A gas station masquerading as a country.” Well, he lied. Yes, Russia is the world’s largest oil producer and second-largest oil exporter, but it is also world’s largest exporter of grain and nuclear power technology. It is as advanced and sophisticated a society as the United States. Russia’s armed forces, both conventional and nuclear, are now ready to fight, and they are more than a match for the US and NATO, especially if a war erupts anywhere near the Russian border.

But such a fight would be suicidal for all sides. We strongly believe that a conventional war in Europe runs a strong chance of turning nuclear very rapidly, and that any US/NATO nuclear strike on Russian forces or territory will automatically trigger a retaliatory Russian nuclear strike on the continental US. Contrary to irresponsible statements made by some American propagandists, American antiballistic missile systems are incapable of shielding the American people from a Russian nuclear strike. Russia has the means to strike at targets in the USA with long-range nuclear as well as conventional weapons.

The sole reason why the USA and Russia have found themselves on a collision course, instead of defusing tensions and cooperating on a wide range of international problems, is the stubborn refusal by the US leadership to accept Russia as an equal partner: Washington is dead set on being the “world leader” and the “indispensable nation,” even as its influence steadily dwindles in the wake of a string of foreign policy and military disasters such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the Ukraine. Continued American global leadership is something that neither Russia, nor China, nor most of the other countries are willing to accept. This gradual but apparent loss of power and influence has caused the US leadership to become hysterical; and it is but a small step from hysterical to suicidal. America’s political leaders need to be placed under suicide watch.

First and foremost, we are appealing to the commanders of the US Armed Forces to follow the example of Admiral William Fallon, who, when asked about a war with Iran, reportedly replied “not on my watch.” We know that you are not suicidal, and that you do not wish to die for the sake of out-of-touch imperial hubris. If possible, please tell your staff, colleagues and, especially, your civilian superiors that a war with Russia will not happen on your watch. At the very least, take that pledge yourselves, and, should the day ever come when the suicidal order is issued, refuse to execute it on the grounds that it is criminal. Remember that according to the Nuremberg Tribunal “To initiate a war of aggression… is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Since Nuremberg, “I was just following orders” is no longer a valid defense; please don’t be war criminals.

We also appeal to the American people to take peaceful but forceful action to oppose any politician or party that engages in irresponsible, provocative Russia-baiting, and that condones and supports a policy of needless confrontation with a nuclear superpower that is capable of destroying America in about an hour. Speak up, break through the barrier of mass media propaganda, and make your fellow Americans aware of the immense danger of a confrontation between Russia and the US.
There is no objective reason why US and Russia should consider each other adversaries. The current confrontation is entirely the result of the extremist views of the neoconservative cult, whose members were allowed to infiltrate the US Federal government under President Bill Clinton, and who consider any country that refuses to obey their dictates as an enemy to be crushed. Thanks to their tireless efforts, over a million innocent people have already died in the former Yugoslavia, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, the Ukraine, Yemen, Somalia and in many other countries—all because of their maniacal insistence that the USA must be a world empire, not a just a regular, normal country, and that every national leader must either bow down before them, or be overthrown. In Russia, this irresistible force has finally encountered an immovable object. They must be forced to back down before they destroy us all.

We are absolutely and categorically certain that Russia will never attack the US, nor any EU member state, that Russia is not at all interested in recreating the USSR, and that there is no “Russian threat” or “Russian aggression.” Much of Russia’s recent economic success has a lot to do with the shedding of former Soviet dependencies, allowing her to pursue a “Russia first” policy. But we are just as certain that if Russia is attacked, or even threatened with attack, she will not back down, and that the Russian leadership will not “blink.” With great sadness and a heavy heart they will do their sworn duty and unleash a nuclear barrage from which the United States will never recover. Even if the entire Russian leadership is killed in a first strike, the so-called “Dead Hand” (the “Perimetr” system) will automatically launch enough nukes to wipe the USA off the political map. We feel that it is our duty to do all we can to prevent such a catastrophe.

Evgenia Gurevich, Ph.D.
https://thesaker.ru

Victor Katsap, PhD, Sr. Scientist
NuFlare Technology America, Inc.

Andrei Kozhev

Serge Lubomudrov

Natalya Minkovskaya

Dmitry Orlov
https://cluborlov.blogspot.com

Irina Petrova, RP

The Saker (A. Raevsky)
https://thesaker.is

Tags: 

Three Herbal Articles for Spring 2016

Table of Contents

Anyone want some Arnica flowers?

Organic Farmers, would you like to sell your weeds?

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) as an understory crop in an apple orchard.


Anyone want some Arnica flowers?
 
Heart-leaved Arnica, I love ya. Arnica cordifolia’s range spans a lot of the Inland Northwest’s forests.  It is one of the most common ground covers in much of its range.  It blooms prolifically after a forest fire or prescribed burn.  It’s healing properties for humans are to help people recover from traumas.  It is an excellent pain killer topically.  Perhaps it fills a similar role in helping ecosystems recover from forest fire trauma. 
 
On May 22nd this year I went looking for arnica flowers in an area that was part of Washington State’s biggest forest fire on record (2014 Carlton Complex Fire). At one point I could see thousands of acres of burned mountainsides that were yellow with arnica blossoms.  From that one point I could see thousands of pounds of arnica flowers.  When I got on the ground I found that most of them were just past the point of prime picking.  But still, the north slopes were at the perfect stage, so it was no problem to fill my year’s orders. 
 
It made me wish I had orders for hundreds of pounds of arnica, or thousands of pounds.  It was like I could fill the entire world demand from this one point on the globe.  Of course I would have needed a big team to do it, but that might be in the works too.  My friend Terrance Meyer is starting a wildcrafter’s cooperative called the Woodland Co-op. In 2017 we could field a whole crew of arnica flower pickers. 
 
God knows the world needs some better sources of arnica flowers.  Read Michael Moore’s chapter on Arnica in his classic (Medicinal Plants of the Pacific Northwest, in it he compares the dry, brown arnica flowers that dominate the US marketplace to mattress stuffing that has had all the life sucked out of them. My dried arnica flowers have a vibrant yellow, green and white color.  I recall a conversation I had with the owner of one of the biggest herb tincture companies in the US.  He said that a large % of the arnica products made in the US were made from the plant Mexican Arnica (Heterotheces inula), which is not even a true Arnica nor does it have anywhere near the healing powers. 
 
Arnica cordifolia will have another huge bloom year in 2017. Would anyone out there in the US marketplace like to buy some of the highest quality arnica flowers from me next year?  I can ship fresh flowers or freshly dried flowers. Some of the best arnica available on the world market. 
 
I have picked millions of arnica flowers in my career so far.  I know what the perfect arnica flower looks like. Arnica flowers are composite flowers. When perfect, the yellow petals are standing stiffly at alert.  It has a compressed white pappus of flower buds not quite open in the center but the first flowerets opening on its edges.  The flower is not yet pollinated.  In flowers that are fully pollinated, the petals are starting to droop.  In the perfect stands, there are mostly flowers at the perfect stage, some unopened buds showing yellow but the ray flowers have not expanded yet, and some flowers that have been pollinated and are on the old side.  In these stands I concentrate on the perfect flowers but I also pick some of the older flowers and I pick some of the unopened buds, just to keep the mix young.  Ideally you hit a patch when almost any open flower is perfect, and very few are too old and there are still lots of unopened buds. 
 
While out there picking I reflected on the possibility that our great Arnica cordifolia could replace much of the brown, poor quality arnica on the market and replace the Mexican arnica (fake arnica) in the marketplace.  I want arnica to do its healing work in the world.  I want the world to have high quality arnica products. 
 
Let me know if you’d like some of this high quality arnica in 2017.  The 2106 harvest will be over sometime in June.
 
Arnically yours,
 
Michael Pilarski
 

Organic Farmers, would you like to sell your weeds?
 
Especially looking for sheep sorrel at the moment.
[Article by Michael Pilarski]
 
I have been harvesting weeds from farmer’s fields for 20 years and selling them to the herbal trade.
 
Depending on the situation I usually pay the farmer 10 cents on the dollar for the gross sales I make.  This is a bit high, but I like to be on good terms with the farmers.  The going rate is five cents on the dollar for wildcrafters operating on timberland such as in the “brush” ornamental foliage industry for things like sword fern, salal, red huckleberry, and Oregon-grape. Of course a huge amount of wildcrafters don’t ask permission and don’t pay any royalties. 
 
This spring I harvested 75 # of dandelion root, 45 # of dandelion leaf and 20 # of cleavers at Finn River Farm (Chimacum, Washington) for a total value of $1,222 and I will pay Finn River Farm $122.20.  I harvested 8 # of chickweed at Colinwood Farm in Port Townsend for a small order and they will get $8.
 
I once harvested a crop of horsetail weeds from a vegetable farmer’s field and I suspect the value of the horsetail would have exceeded the value of the vegetables if they harvested all the horsetail.  They were busting their butt trying to get rid of the horsetail and it was a crop that was doing great without any work. 
 
I did an analysis of the dandelion crop at Finn River Farm and the root crop was worth at least $10,000 and the leaf crop almost as much.  The flowers and crowns also have specialty markets.  Perhaps $25,000 in all IF it was all harvested and sold. The labor cost would eat up a lot of that amount but it is providing right livelihoods.  See the following link to read the whole Finn River Dandelion Report.  [CHRYS ADD LINK]
 
Of course most farmers don’t have the time and expertise to harvest and market their medicinal weeds. That is where wildcrafters like me and wildcrafter co-operatives like Woodland Harvest come into play.  We can do the harvesting, processing, marketing and shipping. You help provide us with some right livelihoods and we do some weed reduction on your place.
 
Here is a list of some of the weeds on the marketplace. 
 
Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella). The root is the prime product but the tops can be sold in some markets.  Also seed.  The roots are tiny, but the price is high.  It pays to harvest where the stands are dense and at least one year old.  Two is preferable.  I have customers who are currently out of stock and there isn’t any available on the market, so we are looking for some good stands of sheep sorrel. 
 
Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus). The root is the product.  Unfortunately most of the yellow dock on the west side of the Cascades is a washed-out, light yellow color.  The more orange the colorm the better the quality. On the east side of the Cascades on dryer sites the color can get bright orange. 
 
Burdock (Artium lappa and A. minor) Grow it on a deep heavy soil as a crop and sell it as Gobo.  I remember Glen Johnson of Mother Flight Farm on the Skagit River Delta carefully and slowly easing a two-foot gobo root out of the ground with his bare hands in the wet of winter.  Burdock roots are dug during the late fall of their first year or the early spring of the 2nd year once the leaves have appeared.  It isn’t worth digging smallish roots. 
 
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale and related species). The whole plant is medicinal and edible.  A huge array of uses and products. It isn’t worth harvesting small or medium size dandelions.  I only harvest large dandelion plants (for root or leaf).  For flower it doesn’t matter the size of the plants.  The crowns make an outstanding kimchee, but definitely the most fiddley of the parts.  It would be difficult to make it pay for dry dandelion root wholesale but worth it as a value-added product sold directly to the consumer, such as roasted dandelion root for tea. 
 
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense).  The young aerial portion is used, fresh or dried. 
 
Teasel (Dipsacus sylvestris) Teasel roots are dug during the late fall of their first year or the early spring of the 2nd year once the leaves have appeared.  It isn’t worth digging smallish roots.  It is the most famous herb for treating Lyme disease, which unfortunately is affecting more and more people over a widening area.  The Atlantic Coast and north Mississippi valley in particular. 
 
Puncture Vine, Goat Weed (Tribulus terrestris).  I hope you never get this weed but if you do, there is a market for it. 
 
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum).  More prevalent east of the Cascades than west of the Cascades.  A much-used medicinal, Harvest in early bloom. 
 
Wormwood (Artemisia absynthium).  The absinthe market is only so big but it is a big worming medicine.
 
Nettles (Urtica dioica). More of a wild edible than a farm weed, it is found on many farms in the wild areas.  I sell young shoots as food, older shoots before flowering for medicine, nettle seed and nettle root also as medicine. 
 
Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris). A small market as a medicinal.
 
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense).  While not generally regarded as a weed, it is common wild on many farms.  Red clover blossoms, properly dried, always have a ready market. 
 
White Bryony (Bryonia alba).  Rare weed found sometimes east of the cascades.  Small market.
 
Catnip (Nepeta cataria). A familiar plant to us all.  Sometimes weedy.
 
Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa). A native weedy species in some fields in the Inland Northwest. 
 
Cleavers (Galium aparine). One of our best lymph medicines. 
 
Chickweed (Stellaria media). Widely used in salves.  Harvested when in robust health and white bloom. 
 
European Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). While certainly not a field weed, the European hawthorn is a non-native plant that has naturalized widely west of the Cascades.  The flowers and fruit have a ready market.
 
Periwinkle  (Vinca minor and V. major).  Sometimes escaped wild in sizable patches. 
 
Centaury (Centaurium erythraea). A Gentian family medicinal.
 
 Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum). Major source of the heart medicine Resveritrol. 
 
If you have substantial presence of these weeds on your farm and are interested in someone wildcrafting them, let me know. Currently wildcrafting across the northern half of Washington State.
 

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)
as an understory crop in an apple orchard.
 
Report by Michael Pilarski, April 2, 2016
Friends of the Trees Society, [email protected]
 
I recently dug some dandelion root at Finn River Farm’s young, organic apple orchard outside of Chimacum, Washington on the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula.  The orchard is about 2 acres? There are 29 rows of trellised apples,  I would guess one block 3 years old and one block 5 years old..  In other words, quite a bit of light is still getting to the understory. 
 
They had planted the trees in tilled ground and generously mulched down the row with sawdust.  As a result most weeds (and grass) were suppressed, but many dandelion came through the mulch and had a perfect environment. As a result it was the best stand and largest dandelion roots I have ever encountered. The average large root was a half pound. I and a helper dug 80 pounds of roots in a combined 4 hours of digging It took another 6 combined hours to clip off the tops, prep and ship the roots. A lucrative haul. I charge $10 a pound for fresh dandelion root which is high for the trade.  You’d get a lot less money from most buyers. 
 
To do this we dug roots out of 4 rows (of the 29).  I estimate we took 20 of the root biomass in those rows since we selectively only harvested roots in the middle of the inter-tree space, so as not too cut many tree roots.  The aeration I imagine would compensate for the bit of root loss.  We are careful when digging to do the undercutting on the side of the root furthest from the tree.  I do much more extensive root digging in my agroforestry plantings with no apparent harm to the trees.  We don’t leave any holes when we dig and carefully smooth the surface.  The plants were in early bloom when we dug them.  Ideally we would have dug them just before bloom, same with leaf harvest. There is an optimum timing on this and we were a bit late, but acceptable. Bear in mind, that the severed roots will promptly send up new shoots and in 2 years time another large harvest can be made.  Dandelions can be treated as perennials even though the root is dug.  Sorta like comfrey or horseradish. 
 
If 80 # was 20% of the root in the 4 rows, that would be 400 pounds in the 4 rows or an average of 100# per row.  Mind you those were some of the best rows.  But if we conservatively say there was 60 pounds of root per row x 29 rows that = 1,740 pounds of roots out there.  If  someone had an order for 1000 pounds of fresh roots that would be a financial bonanza from a “weed” growing naturally  on the site.  No extra work involved to grow it. 
 
What are the other economic opportunities represented by this standing dandelion crop?  There were 3 # of tops for every 1 pound of root.  This week I will go and harvest a small order of fresh dandelion leaf.  I get $10 a pound for fresh green leaf.  Just the nice leaves, no flower heads or flower stems.  There are probably 1,000 pounds of nice leaves on the site.  If you had a market. There are markets for leaves both for edible and herbal uses.
 
Another little-known crop consists of the crowns which make an incredible kimchi.  Tasty and super nutritious. It is fiddly to process the crowns down to the edible cores, but the prices of value-added, dandelion kimchi would be very high.
 
The flowers make an excellent wine and the value added value of the dandelion wine you could make off that stand would be in the tns of thousands of dollars.  Perhaps the most lucrative value added amount of all the possibilities.  The flowers are also used for salads.  The flowers could also yield large amounts of honey if a bee-yard was there to take advantage of it. 
 
There is a lot better payback for fresh product then for dry product in herbs in general.  But particularly so for dandelion.  Dry down rates for both dandelion leaf and root are high. I am going to guess 8:1 and 5:1 ratio for the leaf and root dry-down rate respectively.  The root is fiddly to clean up and it would be hard to mechanize.  I would not want to g into the bulk dry dandelion root business.  Perhaps some dry leaf would give a reasonable return.
 
This is just one example of an understory crop in an orchard situation. The crop possibilities are virtually endless. Some that come to mind are red clover (for blossoms), asparagus, mints, butterbur (Petasites), comfrey (root and leaf), yarrow and many others.  I will make a list at some point. The ideal crop would not have to have any roots dug. Be a top crop only.  Be very resilient to needed management (picking and pruning). Be productive in part shade. Not get too tall so as to interfere with picking or lower apples getting light, kinda cuts out asparagus (but they do well in an older orchard where tree limbs are 4 feet off the ground.  Pick crops that have beneficial interactions with the trees, especially root exudates for feeding, nitrogen-fixation and which have a beneficial pest/predator relationship.
 
 Pick crops that make mot of their growth before tree leaf out. The dandelion re a good example as they have done almost all their work before the trees even leaf out, so are getting close to full sun.
 
 In the case of Finn River Orchard, they are tilling between the rows to keep weeds down.  This has resulted in a somewhat compacted inter-row area.  Dandelions are tilled frequently and there are very few, large dandelions there.  All the good dandelions are in the untilled area in the tree row.  Managing of understory crops in the tractor path would be much more constrained, and Finn River does have weed pressure they wish to curtail, so that is the topic of another conversation. 
 

Time will tell if Finn River Farm has the time and staff to take on making any of their dandelion crop into an income stream but the possibility is there. And it serves as an example to other orchard growers. Particularly new plantings.

Tags: 

Pages