R. Ann Parris on Grow Anywhere With Wild Edibles


Grow Anywhere With Wild Edibles by R. Ann Parris

While we may line up here and there in our daily lives, for the most part, we’re all different. We live in different settings from type of home and composition of family to environment. That can make it hard to sift through advice — so much of it is geared to either the average majority or a select niche group.

Not so this time. This time, it’s for anyone.

We won’t all apply it the same way, but it’s applicable across the board: Seeding wild edibles can help ensure fresh foods and in some cases herbs, no matter what may come.

There’s a whole host of reasons why wild edibles are particularly useful for preppers.

They give us:
– Food production hidden in plain sight
– Weeds grow like, well, weeds. That gives us…
– Disease/pest resistance (vs. domestic crops)
– Climate/environment resistance & vigor
– Early and late season veggies/greens
– Wide seasonal availability
– Regularly, fast production
– Weeds that are useful instead of just aggravating to deal with or eyesores
– Regularly, native plants that encourage beneficial wildlife & insects

People in cities and ‘burbs may have to get extra creative.

It’s liable to be even tougher than the prepper who has to try to convince a parent/child/spouse/partner to please not Roundup/nuke the chickweed and dandelion they just seeded through the lawn. But, it can be done.

I lived in a condo between two major metropolises, HOA and all. I lived in military barracks on Marine Corps bases, which is not unlike having a studio apartment that usually has a window but not always a useful one (with and without a roommate … or five). It is not just conjecture. It can be done.

For people in those particular settings, even in urban scales with tiny squares in the sidewalk for trees and shrubs, not even sidewalk strips, and with very few remaining patches of mulched shrubs and trees at entryways and very few remaining storefront boxes, you’ll approach it two ways. You’ll tighten up to your immediate dwelling space, and you’ll expand out along the bus route and to any available parks.

All of us can also routinely find those construction sites where things get stalled, stopped, or sit undone for months and years, or even just where things take forever due to the scale. Those are particularly viable for winging some seed bombs or seed disks — ordered or made at home — and moving along.

We can also hide in fairly common houseplants.

It’s not just growing domestic vegetables or herbs indoors. A number of ornamental plants are actually food plants elsewhere, domestic or foraged. They fly entirely under the radar, from pixie grape and roselle, to false shamrock and taro (elephant ear), to the mini citrus and tea trees.

Our houseplants are predominantly veggies so they’re not calorie staples, and yields will be small versus outdoor spaces, but it can expand our options and add needed variety and nutrients. It also gets us started on the path of being a producer.

What we seed bomb & transplant will be different.

That’s due to our varying climates, and the differences between the urban, suburban, and rural landscapes and private vs. public property.

There is stuff I’m comfortable pulling off in a white hardhat and orange high-vis vest even in public spaces like county parks, powerline cuts, and active construction sites, because I can talk the talk, am comfortable projecting confidence without challenge, and have worked those sites often enough not to catch eyes due to unsafe behavior. We have to figure out our own comfort and ability levels. Start small and work bigger as that confidence and skill grows, too.

Super important: Be careful not to seed, transplant or accidentally carry invasives and disease-carrying or vector plants into new habitats!

We’ll also want to consider what wild edibles we’re sourcing, propagating, or relocating based on how likely it is to escape attention of others.

Big trees and mid-size shrubs, emergent and marginal water plants large and small, right down to yard “weeds” that we mow or step over in cracks in the sidewalk, the options are pretty endless. So are some the benefits, whether we’re city folk or cultivating acres.