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@rustingbridges replied:

tomatoes really don’t travel well

they’re one of the fruits where the supermarket variety is the supermarket variety because it survives the trip, not because they’re good

meanwhile tomato plants are really low effort. if you have favorable conditions you can do literally nothing

Where are you *finding* conditions that aren’t full of weeds and wildlife-competing-with-you-for-the-food and the occasional blight? A greenhouse?

(…actually, that might not be a bad idea. I *have* heard of people building little personal greenhouses in their backyards, and nothing keeps squirrels from taking one bite out of your mom’s tomato and walking away like a fucking *door*, right?)

Re: surviving the trip, home-grown zucchinis taste about the same but we’ve noticed the shelf life is *vastly* longer. Store-bought zucchinis start to shrivel up and go soft within a few days of bringing them home; home-grown zucchinis can sit in the fridge for several *weeks*. Makes it a lot easier to plan your meals.

Honestly, probably a good part of my problem with gardening is that, because *Mom* loves home-grown tomatoes for some fucking reason, they end up the focal point of the garden and a great deal of my gardening-related labour is thoroughly alienated: I never see the fruits *or* the vegetables of my labour.

A garden optimised for what *I* thought was most worth growing would have zero tomatoes and more garlic and zucchini, with perhaps just enough potatoes to keep in practice so that I can put potatoes in the victory garden. And probably more perennials like mulberries. And possibly mushrooms. And I would want to do a bunch of research and expert-consultation regarding which weeds are secretly edible, since anything *that* easy to grow sounds like something I should take advantage of.

(I’ve been meaning to do some more digging into how to eat dandelions. I’ve heard you can put the new greens in salads and the petals in pancake batter, but I don’t normally eat salads *or* pancakes. Can you just, like, munch on a raw dandelion flower straight-up? Can I fulfil my childhood dream of eating a pretty flower I found in the backyard?)

@larshuluk replied:

Yeah, you can just munch any part of dandelion – I often do that when I’m reading in the garden. Older leaves get bitter and shouldn’t be eaten in big amounts, and roots need cooking. Flower is just fine though.

Hell yeah!

This is another area where I like a lot of the things the communing-with-nature people are putting out but for completely different reasons. I want to know more about the natural world around me *so that I can exploit it better*. Which wildflowers can I eat? What’s the name of that one plant where when you run through a field of them it sounds like popcorn popping? Can I eat those too?!

(I never stopped wanting to stick interesting plants in my mouth: I just learned to resist it, to assume everything was poisonous until proven otherwise. And for the most part, nobody ever taught me which interesting plants I didn’t have to resist.)

Let’s get a few other cool edible / semi-edible plants out then :)

I mostly like fruits, since they are easy to identify and I don’t really have skills in identifying leaves. (So you see, I’m not an expert, don’t take this as authoritative advice! Also I’m looking up some names in a dictionary, since English is not my native language.)
Most suitable for central Europe, since that’s my location.

First: Poisoning yourself is very much a thing which can happen! Be careful!

There’s a lot of stuff which has some poison of the same strength as found in apple seeds, and that poison is removed by cooking. If you find these things on the side of the path and you snack small amounts, realistically nothing bad will happen. Cool examples:

– Elderberries
– European beech nuts (different, weaker poison. It is said the taste gets better, too, when lightly roasted. I love them as is already. Taste varies quite a bit from nut to nut, and is not very predictable from the look of it. So if you don’t like it, maybe still try a few more.)
– Rowan fruit (they’re disgusting raw, only bother if you want to cook them)

Then there’s stuff which is not commonly eaten, but can:

– ONLY THE FLESH of yew fruit. These are my favourite, they are planted in many locations, especially near graveyards. The pit is *very* toxic. I usually spit it out.
– Cornelian cherry fruit. Tastes great, take the very dark red ones.
– Blackthorn fruit. Need to be frozen before they become tasty.
– Sea-buckthorn berries. Grows on dunes near the sea, and generally on sandy ground.
– Hawthorn fruit. Taste somewhat like flour, not a great taste on its own. Take the very ripe, dark ones. Can be used to extend jam. Is often planted near fields as a hedge.

As a rule of thumb, all the stuff which grows on abandoned lots is mostly focused on settling the place *at all*, and therefore doesn’t focus much on poison. (Meaning they are great plants to *investigate* for edibility, not “just snack them, what could possibly go wrong?”)

Notably, thistles, stinging nettles, dandelions, many amaranths / pigweeds, plantains are edible both raw and cooked, including roots and flowers. Artichokes are basically thistles. Roots are hard even after cooking and don’t taste great, so I recommend not to bother. For stinging nettles and thistles, obviously remove / flatten the stingy parts before sticking them in your mouth.

Any other advice? Or tips for different regions?

(see also)

First, a postscript to the previous post:

Okay, better exploitation isn’t the *only* reason I want to know more about the nature around me. It also just bugs me to look at a plant or an insect or what-have-you and not know what it is. It feels…a lot like the feeling I get when I hear my co-workers chatting to each other in languages I don’t speak. Like I’m not a full person, missing a way of parsing the world that a person would have.

Thanks for the tips!

>>First: Poisoning yourself is very much a thing which can happen! Be careful!

I have a food-poisoning phobia and am *very* careful. That’s part of what concerns me about this whole food-security concept space, that I’m not as flexible as most people in what I’m comfortable with eating.

(On the bright side, if I *am* comfortable eating something I will happily eat it every day for years on end. I hear a lot of people worrying about the morale effects of having to resort to a repetitive diet in times of crisis, and I really don’t think that will be a problem for me.)

I did a bit of googling and there do seem to be some local homesteads-and-the-like in my area offering classes and advice to people who want more self-sufficiency. They’re intensely Living in Harmony with Nature types, but even with some clashing values I expect there’s still much to be gained by learning what they have to teach.

@rustingbridges: >>idk about potatos specifically but I think durable transportable stuff like potatos and onions is the relative advantage of actual farmers. relative to growing fragile vegetables that kind of thing is probably only worth doing to the extent you’re having fun with it

Like I said, the point would be to keep in practice. Potatoes are among the worse things to grow in a regular garden (because you could have just skipped all the bullshit and bought a 10lb bag at the grocery store for like $3 instead), but one of the best things to grow in a victory garden (high calorie-density, stores well, quite a few nutrients).

(…I should probably clarify that I’m using “victory garden” broadly: the disaster-fucking-with-access-to-groceries need not be a *war* specifically.)

Certainly this makes potatoes a lower priority: one would probably not need to grow them in particularly large or frequent quantities under normal circumstances. Indeed, I have enough other safety-net holes to patch that it’s likely not *currently* worth doing at all, completely crowded out by more important tasks.

@florescent–luminescence: >>We also had a lot of Critters come sample the garden.

Yeah. That’s almost always been a major problem for us, and it was *especially* bad in 2020. We’re definitely going to have to look further into physical barriers: greenhouses maybe, but at least some sort of cage.


#reply via reblog #gardening #food #poison cw #in which Brin has a food poisoning phobia #the more you know #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers #apocalypse cw? #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see

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