To forage or not to forage?

Another section by popular demand. If you want to talk about anything else that grows that is not livestock, herbs, fruit or vegetables here it goes.
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A selfsufficientish Regular
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To forage or not to forage?

Post: # 261032Post oldjerry »

Stupid question really,but the other day I saw a sort of banner(properly printed,so someone had spent some money) hanging oer a fence near Leominster saying '' PLEASE DONT PICK THE WILDFLOWERS OR PLANTS, LEAVE THEM FOR OTHERS TO ENJOY''
I've heard quite a few people express similar sentiments recently and given the influx of people into this area not all of whom have a lot of experience of living in the country,it doesn't take huge leap of imagination to see this becoming a problem.

Now all you serious foragers(I just grab bits I fancy when I see them) will be fully up to speed with various Acts of Parliament,bye-laws etc.But it wouldn't take much for 'Save Our Local Enviroment' thing to have a bash at people foraging.It wasn't so long ago that there were movements around with a view to banning fishing.Maybe us foragers should be a bit more pro-active...................or maybe I'm just paranoid..

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Re: To forage or not to forage?

Post: # 261034Post Green Aura »

I know what you mean, OJ. But I do worry a bit about bandwagon foragers (it's trendy therefore I forage) going home with basketfuls of stuff that they'll probably never use. So it ends up in the bin and they've picked the countryside bare.

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Re: To forage or not to forage?

Post: # 261036Post Pumpkin&Piglet »

I was totally guilty of this a week or two ago. It's not very extreme as I'll explain but the majority of what I foraged ended up in my compost bin so it might not hurt to try and educate ourselves a little before we forage (those of us who are new anyway!)

Our village is/was covered in dandelions - absolutely covered. i went out picking with my husband and our boys and we have a wonderful time. We've made dandelion wine but I had never done it before and had no idea how much I would need so we picked as many as could. I got home and had plenty and a lot left over.

I was sad to see all our hard work go onto the compost bin and waste all the dandelions but I just didn't need them. I wanted to make jelly but they didn't keep very well until I got round to sorting it all out. There were/are still an abundance of dandelions in the village and I know people consider them weeds but I do think the principal is still there.

I've nothing against foraging and do a it myself but I can see the point being made about allowing others to enjoy the countryside so there ought to perhaps be some guidelines to keep it all 'fair?'

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Re: To forage or not to forage?

Post: # 261040Post Thomzo »

P&P - you can freeze dandelion petals. Just pull them away from the green bits, pop them in a tub and freeze until you need them.

I don't think anybody will mind if you've picked a few too many dandelions.

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Re: To forage or not to forage?

Post: # 261454Post donegalwildman »

I suppose it's a matter of balance and judgement. Apart from the legal issues (local bye-laws can cover removal of wildlife, or interference with wildlife), we need to differentiate between removal of a whole plant or just part of a plant.

Removing some flowers will generally not interfere with the overall reproduction of a population: each individual makes much more pollen or seeds than will be required to maintain a local population. Removal of whole plants will generally be illegal and probably ill-advised anyway, since many (although not all!) plants have specific habitat requirements which will make transplantation unsuccessful.

Another aspect which needs to be aired is that of dependant wildlife. Many species of insect depend on specific plants for food. Sometimes it's leaves, other times roots, but sometimes it's the flowers or seeds. The Orange Tip butterfly uses Cardamine pratensis (Cuckoo flower, Milkmaids, Ladys smock are some common names) as the sole foodplant on my patch, and the eggs are laid behind the flower, where the seedpod will develop. The other day I saw a small girl with every single specimen of Cardamine from 100 metres of hedgerow clutched into a nice posy. That's the end of Orange Tip butterflies in that area for another year.

I forage for fungi, fruits, flowers and leaves, but I always sample a population, leaving many more than I take. Ditto for e.g. lichens which I use for dyeing.

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