Thursday, January 7, 2010

Prepper Podcast

I'd like to welcome any visitors who've come to check out Surviving the Suburbs from my recent appearance on the Prepper Podcast ...

... and I owe thanks to Matt, who invited me to chat about my suburban homestead on his show ;). It was a blast, and who would have thought that I had so much to say ...

... oh, yeah ... anyone who reads my blog. Right? *grin*

In the podcast I mentioned that I had plans to grow some apple trees against my house using a technique called espalier, which is, essentially, making the tree grow flat. It's a great small space technique for growing fruit trees. Check out the link for more information.

I also mentioned wild foragaing, because I happen to know that there is a veritable smorgasbord out there, free for the taking, if we just know what to look for, and I think it's a travesty of our times that we all think the only things we can eat are things that come from the grocery store or grow in our gardens.

The best way to learn about wild edibles is to have someone who knows show you. Unfortunately, there aren't very many people who do.

So, the next best option is to buy a book, and we have several including: The Forager's Harvest (which is probably the best all-around foraging book there is), Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide (which is a good resource, because it is divided by season), Foraging New England (which is good because it is specific to my area), and Wild Food (which I bought because it includes a section on Roadkill, the idea of which isn't necessarily appealing, but the fact that someone actually thought to write a chapter on it for a wild foraging book amused me ;).

When I first started really working toward self-sufficiency on our quarter acre, and I was planning the garden and where things would go, I was easily overwhelmed with the enormity of the project of feeding us. It's a big task to choose plants that will grow well in my area and produce enough for my entire family for the whole year.

Deus Ex Machina kept telling me that we didn't have to grow everything, but at the time, all I heard was him telling me that what I was trying to do was impossible. In fact, that's not what he was saying at all. Whether or not it is possible to grow enough food to satisfy the caloric needs of five people on a quarter acre wasn't really the issue for him.

But he just kept telling me that *I* don't have to grow *everything* we're going to want to eat.

Finally, I understood. I don't have to *grow* everything, because nature provides.

Within walking distance of my house, we have an incredible diversity of habitats from deep woods to saltmarsh, and the bounty is amazing, including blueberries, which I have tried, unsuccessfully, to cultivate on numerous occasions. There are whole fields of low bush blueberries growing wild all over this area. I don't need to waste my space trying (and failing) to grow them.

We've spent the last few years just trying to identify different plants and learn how to use/prepare them. This spring, our goal will be to actually incorporate some of these wild edibles into our regular diet.

This year, our wild foods focus will be Japanese knotweed (which is an invasive species) and fiddleheads for spring eating, and we will try, once again, to collect and preserve the acorns in the fall. We got as far as collecting them this year, and then, a squirrel decided to help himself to them while they were outside drying.

Come to think of it, though, if I don't have to grow all of the fruits and vegetables we eat, I shouldn't have to raise all of the meat, either ...

I guess, Mr. Squirrel, should be watching his back.


  1. Nice to put a voice to your image, Wendy. Good show.

  2. Thanks again for coming on the show Wendy. I hope yoour readers enjoy it!

  3. I want so much to try an espaliered pear tree! Thanks for the resource...can't wait to check it out. I've been contemplating an attempt for years even though I have room for a regular old pear tree. I still want the espaliered version. Do you know if anyone has been successful with it in Maine?

    My favorite foraging is for chanterelle mushrooms. The woods around here have them in abundance. Sadly, I've developed an allergy and can't eat them anymore. Still, I can't help going out after a warm, drenching rain to find them springing through the forest-floor confetti.