[NAFEX] Best edible plants in Zone 5 rain garden?

Mathew Waehner waehner at gmail.com
Wed Feb 17 11:47:20 EST 2010


Groundnut (apois americana) is a fast growing vine that lives in
bottomlands.  It produces starchy tubers, edible seeds, and fixes nitrogen.
It has pretty flowers, but might get a bit too large for a home rain
garden.  It climbs other trees.

Arrowroot (wapato) was a native american staple food that could grow well in
the bottom part of a rain garden.  Although we sometimes think if it as an
aquatic plant, it grows well in soil that in only periodically flooded.  It
might need supplemental water during a drought.

I'm not in a climate where I can grow cranberries, but I think they would
thrive in zone 5.  They are similar to blueberries, except that they
tolerate being completely underwater for a few days at a time.

Mulberries love to grow on steep creek banks, with their trunk sticking out
horizontally just above the normal high water line.  They grow incredibly
fast and produce lots of fruit.  They are unpopular in residential
landscapes because they lead to purple bird poo on everyone's car.  I like
planing mulberries, because I feel that in an indirect way *I'm* pooping on
all those cars.





On Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 11:19 AM, Matt Demmon <mdemmon at gmail.com> wrote:

> Elderberry. American black currant (not a heavy producer). Hazelnut
> will do just fine, the native species is often growing in certain
> wetlands or right at the edge of rivers.
>
> I would think pawpaw would be just fine with flooding. I've actually
> seen them growing in the floodplain at Aman park near Grand Rapids, in
> the understory of sycamore and silver maple.
>
> Most rain gardens, especially once the plant roots go down and aerate
> the soil during the first year, do not hold water for long. Only if
> the soil is very heavy clay or the water table is already high would
> they hold water for that long. Young plants are most susceptible to
> flooding death.
>
> On 2/16/10, Douglas Woodard <dwoodard at becon.org> wrote:
> > A lady in Grand Rapids, Michigan has written to a permaculture list
> > inquiring about edible plants suited for an area that is subject to
> > flooding in, I gather, thunderstorms, torrential rains etc.
> >
> > I've thought of suggesting nannyberry, Aronia (for juice), groundnut and
> > spicebush (I've heard of a gourmet chef using the fruit in a kind of
> > relish).
> >
> > I wonder if pawpaw and just maybe northern pecan might suit. I gather
> > that they are bottomland plants. Can they tolerate occasional short-term
> > flooding when in active growth? Does anyone have any suggestive
> experience?
> >
> > Other suggestions welcome.
> >
> > Doug Woodard
> > St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
> >
> > **********
> >
> > Joan  wrote:
> >> Many residential and organizational property owners in our area are
> >> planting
> >> rain gardens, mainly with native ornamental plants. Can anyone recommend
> >> (native) edible perennials that would do well in a rain garden in Zone 5
> >> (hardy to -20 F)? As I understand it, rain gardens sometimes hold water
> >> for
> >> up to 48 hours in their deepest sections, so I'd also like to know
> whether
> >> recommended edibles can take standing water for two days or whether they
> >> should be planted more toward the rain garden edges.
> >>
> >> Grand Rapids, MI  USDA zone 5
> >>
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