Wetland non-food crops

rick valley bamboogrove at cmug.com
Thu Jan 4 23:37:43 EST 2001

So- once again: I'm looking at designing a network of trails and swales
across a slope; linear wetlands. I'm looking for design ideas and actual
experiences. Zone 3 type crop systems, guild ideas, that kind of thing,
rather than just species to try. USDA zone 7, but cool summers- low heat
units, droughty summers. Main native wetland crops here were wapato and
camas; (and if you ain't had lower Columbia wapato, you ain't had Sagittaria,
it's delicious) 
F'rinstance- if you're into basket willows, have you ever polycultured them,
and with what species? do you favor coppicing or pollarding and why? What
tricks have you used for establishment and weed control? How do you market
your harvest? What "value added" things are you doing with 'em?

Sharon Gordon's reply to my posting  asking for experiences with wetland
non-food crops, with my replies, follows:

>The Real Goods store in Hopland,CA has an area like this in their
>demonstration garden, but I can't remember what all they have
>in there.
Ahh- another reason for a visit. But d'ya know if they are harvesting?

>Two other things strategies I can think of to try would be searching
>through the Native American Ethnobotany online database for interesting
>ideas and searching through the Plants for a Future online data base. 

once again; I'm not after species so much as HOW to design it for function;
I'm looking for people's experiences. Now, info like how native Americans
managed a species, that's good; I've seen some good stuff in "Before the
Wilderness, Ecological Management by Native Californians" (Blackburn and

I know and have purchased or bought from all of these folks; I recommend them

>For Willow information and plant cuttings:
>American Willow Growers Network
>Bonnie Gale
>412 Country Road 31
>Norwich NY 13815
>Closest willow nurseries to you that I know of are
>1) Colvos Creek
>in Vashon Island, WA
>colvoscreek at juno.com 206-749-9508
>2) Forestfarm
>    in Williams OR
>     forestfarm at a1pro.net 541-846-7269
>3) Japonica Water Gardens
>     Springfield, OR
>      541-746-5378
>What about water plants for food or fertilizer?
ohh yeah- I intend to test alder species to find the best swamp-type
coppiceable one for his area; I have lots of red alder, but it's too damn big
sometimes, although I use it alot.
>Water lilies
>for sale to people wanting to stock ponds?
> Fish to eat or
>look at depending on where you are on the food spectrum?

my land is too steep and not enough water; at times things will be a bit
partched. I will hopefully have a couple small ponds, one dedicated to
primate immersion, and perhaps some Oregon chub, an endangered top minnow.

>Water chestnuts.
too cold in winter and too mild in summer.

>Daylilies at the margin.  Also tasty.  Lots of recipes in the Delightful
>Delicious Daylily by Peter Gail.

I have a collection, incl. ones selected for flavor; if anyone else is
evaluating daylily varieties for flavor, let's talk.

>Or mushroom compost or logs above water on platforms or pseudo
>trees(trunk structure with removable logs)?

I have always had pitiful luck with fungi, spent hundreds of dollars on all
sorts of spawn, 0 success. I'll get mine in the woods.

>There are american river canes which are very straight that primitive 
>like to use to make arrows, again depending on your food choices.

And baskets; Arundinaria gigantea is the name, canebrake bamboo, I have 3
clones I propagate. It is one of the better wetland bamboos for this climate.

>And there are also water plants that they like to use to make other
>things.  See nativetech.com for some things or ask on the
>Primitive Technology list:
>SUBSCRIBE primitive-skills-group
>to the address
>majordomo at uqac.uquebec.ca

Sounds good- thanks! 

Rick Valley Northern Groves 
PO Box 1236, Philomath, OR 97370 
Mobile-(541)602-1315, hm.& msg. (541)456-4364  Bamboo catalog $3 or at 
"Useful Bamboos and other plants‹ Permaculture education‹ Ecological design &
consultation centering on water,landform and horticultural systems"

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