Planting Back - giving as opposed to just taking


Thank you! I’d love to learn about some of your fav. spots up here :blue_heart::smiley:

I have a copy of the Prop. of NW Native Plants too!

also: “Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest” ~ Arthur R. Kruckenberg
“Grow Your Own Native Landscape - A Guide to Identifying, Propagating, and Landscaping with Western Washington Native Plants” from the WSU cooperative extension for Thurston Co.
and “Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest” ~ Russell Link.

so far i’m learning TONS from these books, but hope to continue adding new titles to my shelf if anyone has suggestions!

Thank you so much for your foraging list for April! I’m going to give some thought to the best locations to search in less polluted areas. (I’m in Mason Co.)…

Loving this thread!! You guys are awesome :sun_with_face:


Honestly, while there is a lot to learn from those books, I haven’t found the type of in-depth information that’s needed to truly tackle obtaining large amounts of native/wild plant foods west of the Cascades - or likely anywhere else that’s similarly developed. It was possible just 150 years ago to just harvest and plant back, but now widespread establishment is needed of tended, yet natural areas. I haven’t seen a book that really gets too far toward that goal. Its sort of like the “eat the weeds” type of books. Its fun, but can you really obtain much nutrition/calories from dandelions and chickweed?

First, more people need to become familiar with truly staple and productive native foods. They far surpass weedy exotic species in their potential to feed people. Second, more people need to prioritize managing land for both the proliferation of these species and their associated habitats. Third, more dissemination of information is needed regarding plant phenology and habitat requirements. I know people are working on that, but its an enormous task.

For example, I often find camas and harvest Brodiaea in the same locations. However, they are often in subtly different microtopographical positions with different hydrologic and disturbance regimes. Furthermore, they flower and seed at different times and they are propagated differently. But both species have the potential to reproduce exponentially (as Kat Anderson and others have reported), and both have the potential to produce huge amounts of food without major disruption to natural ecosystems. Integrating the knowledge necessary to begin seriously spreading those plants on a significant scale is something I would love to work toward. The basic information (if I remember correctly) is in Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest, but I feel like the above mentioned books just don’t take it beyond “hobby” level. (Not that they aren’t great resources, just that I feel motivated to work on this as soon as I have free time again!) :slightly_smiling:.


Sean you SERIOUSLY need to write a book on this :wink: that would be fantastic!


Seems like ethnobotany texts would help round this topic out… perhaps several different types of books are needed on the shelf to reference this type of conversation… any recommendations?


Any books by Nancy J Turner are a good start. Other books include Plants of the Pacific NW Coast by Pojar and Mackinnon (and Turner), Northwest Foraging by Douglas Deur, Discovering Wild Plants by Scofield, Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West by Michael Moore…

Keeping it Living by Turner and Deur has some ethnobotany and propagation stuff. More ethnographic than instructional though.

If you want to get really deep into plants there’s Flora of the Pacific NW by Hitchcock. I’ve always found it helpful because Pojar and Mackinnon (as people usually call Plants of the Pacific NW) is really surface level stuff for ID’ing plants and can easily become frustrating. I consider Pojar the field guide and Hitchcock the book you leave at home for plants that you took a picture or a cutting to ID at home.

Note that few of these books, if any, have Planting/Propagating guides (although NW Foraging might…I don’t have it).


Thank you so much, I really appreciate the recommendations!!! :smiley:



Cutting huge vines of ivy off of ashes and maples, cottonwoods and furs today…I counted, some of the ivy trunks took me 60 swings of my axe…they have such small growth rings too… It’s intense to realize it only takes 1 or two minutes destroy 20 + years of ivy taking over a wonderful tree.

i have decided i’m waging war and my axe will taste more invasive plant species than natives this year I want to clear 1 tree a day at least…i know this page is about planting back, i’m just wondering should i start a completely new topic if I want to talk to some of you about invasive species removal?? I feel like this is almost a more effective way for me to rewild areas because theres just no space to plant anything when theres b.s. ivy and blackberries everywhere


Good work!!! There’s an entire community of life under that ivy.


Native American Ethnobotany by Dan Moerman. He is actually in the FB group. The book is also available as a free online database.


Hey Sean, I am planning on growing wapato. What kind of container do you use? I’m thinking of using a large rubber feed trough. Also, do you just grow them in water, or do you add soil? Any info would be helpful. Thanks!


Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong with the container. Anything that is at least 18 inches deep or so will work. I use stainless steel trough-like containers. I don’t know really what they’re for - maybe for small animals? I added about a foot of soil, then have kept the water a couple of inches above that. I’m going to add more soil this year though because I was breeding mosquitoes last year :slight_smile:. My goal is to maintain the water and soil level about even. I spaced the tubers on about 8 inch centers. Within one growing year they have completely filled my three containers. I’ll probably start eating them next fall. Let me know how it goes!


Thanks Sean! I will keep you updated.


thanks Nathan! :sun_with_face:


I agree with SeanPrive… Goldenpathway…It seems like you know so much…Would you care to share what you think mother gaia tells us to do?? what should i do?

I really don’t think i’m going to listen to anybody telling me not to cut ivy…I don’t care what you think (sorry), these trees are sacred to me and others and i am chopping the big ivy trunks…Also, there is so much crap in this world to talk shit about, why so many rewilders talk shit about removing invasives???

I see a lot of complaining at rewild. Lots of don’t do this. don’t do that…I can’t even call the wilderness the wilderness anymore…What should we do??? can someone help those of us who are not as knowledgeable by clarifying what exactly we should do, instead of listing massives piles of things to not do. what are the literally physical actions of rewilding…Lots of arguments and not too much lets get it fucking done attitude…

and if planting back is something you can do to help…how do you argue against removing invasives??? if theres no room for the natives theres no room!!

I’'m chopping ivy because it something i can do… your reply about my post kind of felt condescending to me and with no answers… …Help me “learn” what i can do to help the land… as far as I’m concerned i feel like i’m wasting time here getting told what to not do… can anyone actually answer this here???


I messaged you Golden


As a moderator I would point you to the guideline of “telling your own story”. I don’t pretend to know your intentions, but to me it comes across like you have made grand prophetic declarations about others in the group, while at the same time insisting that you weren’t.


Hi, SeanPrive and Golden_Pathway. I’m a moderator too. I second Nathan’s reminder about telling our own stories here (and interpreting generously, and asking questions). I’ll add that the question of “invasive” species—what that term means to different people, how we perceive and treat “invasives,” and so forth—deserves its own thread. Golden_Pathway, would you be up for starting that thread? I’m sure a lot of folks will want to contribute to that and will be interested to hear your thoughts as well. This “Planting Back” thread just isn’t the right place for it.


p.s. Golden_Pathway, aka Erica (just found you in the introductions thread :slight_smile: ), I see you removed your comments here. I’m PMing you to make sure you get my question about perhaps opening up an “invasives” thread. Also, lots of people in this forum are interested in talking about various topics related to spirituality. You can find those conversations, or start your own, in the “spiritual technology” section:


I’ve been noticing a pleasant, yet unintended increase in native species richness in my yard as I’ve experimented with native plant salvage and extremely small scale restoration. As I’ve gathered seeds from reference locations and dug plants from threatened places, I’ve apparently had wild hitchhikers come along with me. In addition to the species I’ve grown on purpose, I’ve added:

dagger leaf rush (Juncus ensifolius)
large leaved avens (Geum macrophyllum)
Willamette Valley gumweed (Grindelia integrifolia)
fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)
Pacific aster (Symphyotrichum chilense)
Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana)
Common rush (Juncus ensifolius)
yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
And several native “weeds,” such as two species of willowherbs (Epilobium) and red maids (Calandrinia ciliata).

I never quite know where the line is between “planting back” and just engineering ecosystems. I mean, if I select all of the species that exist in a place, I want to at least make good decisions. But I also don’t really want to be in that position in the first place. My experience has been that just trying to introduce/encourage certain uncommon edible natives is having the effect of boosting the diversity of that community in ways that I could not plan for, which is nice.