Wild Crafting is the art of harvesting and using natural wild grown plants for medicinal purposes or for consumption. I have done a few posts on herbs that I grow in my garden. Today I decided t talk about how I use some herbs that I gather from the woods.
There are few things that are important in order to wild craft safely and respectfully. The first thing you need to do is to make sure you can absolutely identify the plants you are using. It is always a goo idea to ask an expert if you are unsure. There are a lot of look alike plants in the natural world and some are very poisonous. So be absolutely sure in your identification of the plants you are picking.Make sure you are only harvesting from areas that have not been treated with chemicals, such as fertilizers and pesticides.
It is important to pick on your own property or only on property that you have gotten permission to be on and to harvest on. You don’t want to be in trouble for trespassing or vandalizing others property. Sate and municipal owned parks and land usually do not like people removing flora life from their land, so avoiding these areas is a good idea, too.
It is equally important to protect and respect the plants and the environment when harvesting. You need to realize that you can upset the ecosystem in an areas if you over harvest one area. The other animals, insects and plants can be affected if you erraticate and entire area of one type of plant. Plus, then it will not regrow for you to use in the future. It is a good rule of thumb to never harvest more than 10% of any particular plant in one area. That way it can still sustain itself. If you really want to help you can save the seeds and return them to the area that you harvested from to reassure new growth.
How you harvest and where you harvest is important , but also so is when you harvest your plants.
Leaves should be harvested in the mid morning, after they are dry of the dew and before the sun is high in the sky. This is when the oils in the eaves are the strongest. Leaves should be harvested before of after the flowering season of the plant. During flowering season the plant needs the leaves to feed the flowers and reproduce.
Flowers should be harvested in the afternoon when the sun is high in the sky and the flowers are at full bloom. Any seeds that can be saved from the flowers should be returned to the area to help assure reproduction the following year.
Roots are best harvested in the fall after the plant itself starts to die off for the winter. All the energy and nutrients then goes down in the roots to be stored for the next spring. This is when the roots are the most nutritious.
OK, now we have covered the how of harvesting wild plant for consumption and medical purposes. But I am sure you are wondering what types of plants can I harvest and use safely. There are actually tons of edible wild plants. So I have decided to do a series of posts. Every Wednesday I will do a Wild Edible Wednesday Post about a different edible wild plant or wild plant that can be harvested for medical purposes. So stay tuned for our first one tomorrow.