10 April 2015
Wildcrafting is fun and exciting, a bit like a treasure hunt. You'll come home with lots of fresh, edible and medicinal treasures from your bioregion. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Start with a few easily recognized plants, and get to know new plants slowly.
2. Study the poisonous plants that grow in your area, and always know whether the plant you're harvesting has any poisonous look-alikes.
3. Always be sure you have identified a plant correctly, either through the use of a field guide or an experienced harvester.
4. Give your full attention to your task; its easy to make mistakes if you're distracted.
5. Some plants have parts that are edible and parts that are toxic (example: violet), and some plants have parts that are edible at certain times of the year but toxic at others (example: pokeweed.) Make sure you know which part to use and when to harvest it.
6. Return often to your harvesting sites, to get to know the plants at different phases of their lifecycle.
7. Avoid areas that are likely to be sprayed, for example around train tracks, golf courses, and weedless yards. Don't gather within 50 feet from a busy road, especially downhill from one.
8. A good rule of thumb is to harvest up to a third of a given patch. Learn which plants are endangered in your area and avoid harvesting them altogether.
9. Ask the plant for permission to harvest. Listen intuitively for guidance from your green ally.
10. As with all foods, some plants will not agree with certain people. Start with small amounts of any wild food that is new to you.
11. Ask permission before harvesting on someone else's property.
Special thanks to Jessica Godino