Foraging can be a great way to reap the benefits of protecting your soil and water resources. There can be wild edible plants as close as in your own backyard, if you know what to look for. Foraging and cooking can be great ways to not only connect with your natural environment, but also to connect with people around you.
Part of the quest for soil protection is to keep it covered with a diversity of plant life. Planting edible varieties may be a way to enhance your land use--just make sure you aren't planting invasives! Some examples of Indiana edible natives to plant for next year include nut bearing trees like walnut, hickory, and black raspberry.
Even though it's late in the season there are still some species waiting to be harvested! One example is Hawthorne. Hawthorne trees produce small red berries called haws. When you go to harvest your haws check for the overall health of the tree and signs of Cedar-Hawthorne Rust.
Remember: Harvesting or ingesting the wrong species of plants can have dire consequences, which is why experts suggest that you identify a plant based on three separate characteristics. Verify AT LEAST THREE between the fruit, stem, bark, flower, root, leaves, etc. Check here for an identification guide, and remember:
Never ingest or handle any type of wild plant without being certain you know what it is. If you have any doubt, LEAVE IT OUT!
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