Sea Buckthorn

This is an interesting group of plants. Also called seaberry and sallow thorn, it is native to Europe and Asia and has been known and used by humans for centuries. It is mentioned in the writings of ancient Greek scholars In ancient Greece, sea-Buckthorn was known as a remedy for horse ailments. Leaves and young branches were added to the fodder. Probably due to the high protein content, higher than even alfalfa. Current research indicates an increase in immune activities and disease resistance with the use of this feed additive. The nutritional and medicinal value of sea-buckthorn is largely unknown in North America. However, its properties have been known and exploited in Eurasia for centuries. It has been used by the Russian cosmonauts for ultraviolet protection in space and as a nourishing drink by Olympic athletes. There are many stories expounding the wonderful properties of sea-buckthorn as an invigorating and nutritious product. Based on this folklore as well as scientific research, sea-buckthorn has become an important medicinal and nutritional product, especially in Russia where it is referred to as "Siberian pineapple" because of its taste and juiciness. The twigs and leaves contain 4 - 5% tannin. The leaves make an interesting tea. The branches and leaves contain bioactive substances which are used to produce an oil that is used as an ointment for treating burns.The fruit is astringent and used as a tonic. The freshly-pressed juice is used in the treatment of colds, febrile conditions, exhaustion etc. The fruit is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bioactive compounds. The carotene content ranges from 30 to 40 mg/100g of berries. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers. Sea-buckthorn is rich in proteins and free amino acids as well as many trace minerals. The juice is also a component of many cosmetic preparations such as face-creams and toothpastes. A decoction of the fruit has been used as a wash to treat skin irritation and eruptions. Seabuckthorn has been shown to have excellent erosion control and can improve the soil as it fixes nitrogen in its roots. The berries and leaves can provide food for wild life and since the berries stay on the plant for a long time, they will nourish through the winter months. The berries are too acid when raw for most peoples tastes, though most children seem to relish them Used for making fruit juice, it is high in vitamins and has an attractive aroma. It is being increasingly used in making fruit juices, especially when mixed with other fruits, because of its reputed health benefits.

It has a unique flavor, kind of between orange juice and apple juice, with the thicker texture of orange juice Sea buckthorn is a large deciduous shrub growing to a mature height of 13 to 20 ft, a spread of 15 ft, and an annual growth of 4 to 8 in. It is irregular in shape with spiny branches and has very attractive greyish green foliage. Sea buckthorn plants are very hardy and can withstand temperatures of -45 to 103 °F (-43 to 40 °C). Plantations of this shrub are long lasting (30 years and more). The trees are dioecious, meaning there are male and female plants. Only female plants produce fruit. Unfortunately, plant type cannot be determined until flowers are produced. Flowers are small, yellow and appear before the leaves. They are produced on three-year-old wood. Pollination is normally aided by wind. Flower buds are differentiated during the previous growing season, so the number of fruit produced in any one year depends on the growing conditions of the preceding year. The fruit is tightly clustered on two year old branches. Sea-buckthorn berries have attractive colors, varying from yellow, orange to red and diverse fruit shapes, from flattened spherical, cylindrical, ovate, elliptic to many irregular shapes. It can grow in arid to very wet conditions and tolerates cold winters. It does better if it receives adequate moisture either through rain fall or irrigation. Though it prefers sandy and neutral soil, sea-buckthorn survives in soils with pH values from 5-9. Sea-buckthorn prefers full sunlight and does not tolerate shade and suffers even under sparse tree cover. The six - year - old and older wood should be removed to promote vigorous growth of the shrub. The fruit is orange when ripe at the end of August/beginning of September and is very difficult to harvest. In Russia, Mongolia and Germany, thornless or nearly thornless cultivars have been bred. It is propagated by seeds sown in autumn or stratified, cuttings of ripened wood in spring, root cuttings, or suckers. The plants are affected by few diseases.


Bulbing in onions is not hastened by bending the tops over, although it does help the neck dry out. Bend over the tops after 3/4 of the tops are drying and falling over, if the soil is very wet, or if you are expecting frost.


Contrary to popular belief, bolting in lettuce, spinach and radish is not caused by warm days, but by day length. Long days trigger these plants to produce flowers, and warm weather does speed up flower production. Do not keep transplants of these crops under lights for long periods of time every day and do not plant them in a garden next to bright street lights. Removing the old outer leaves of spinach also slows down bolting.



Green False Hellebore

divide roots in autumn or spring, or sow seeds on trays of peaty soil in a cool greenhouse in spring (seeds take several months to germinate). Grow in moist semi-shade.

Also called American white hellebore, itchweed and indian poke.


sow in spring or autumn on the surface of welldrained soil in full sun; lightly pressed or water in the seeds and thin seedlings to 12 inches apart.

(Heath) Speedwell

sow in spring or divide plants in early summer, and grow in rich, fertile soil. Water freely in dry weather, and replace plants every 4-5 years. Also called fluellen.


Wild Edibles

Shepherds Purse-A slender annual that grows from 6-18 inches tall. It is a member of the mustard family and produces flat heart shaped green seed pods. These notched pods are very distinctive and almost identical to a type of purse carried by the shepherds of southern Europe. It has a slender green flower stalk that rises above a rosette of basal leaves. While it is a native to the Mediterranean, it has naturalized throughout most of the world. Since the seeds can thrive in almost any soil, it is common everywhere in the United States. Shepherds Purse makes a tasty salad, which even the most fininky people will find agreeable. The flavor is similar to that of mild watercress. The leaves can be cooked which is common throughout China. It contains calcium, phosphorus and potassium. The seeds can be collected directly from thepods and added to recipes. Native Americans used the leaves as a tea to treat dysentery. A decoction of the entire plant is used to stop bleeding. Look for this plant in early spring as it has usually matured and died by early summer.


Plant sweet fennel to attract beneficial insects like parasitic wasps and lady bugs. Then harvest the licorice-flavored seeds and leaves to use ins salads, soups and stews.



“There is no rest for the gardener.....but there is dessert.”





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