How to Be a Woodland Gardener

Woodland gardening is a natural progression from the fusion of recreation (hiking and biking, mostly) casual, woodland gathering, and guerrilla gardening . The progression is usually from gathering, to foraging, picking, harvesting, reaping, and gleaning (to "I want to make the world a better place"), although any could be skipped, depending upon time of year, knowledge of the area, and individual desires and inclination. Although all of these can be done casually, in a woodland setting, many are not, on any scale; at least in a small, but significant part of the world, that is. While four or five of those sound the same, they are sufficiently different to each warrant their own attention, although that is not in the scope of this article.

Casual gardening can include any of these, but usually does not include foraging in the sense that the word is generally defined, and usually alters the word "gleaning" to more like "seeding". Casual gardening is never intensive, except in an indirect sense, that of concentration on a generally small (by current usual practices, vanishingly microscopic) area, that has shown a natural inclination to propagation of a certain flora that may be directly consumed or otherwise exploited, cultivated in their natural setting. Casual woodland gardening is quite a few things, but it is never monoculture; which presents challenges, along with the amazing benefits . Monoculture is drudgery; casual gardening is cultivating fauna where you find it -- it's a free lunch; in a couple of years, for sure.


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    Recreate, in places of concentrated fauna. If you try this in the city, instead of the woods, it won't be near as casual, because asparagus just doesn't naturally grow much in cities. Go figure.
    • This is mentioned, however, to bring up a point; plants are hardy, and life-bearing; and even right in a city, there are opportunities for "casual harvesting".
      1. There are guides to resource for engaging in casual gardening within a 20 mile (32 km) radius, surely, of most cities, but they don't call them that, and you will be starting with recreating, and enjoying yourself; a day away from your cares.

        If you happen to accidentally gather a mushroom, or pick a few "I wonder if they're edibles", so much the better, you're already ahead of the game; you can continue recreating, pretty much however you desire, and bring the I wonder's home to the book; or maybe recreating is bringing the book, for you--that works, too. Kind of an apropos word here.

        Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.
        - George Carlin
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    Look; there is something to eat! What's on the menu varies with the knowledge of the re-creator more than the season, and location, and even desire; they might be starving right next to some lifesaving starch, or uninterested in harvesting curlytenders from trees.
    • You are surely less than 20 miles (32 km) from this, probably less than 3; but you are taking something out of the freezer, and putting it into the microwave; eating broken food.
    • While the harvest will be small here, the first season, if you cultivate what you find, right where it is, you will be impressed the second year, and amazed, the third -- with a bit more cultivation in year 2.

      This has to be because you are setting yourself up for success; who hasn't poured a lot of love and time into a failed veggie in a garden? (lots of people, that's who hasn't).
    • You may never know how many bushels you can get from completely uncultivated trees, or how delicious pickled curlytenders are; you can't buy them, for any amount of money; not even ours. You might consider that -- no amount of money for a quart of pickles?
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    Encourage growth where you find it desirable to do so. Casual farming, while it may sound like a failed hippie experiment, involves some cultivation; directed by the particular fauna and it's current habitat, as differentiated from it's ideal habitat; meaning, you may not wish to cultivate a particular plant in it's current spot, having knowledge of where a patch of this stuff thrives, and knowledge of a similar habitat where there happen to be none, that your "poor castings" could take over and thrive in, too; or more often just loosening soil in spring, minor pruning in the fall, etc. of a certain patch. We have learned to dig a little ditch for water to get to a berry patch about 50 yards (45.7 m) from the creek every May (it always disappears by the next year). This would naturally, yet casually lend itself to some amount of work, an hour's labor, possibly (before lunch, a nap, and the last big incline).
    • Casual Gardening can yield a diverse, bountiful crop (the word "crop", to most of us now, has to do with "images"), especially over time, and particularly over some distances, and should not be confused with gardening, which usually involves cultivation of alien seeds in a squared bed, or foraging, which is usually more intensive, but also yields more local knowledge.
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    Recognize that even a "garden" is somewhat of a concession. Maybe a fairly large concession. It may also be a source of great good, on many levels; as relaxation, for fulfillment, and "fillment".
    • That still does not betray the fact that concessions were made, of a nature you may not fully comprehend; or need to. Suffice it to say that, at the very least, you are planting seeds that are going to be completely unfamiliar with the soil you are putting them in; unless, of course, as is most normal nowadays, you have bought the genetically engineered seeds from a seed mill, and the fertilizer/mulch from their affiliate.

      More broken food.Now do you see where there might be some room here for an incidental harvest?

      If a 1/4 acre garden is the most intensive use of the land, and even 1/2 of your food comes from there, you will be halfway home.

      You are what you eat; or at least, you were. anonymous

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Categories: Gardening | Outdoor Recreation