18 Comments
Apr 1, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

Thank you for write this piece. I will look for other work of yours.

Expand full comment
author

You're quite welcome Jeff!

Expand full comment
Mar 30, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

Good to know on the currants wanting shade! I've ordered a few bushes for this spring and that will help me situate them. I'm also in central VT so your info is quite helpful. Thanks!

Expand full comment
author

You're quite welcome! We actually had the tree that was shading some of our currants come down in a storm...and the currants that had thrived for years died within 2 seasons. They really need shade to thrive, which is kinda crazy...but it works.

Expand full comment
Mar 30, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

I enjoy floral jellies. For me Pomona Pectin works really well. I try to avoid regular table sugar.

Expand full comment
author

Pomona's and sure jell low sugar are perfect for those, you can even do them no sugar with those.

Expand full comment

Great ideas here! Thank you.

Expand full comment
author

You're quite welcome!

Expand full comment
Mar 29, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

So the hosta plants, that were here when we moved in, under the red cedars but definitely purchased from a nursery or garden store, these guys I can sauté and eat ? I am enamored with this concept - thank you for sharing your creativity and inspiration .

Expand full comment
author

Yup, they're delicious! They all taste a bit different, but they're best as young shoots. The flowers are really good too later in the summer.

Expand full comment
Mar 29, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

Ashley,

Love today's column. Growing in the shade is something we all deal with but it can be made to work. One perennial I have been growing for decades is Comfrey. I was given an original Bocking 14 root clump about 30 years ago. Comfrey is one of the few plant sources of Vitamin B12. It also has more protein than alfalfa. It spreads by its roots and propagating it is done by running it over with a rototiller. The leaves can be harvested and dried like tobacco. Chickens love it. I can attest that it does not cure a hangover.

Expand full comment
author

We have A LOT of comfrey, but all of ours grows in full sun. I honestly had no idea that one could grow in shade, that's great news! I also didn't know about the B12 thing.

We have an island in our pond, and we call it "comfrey island" and every time we weed out a clump of comfrey from our raised beds (which happens at least weekly all summer) it gets tossed to comfrey island to thrive. A great place to isolate those vigorous little guys (and it keeps anything nasty or thorny from taking over the island, like buckthorn).

Expand full comment
Mar 29, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

love love love the dandelion information last week and am definitely on the lookout for wild violets and lilacs for some jelly!

Expand full comment
author

Wonderful!

Expand full comment

This is so useful for me, even though we live in different continent - not much sunshine in our plot in middle of the forest either. We have the best chanterelle year ever and somehow I should find time for raspberries, blueberries, crowberries and red currant too!

Expand full comment

Quite late with this comment, but this is extremely helpful for me. This is exactly what I need for shady, unused areas.

Expand full comment

Excellent information as always...really have me thinking about shade growing fruits. For me that would be to find an area in a nearby forest preserve seldom "visited" by people. However, are deer, squirrel, birds also attracted to these fruits? I think it might be more of a feeding the wildlife than me harvesting them....but still, are these plants grown from seed? Thanks!

Also working on my raised strawberry bed.

Expand full comment
author

That's a really great idea!

For the fruits, we actually learned about many of these species simply because we found patches of them growing deep in our woods. The black currants, for example, were huge and hanging with fruit way back in the woods and the deer don't touch them. The leaves have a tannic flavor, and those tannins in black currant leaves are actually used by humans to keep pickles crisp and in winemaking...but the deer don't like them.

Good options for just random forest plots on that list include:

-Blackberries

-Black Currants, Red Currants, and other currants

-Gooseberries

-Elderberry (plants are toxic, so nothing eats them, birds get the berries though)

-Hardy Kiwi (this thing is indestructible, and nearly invasive, so watch yourself there)

-Juneberries

-Mulberry

-Nannyberry

All of these are resistant to deer, at least in terms of the plants.

As to the perennial vegetables, they'd all be absolutely annihilated by deer, as they're all tender and delicious...so I wouldn't recommend putting effort into those if you're just finding an out of the way spot deep in the woods.

Just about all of them do grow from seeds, but some of the seeds require special treatment to sprout. (Blackberries need scarification to sprout, which simulates going through a bird's digestive system. Some need cold stratification, etc). You'll want to do a bit of research on particular varieties if you're going to try that. (They all grow from cuttings really well, especially root cuttings, and that's more dependable.)

Expand full comment