Wildcrafting for Edibles to Supplement Your Geodesic Greenhouse

Wildcrafting for Edibles to Supplement Your Geodesic Greenhouse

geodesic garden dome

On the West Coast of North America, wherever Europeans settled, we disturbed the soil by cutting down trees, building structures (like houses, barns and greenhouses, geodesic or otherwise) and tilling the earth to plant our favourite seeds. This created the ideal environment for opportunistic pioneer plants, both native and introduced, to sprout up and do their job.

The task of opportunistic pioneer species is to grow quickly with little or no fungal support and to keep the ground covered. When the earth is exposed to sun and air, many beneficial microbes and fungi die off and water-soluble nutrients are rapidly washed away. Vigorous plants that grow well in disturbed soil provide the very first protection for the whole dark, moist, soil ecosystem below.

Both annual and perennial plants drop dead leaves which add humus to the soil. They provide food and homes for various herbivores, from insects to ungulates. Through their extensive root systems, they also accumulate minerals in their leaves, which are passed on to the succeeding generation of plants. Each community of plants nurtures the next as the energy and nutrients are repeatedly recycled.

Biodoe photosythisis

Plants are the original solar-powered carbon sequestration system: they use the energy of the sun to convert carbon and hydrogen from the air into stored carbohydrates (not to be confused with hydrocarbons, which are carbohydrates that have been compressed and stored for several million years). Carbohydrates fuel the world, either directly for those who eat plants, or indirectly for those who eat something that ate the plants, or very indirectly (see hydrocarbons). Some foods, such as leafy greens, take more energy to find, prepare and digest than the food gives back. Often these foods are still important in our diet because they are high in nutrients, fibre, or medicine. Other foods, like honey, animal fat or potatoes, are very energy dense and give back a lot more energy than it took to acquire them.

When I am wildcrafting around the Eden Biodome, most species I find are nutritious or medicinal, but not energy dense. Some common introduced pioneer species are traditional medicinal herbs. Ribbed Plantain and Chickweed make excellent poultices for scrapes and scratches. Dock and Dandelion are good spring tonics with high mineral content sucked up by their deep tap roots. Miner’s Lettuce and Chickweed leaves are tasty salad plants. The tangy wild Sheep Sorrel has a distinctive arrow shaped leaf and a stem of tiny reddish flowers. Clover, Vetch and Ox Eye Daisy flowers are also edible. Even thistles have edible stems after the prickles are removed.

Mixed in with these European pioneer plants (weeds), there are several native plants that like a similar habitat and are worth taking note of. Pineapple Weed or Wild Chamomile has an edible flower and also makes a nice tea. Yerba Buena is another great tea herb. Self-Heal and Yarrow have pretty flowers and are well known for their medicinal properties in treating cuts and scrapes. Trailing Blackberry, Oregon Grape and Salal bushes all provide anti-oxidant rich berries.

Most backyard and garden weeds are beneficial pioneer species that can be harvested and used for food or medicine. They grow prolifically in the right conditions and will also persist with little or no care. Some of these plants are even related to familiar garden plants. So look around your land and see what’s sprouting. Eden is all around the Biodome as well as inside it!

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Biodome Gardening and Food Security

 Biodome Gardening and Food Security

Biofurnace chicken coop

Biofurnace chicken coop

Food security has many facets. It is easy to see that we are generally over-dependant on food shipped in from all over the earth (grapes from South America in January; apples from New Zealand in July; dates from Iran and almost any kind of food from California). It is also easy to see that this makes us vulnerable to supply line disruption and extreme weather events in other places.

At the same time, having access to an incredibly diverse range of fresh and preserved foods at all times is one of the great luxuries of the modern industrial world. We are fortunate indeed to be able to buy the ingredients for a Greek Salad in February or pull a bag of frozen strawberries out of the freezer at any time of year.

We are now living in a world that will likely have more and more unusual weather events and where we must consciously reduce the amount of fossil fuels we burn. Simultaneously, more and more people are discovering the delicious and healthy reality of fresh-picked produce and the satisfaction of having nurtured their food from seed to table.

I am certainly not suggesting that we should stop shopping at supermarkets and only live on potatoes and kale grown in our back yards, although you are welcome to give it a try. What I advocate is becoming more aware of the history of our food (like Barbara Kingsolver documents in her terrific book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle). By becoming more intimately involved with where our food comes from, we gain an appreciation for the miraculous life-support network that we are all a part of.

It radically changes your view of food to shift from buying a sealed plastic bag of identical thumb-sized orange cylinders off the shelf at a supermarket, to pulling your first carrots of the year out of the damp earth, putting the green tops back in the compost, and immediately crunching on the roots.

Growing our own food, even just a few tomato plants, helps us share with growers around the world the uncertainties of pests and weather, and the joys of abundant harvest after days or weeks of patient waiting. If you grow fruit trees, it may even be a few years before your care and attention are rewarded with a sweet harvest. Planting trees and gardens is an exercise in optimism. Many perennial food plants take a long time to reach full production, but will continue to provide food for generations.

To pursue food security involves some insecurity. There is a chance that the crop will fail and then you won’t get to eat those delicious foods you were anticipating. (Thank goodness there’s still a supermarket to fall back on!) On the other hand, there is an equally good chance that the crop will be so abundant that you will have to study food preservation techniques or risk losing some friends due to an embarrassing need to give away excessive amounts of fresh produce.

Nature may be “red in tooth and claw” where carnivores are concerned, but it is also red in berry and fruit, and green in leaf and stem. Once you start growing food, you may never stop!

 

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BIODOME REVOLUTION: Reloaded!

BIODOME REVOLUTION: Reloaded!

banana trees biodome

 

Here is the Biodome Revolution: Reloaded geodesic greenhouse test lab. Using our revolutionary hub system I built the above greenhouse three years ago and have been testing all kinds of things since then.

If you would like to learn more simply sign up for the Biodome Revolution Webinar using this link: Biodome Revolution Webinar: How to Become Food Secure, Make Money and Help Make a Better Planet

In the webinar my friend Kacper and I cover off a ton of amazing content including:

  • How to design and build your own geodesic greenhouse
  • What to watch for when dealing with nosy building inspectors
  • How to become food secure during these uncertain times
  • Using your Biodome Greenhouse to make money (without growing veggies)
  • Why having a backyard food factory is the best insurance policy you can get
  • What top scientists are not telling us about the impact of global climate change
  • and a ton more.

To reserve a seat follow the link Biodome Revolution Webinar: How to Become Food Secure, Make Money and Help Make a Better Planet and enjoy the presentation!

To your success!

Sasha

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Geodesic Cabin Concept

Geodesic Cabin Concept

I just had to share this idea that I just got from Elliander in a comment.

“Thinking further ahead though: The world’s largest Geodesic domes are, if I recall correctly, in Singapore and measure 38 meters tall from ground level. They use water as the primary temperature control mechanism, but I would be very curious to see what would happen if you had a giant dome like that that also goes as deep as it goes tall. Imagine, for example, a mile wide dome set into the side of a mountain. If you used waterfalls on the perimeter and had the water go down a bit below ground level that would help as an energy store drawing the heat of the into the water while reflecting light back at the plants for better illumination and would also act as a cold sink. The total area would be just under 22 and a half acres and you would have a height of around 250 feet. The waterfalls would help catalyze cloud formation and it would be tall enough for the tallest trees in the world to thrive. You could easily have entrances to housing between waterfall segments and at that far down there would be no heating or cooling issues. Variations in day length could be adjusted for with LED lighting in the dome itself powered by wind systems. How cool would it be to have a tropical forest anywhere you could find wind and sun? (italics mine)”

The whole idea of a geodesic cabin combo got me so excited I whipped one up!

Here it is please let me know what you think and share comments.cabin_dome

The crafty Swedes have done this even more aggressively by wrapping the whole house in a greenhouse. Cuts heating costs by 50% and gives way more flex space. I thought the geodesic biodome backyard had more punch though!

Posted in Other Dome Types | 2 Comments