You'll find references throughout this blog on harvesting wild plants. I couldn't afford what I have accomplished if I was not doing this, and I am interested in learning about and using mostly native plants. However I always try and and follow these guidelines from plant-talk.org:
"Wild collection of plant resources shall be conducted at a scale and rate and in a manner that maintains populations and species over the long term."
Most of the info I have found on the web relates to the global practice of harvesting medicinal plants, but the general thinking about sustainability and permission still applies. If you know of any sites for less commercial harvesting, please let me know.
Aside from the above, I also try and follow the practices below:
- dig up plenty of earth around the roots
- don't keep them out of the ground for too long before planting again
- pre-dig your holes if possible, it can be easy to forget how much work the re-planting can be, (often more work that the original harvesting) if you are planting back on the forest floor full of roots and twigs and stones
- watering quickly afterwards and more than usual for the fist while
- try and replicate the environment as much as possible
- regarding leaving mature plants to carry on, I don't take more than 25% from any specific grouping
I take as much as possible from the side of the road where it would get mowed down by the municipality. The ditches at the side of the highway/road have lovely ferns, buttercups, asters, jack-in-the-pulpit, even small evergreen trees that will one day surely meet their demise unless I save them and bring them home.
This is a pic of me coming back from a harvesting trip earlier this spring. Those evergreens were all either overcrowded or at the side of the road where they will eventually get mowed down, or both. The ferns were from a ditch at the side of the road that the municipality regularly trims back.