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May 222011
 

I am not in Poland, but Wojtek took these photos of the Tiny Meadow on May 21. The sticks were knocked down, but something is growing there.

Early Growth in the Tiny Meadow

Early Growth in the Tiny Meadow

However, at this point, we are not entirely sure just what that growth is. The feathery one below could be Chamomile (Rumien Polny) or Mayweed (Maruna Bezwonna).

Seedling of Chamomile or Mayweed

Seedling of Chamomile or Mayweed

The seedlings below are abundant. Not sure what they are yet. Not Chamomile, not Mayweed. The broad leaves indicate Chrysanthemum or Poppy. All the other flowers in this mix have narrower leaves (Vetch, Cornflowers, Corncockles), and since there were not very many Poppy seeds in the mix, my guess is Chrysanthemum.

Chrysanthemum Seedlings

Chrysanthemum Seedlings

 

May 212011
 

On May 21st three brave people on bikes took off to find the mysterious Waste Mountain in Kępa Zawadzka 15km south, on the fringes of Warsaw. On the way we explored the landscapes and flora of the wild Vistula bank. We also had a horseradish eating competition, did embroideries, found a secret motorcycle racetrack, listened to genuine country music performed at the local market, admired a sea of sand next to an ocean of dandelions, drank water with stickyweed to become radiative. Finally we reached the ghastly grey mountain hidden in an artificial valley and surrounded by lovely green hills and a natural reserve. The grey powder is waste produced during the burning process at the Siekierki power plant visible in the distance:

Photo documentation of the Quest for the Waste Mountain

Participants: Wojtek Mejor, Vahida Ramujkic, Aviv Kruglanski

Plants we found and ate:

  • Tasznik pospolity, Capsella bursa pastoris, Capsella / Shepard’s purse
  • Przytulia czepna, Galium aparine, Cleavers / Stickyweed
  • Chrzan pospolity, Armoracia rusticana, Horseradish
  • Czosnaczek pospolity, Alliaria petiolata, Mustard Garlic
  • Rumianek pospolity, Matricaria chamomilla, Wild chamomile
May 082011
 

We just got back from our first foraging expedition in Bemowo where we identified 39 different edible plants. More pictures to come, but first I wanted to share this delicious salad made entirely from the wild edible foods we found. See the list of what’s in it below the picture. There’s one that I can’t identify. It’s the leaf shaped sort of like a cedar. It’s at the middle bottom of the picture. Just identified: A young leaf of horseradish! (Chrzan)

Wild salad

Wild salad

Mustard Garlic / Jack-in-the-hedge (Czosnaczek) – Leaves
Lime tree (Lipa) – Young leaves from a young tree
Plantago (Babka) – Leaves
Chickweed (Stellaria/ Gwiazdnica) – Leaves
Wild Parsnip (Pasternak) – Roots
Wild Carrot / Queen Anne’s lace (Marchew Daucus) – Roots
Sorrel (Szczaw) – Leaves
Capsella (Tasznik) – Leaves
Ground-Elder (Podagrycznik) – Leaves and stems
White Deadnettle (Jasnota biała) – Leaves and flowers
Horseradish (Chrzan) – Young leaves

May 072011
 

Join us on what will be the first of many activities and expeditions to find and share wild edibles in Warsaw, Poland! On Sunday, May 8 we’ll be heading out to the Bemowo district in NW Warsaw with Bogdan Jaśkiewicz, a knowledgeable forager and survivalist, to learn, gather, and eat!
Organized by: Jodie Baltazar, Weronika Doboszyńska , and Wojtek Mejor of Pixxe (pixxe.org)
Sponsored by: Herbologies/Foraging Networks
Contact: pixxe.org @ gmail.com

Jadalna Warszawa – pierwsza ekspedycja
Dołącz do pierwszej z serii ekspedycji po jadalne okazy dzikich roślin Warszawy! W niedzielę 8 maja wybieramy się na warszawskie Bemowo z Bogdanem Jaśkiewiczem – specjalistą od surwiwalu i jadalnych roślin – i spróbujemy naszych sił w rozpoznawaniu i zbieraniu jedzenia.
Organizatorzy: Jodie Baltazar, Wojtek Mejor i Weronika Doboszyńska z Pixxe (pixxe.org).
Wsparcie: Herbologies/Foraging Networks.
Kontakt: pixxe.org @ gmail.com

May 052011
 

Of course it’s great to be able to plant all the vegetables and fruits we want and love to eat, but discovering what is already there, what someone planted long ago, or what has managed to find a home and survived on the działka for years without any human intervention, is magical. Today Wojtek and I identified a couple of gooseberry bushes (Agrest) growing under the apple tree. You can see a thorn under the berry in this picture and the shape of the leaves.

Gooseberry (Agrest)

Gooseberry (Agrest)

It took us a while to find these berries, because they are still less than 1 cm (1/2 in) in diameter. The leaves look a lot like Blackcurrent and other current bushes (Porzeczka). Gooseberries can be sweet or sour. We’ll have to wait and see. Look at the little hairs on the berry and stem.

Gooseberry's Hairy Berry

Gooseberry's Hairy Berry

One thing I love about the Polish wiki is the illustrations someone is putting up for plants. They are obviously from an old German text–I would love to have that book. Very good resolution. Check it out if you’re looking for old illustrations of edibles. The details in these drawings are superb. Here is one for the Gooseberry (slighter smaller than the one on Wikipediea).

Gooseberry Illustration

Gooseberry Illustration

May 022011
 
Hazel Tree Leaf

Hazel Tree Leaf

I’m very excited because today I found out that the trees which I thought were Alders were in fact Hazels. Edible. Delicious.

Yesterday a friend of mine said she saw a Hazel tree in the back of the garden and when I went to check it out, I realized that I had been thinking all this time it was an Alder. I was so busy with planting that I haven’t had a chance to check out the leaves and flowers that are springing up everywhere! Fortunately I didn’t cut down any of the so-thought Alder. If this little fellow was a Hazel, then that would mean I have dozens of Hazel trees on the działka. We love hazelnuts!

I asked my gracious and gentlemanly neighbor, “Is this tree a Hazel (Orzech Laskowy)?” He said yes. There are two massive bunches growing between the slow compost pile which hang well into his garden. He said nuts abound. In fact I had seen nuts on the ground nearby, but they were very degraded–I thought they were acorns. Huh. Now that I know the truth, it seems obvious.

Hazel Tree Bark (young tree)

Hazel Tree Bark (young tree)

The Hazel is pretty much an overgrown bush. The bark is fairly smooth with distinctive lenticels, or little ridges, spattered about. Most of the trees here are pretty old, I think, and still the trunks are not very thick, the widest being perhaps 15cm / 6in. Of course there are quite a few young trees as well, and the bark on a young tree doesn’t look that different from an older tree. Dozens upon dozens of shoots spring up from the branches in the spring–I used them to make a fence. They are very flexible and long.

Hazel Tree Male Catkin (old)

Hazel Tree Male Catkin (old)

Hazel Tree old nut

Hazel Tree old nut

Sadly, this year these trees don’t have any catkins or flowers. The only thing I see are male catkins from last year and a cool half-birth hazelnut that never fell off the tree. My neighbor said that the tree gives nuts off and on, every other year. If I understood him properly, always an uncertainty, he said that they gave nuts this past year and this year they probably won’t. Sadness.

It’s interesting how, once you identify a plant, it seems to be everywhere. I just saw a huge grove of Hazels this morning in Stare Włochy. They popped out at me. I didn’t see any buds on these either, so maybe it’s still too early to tell if the ones on the działka will give fruit this year.

Mature Hazel Tree

Mature Hazel Tree

May 012011
 

Today, my husband started filling the hole in the fence or rather building the part that wasn’t there. To block the hole, I had just piled up a bunch of branches, but this looks much better. It’s a little weird to put a fence up. A fence says, “stay out” and “it’s not yours”. I don’t really want people to stay out, and the space isn’t really mine, but it seems that if I want the plants to be safe and for the land to stay clean of garbage, it has to be done. Anyway, it is going to be a beautiful fence! It’s constructed entirely out of materials found in the space.

Fence of self-supporting sticks

Fence of self-supporting sticks

I hope in future I can work on the space outside the fence too. I’d like to put up resting spots for people to kick back and watch the train, some sort of recycling and garbage receptacles, flowers , vines growing on the fences. Maybe in the fall…