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Thread: Everydya Useful Plants

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    Everyday Useful Plants

    To preface:
    My girlfriend is involved with the solar house team at our university, every 2 years or so they complete a new solar powered house that is entered into a national competition. Now that they have something like 4 houses, they are putting them all into a 'solar village' near school. My girlfriend is also assisting in the landscaping of the village. One idea that she is considering is having every plant in the village have some secondary use besides looking nice (fruit trees, aloe plants, butterfly attracting plants etc., perennial herb bushes, etc) I was thinking that many people on this forum might have some good insights into other plants that might be of use. The criteria for such plants would be their ability to be used in standard soil, be perennials so that the village wouldn't need to be replanted each year, and ease of care since the university employees will likely be watering them.

    Any ideas for such plants would be greatly appreciated and helpful!

    thanks,
    Kyle

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    Taliesin-DS's Avatar
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    my growlist: http://terraforums.com/forums/showth...306#post976306
    My pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/taliesin-ds/

    <Exo> @Talie......You are the lord of all things blah....

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    Got Drosera? Indiana Gardener's Avatar
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    There are a lot of useful plants that look good in the landscape.

    Daylilies (H. fulva) - edible tubers and blooms
    Echinacea - for tea
    Jerusalem artichokes - edible tubers
    Hyssop - tea
    Mints - (good to contain these) for tea
    Mullein - (V. thapsus; actually a biennial, but self sows) for tea
    Nira - (garlic chives) cooking seasoning
    Sage - (S. officinalis) cooking seasoning

    Those are just some that I can think of right off hand.


    David

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Mints can be used as a pest repellent as well as for cooking and tea. Catnip in particular is good for warding off mice and other such critters, but most rodents find all mints objectionable.
    Yarrow has medicinal uses but my favorite part about it is that you can plant it like a lawn and mow it as little as eight times a year. It's very trample resistant and comes back from the roots if you let it get tall and then chop it. Most varieties flower quite easily and have large, attractive clusters of blooms.
    A number of Eucalyptus and Gum species are useful for tea and medicine. Most are also extremely fast-growing and return well from stumps, making them good for sustainable firewood production. One of my favorites is Corymbia citriodora, which produces citronella and a number of other citrus oils, a natural insect repellent. It produces large, fuzzy green leaves that absolutely reek of lemony goodness. You can use it for tea or just let the leaves pile up where they fall - whenever you walk over them or wet them down you'll get a waft of the citrus scent.
    Gums and other fast-growing trees make good living fences. Birches and willows are remarkably amenable to training together - there is some amazing work going on constructing buildings out of interwoven, living trees. Brambles (blackberries, etc.) also make useful and attractive borders if you can contain them properly, with the added bonus of making good habitat for predators like snakes.
    Some types of onions and garlic can be grown as perennials, although you might have to dig them up seasonally to split them. The greens from most alliums can be used in place of chives or green onions, and flowerstalks can be prepared in a manner similar to asparagus. Onions can be planted around roses to prevent disease, and I believe the whole family of plants is good for repelling some sort of pests, although I can't off the top of my head remember whether it's moles or some sort of bugs or what.
    Rosemary, thyme and most other woody aromatic herbs are good for preventing pests of some sort or another, and will survive for many years if planted properly. You might want to look into companion planting, which focuses on the secondary uses of common plants - that's where I came across a lot of the above info.
    A side idea that comes to mind for me is that it might mesh well with the useful plants theme to include some do-it-yourself and recycled-materials features with the garden. I'm very fond of hanging dead CDs up to scare birds and other critters away with reflected sunlight.
    ~Joe
    Last edited by seedjar; 08-25-2010 at 02:24 PM.
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    Google "edible landscaping."

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    not specific plant species but possible uses would be rainwater/wastewater filtration, air quality etc
    http://www.amazon.com/How-Grow-Fresh...ref=pd_sim_k_1
    http://www.idswater.com/water/europe..._supplier.html



    and of course food

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    rattler's Avatar
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    yarrow, Achillea millefolium, butterflies love it and it will stop bleeding quicker than anything ive found......im on alot of NSAIDs at the moment so my blood is a lil thin, when i get cut in the yard i grab a couple leaves, crush them up, place them on the wound and i clot up very quick....
    cervid serial killer
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  8. #8
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Nice tip rattler. I croaked my little pot recently in the heat but one day I'll probably put that to use. X)
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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