Two of the three sisters at harvest time

Mandan Bride Corn, with Hidatsa Shield Figure beans climbing on it at harvest time. Getting the beans to climb the cornstalks is often a goal of people who plant a Three Sisters garden. You have to get the timing of the planting just right (among other factors) for that to work — and I usuallyContinue reading “Two of the three sisters at harvest time”

North Dakota Nopales

La Enchilada is my favorite Mexican restaurant in Bismarck. I was surprised when the family that owns it told me that their nopales (prickly pear cactus, an Indigenous Mexican staple food) on the menu was fresh, not canned. Fresh nopales in North Dakota? But it turns out they had a plant out back: While theseContinue reading “North Dakota Nopales”

Ten Foot Tall Sunflowers in South Dakota

You can’t tell, but my friend’s two-story house is hidden behind this forest of sunflowers. Sunflower varieties cross quite easily. While the type she grows are not a species with a particular name, they are likely a cross between our local indigenous sunflowers and some cultivated varieties. The seeds are too small to be worthContinue reading “Ten Foot Tall Sunflowers in South Dakota”

Midsummer Corn

Some of my Mandan Bride corn in early July. (If you’re unfamiliar with Mandan Bride corn, this link will take you to another grower’s account of it.) Corn flowers are up and fertilizing the ears, maybe ~45 days after planting: and here is one of the first ears developing!

Trying to Eradicate Creeping Jenny

The Late-June battles continue with one of the most persistent weeds in our territory. Creeping Jenny may look cute and innocuous from the first few leaves that appear above ground, and I’ve even heard of people using it as an ornamental plant for this reason. But underneath the surface, those few little leaves are supportedContinue reading “Trying to Eradicate Creeping Jenny”

A Gift of Violets

A coffee filter with a violet plant inside: a gift from a neighbor and friend from the Standing Rock Seed Exchange, who has a fantastic garden in another one of the North Dakota communities on the reservation. These lovely little native plants pop up everywhere in the garden, and are sometimes considered weeds, so aContinue reading “A Gift of Violets”

2018 SBC Mobridge Standing Rock Seed Exchange

After the success of our first Standing Rock Seed Exchange in Fort Yates, ND, in Spring of 2018, we started hearing that people on the south side of the reservation wanted a seed exchange, too. So, the first Mobridge Seed Exchange was born. We met on a Saturday afternoon at the Sitting Bull College MobridgeContinue reading “2018 SBC Mobridge Standing Rock Seed Exchange”

Pȟaŋǧí — Sunchoke/Jerusalem Artichoke

Pȟaŋǧí. Helianthus tuberosus. Sunchoke or Jerusalem Artichoke in English. It is a cousin to the sunflower. It is not remotely related to an artichoke, and does not look or taste anything like one, so I’m not sure how it got its English name. But its Lakota name, Pȟaŋǧí, has since lent itself to many otherContinue reading “Pȟaŋǧí — Sunchoke/Jerusalem Artichoke”

Eating Your Weeds

It’s the time of year where every seed that has blown into the garden bed is popping up, as well as any weeds that I failed to eradicate last year. I’m working on learning the difference between those that have some medicinal/nutritional value and are worth keeping, and those that should be pulled before theyContinue reading “Eating Your Weeds”