Waȟčázi sú / Sunflower seed

Waníyetu wóečhuŋ/ winter projects. This is another entry in my series of winter projects. Wahčázi sú kiŋ / the seeds of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus) are one of my favorite Indigenous North American traditional foods that many people don’t realize originate in the Americas. Then and now, they’re an important source of food and oil.Continue reading “Waȟčázi sú / Sunflower seed”

Wagméza kačháŋ / Winnowing corn

Waníyetu wóečhuŋ / winter projects. When working with traditional foods and plants, especially in a climate like Standing Rock’s where we have at least 5 months of winter, the work we do is highly seasonal. Some people would assume this means that there is nothing plant-related to do for 5 months out of the year.Continue reading “Wagméza kačháŋ / Winnowing corn”

Wagmú waȟčá waŋ

Looking back, posting a pic from September: A late-season squash blossom. I had bought some Mexico-grown kabocha squash in early spring and thrown the seeds out onto the compost pile. A few of them grew into squash vines, but the compost pile doesn’t get great sun, so I transplanted them into the garden. Here isContinue reading “Wagmú waȟčá waŋ”

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”