Thursday, July 2, 2009

Camas Update - Summer Digging and a Suprise!

We posted a few months ago about finding and digging Camas bulbs... and we've been waiting to go back and see if the bulbs are larger now in the summer. Here's what we found.

The flowers were all gone, and had turned into seed pods. The plants were all dry and beginning to fling their seeds - the brittle racus of the plant was doing its job well.

We were really excited - we hadn't expected to find seeds. We began gathering as many as we could to try to grow them with our wildflowers next year. Maybe try our hand at Camas Farming...

Here is what the dried plants looked like. We got lucky and arrived at the perfect time for seed gathering.

We did gather some bulbs, though it was much more difficult this time of year than in the spring. The plant breaks off the bulb much easier, and the ground is much harder and drier.

Still, we managed to dig a few. The other disappointment is that the bulbs were not much bigger than what we had found in the spring. Most of the bulbs in the spring were only dime-size, so there were more big ones, but we were hoping they would be BIG!

Here is a shot of the plant looking straight down into the seed pods - you can see the dark seeds in the pods. The seeds are actually a beautiful dark purple in color. We are wondering if they would be useful for dye.

It is always fun digging and exploring in the NorthWest woods. Even though it was tough digging, the boys were eager and did well. The bulbs here were all about 6" deep into the rocky soil, so it was work.

Here is the final take on bulbs for the 40 minutes we were out. The Indians expected someone to harvest at least a bushel each day. Pretty tough work for some food - even for these tasty sweet bulbs.

Here is the pile of seeds we collected. We were more excited to gather seeds than get the bulbs. It is always more fun when you discover something unexpected... and now we have a new experiment to try. We've already planted some seeds and will let you know how it goes.