Author Topic: Farming in Cahokia - Interesting Article  (Read 619 times)

Ferdzy

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Farming in Cahokia - Interesting Article
« on: 2019-03-29, 09:22:46 AM »
Short but intriguing article at Atlas Obscura about pre-Columbian farming around what is today St. Louis - it mentions some plants that I am not familiar with at all.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/native-american-farming-cahokia

William S.

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Re: Farming in Cahokia - Interesting Article
« Reply #1 on: 2019-03-29, 10:19:43 AM »
Indigenous science has been massively underrated. The Chenopodium and Iva species mentioned I've heard of in other articles. Would be a good domestication project for someone nearby who could collect seeds.

The article talks a little bit about just how massively the indigenous people manipulated the environment to produce food. In California some of the permaculture type systems were massively productive. If you replace systems that direct feed humans with cattle and range hogs you move up on the food chain and in the process waste a unreal amount of food. Often this is still played out today in terms of feeding corn to cattle and pigs held in confinement facilities...
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Ryan M Miller

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Re: Farming in Cahokia - Interesting Article
« Reply #2 on: 2019-09-24, 11:27:34 PM »
I have also heard of the Eastern Agricultural Complex. I am currently trying to get access to some erect knotweed (Polygonum erectum) to do some trial growing next year to see how much the plant already yields in seeds by weight per acre. If I am unable to grow the seeds out next year, I will try to find someone else with more land and experience who's willing to collaborate with me. I have been discussing this same topic over on permies.com.

Here is a link to the thread I started on the other forum:
https://permies.com/t/120420/Eastern-Agricultural-Complex-EAC

reed

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Re: Farming in Cahokia - Interesting Article
« Reply #3 on: 2019-09-30, 06:41:49 AM »
This is an interesting topic. I hope folks with experience with it will post lots of info. Ryan, I checked your link on permies. The grass cereals are of particular interest to me as I'v always been fascinated with the extreme variety of grasses that grow in my neighborhood. Unfortunately I am not at all good at identifying them  but I think the Hordeum pusillum and Phalaris caroliniana might both grow here.

Lots of our wild grasses grow seed heads that look a lot to me like barley, or wheat or oats but like I said I'm terrible at identification. I started just examining any I see for seeds that easily separate form the chaff and  are large enough they might be of use as food. So far not much luck.

I have an established patch of Phaseolus polystachios, interesting plant but not much on production. Always plant some Limas or runners near in hopes of a random cross but nothing yet. I've located two large wild patches but they are not making seeds hardly at all this year.

Pawpaws and persimmons are quite common, enough so that I just forage them rather than cultivate. I can barely grow sun roots as something always eats most of them.

I'm also experimenting with wild sweet potatoes Ipomoea pandurata, it interesting too. I think I'll start a new thread about it specifically. 

William S.

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Re: Farming in Cahokia - Interesting Article
« Reply #4 on: 2019-12-27, 12:19:55 AM »
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191224085707.htm

New article estimating potential productivity.
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reed

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Re: Farming in Cahokia - Interesting Article
« Reply #5 on: 2019-12-27, 06:05:06 AM »
Here is some more interesting info.
https://archaeology.uiowa.edu/crops-ancient-iowa

Richard Watson

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Re: Farming in Cahokia - Interesting Article
« Reply #6 on: 2019-12-27, 11:07:31 AM »
Those Cucurbita pepo gourds that's mentioned, having been growing wild for such a long time, they would be very small would they not.
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William S.

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Re: Farming in Cahokia - Interesting Article
« Reply #7 on: 2019-12-27, 11:22:26 AM »
Fairly small yeah.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Richard Watson

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Re: Farming in Cahokia - Interesting Article
« Reply #8 on: 2019-12-27, 12:36:14 PM »
Would they likely to have been more productive in these days though
Changeable year round climate, less so summertime, warming winters - just under 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial out wash from the Southern
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William S.

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Re: Farming in Cahokia - Interesting Article
« Reply #9 on: 2019-12-27, 01:07:02 PM »
I think that was the point of the article I found on Science Daily. That if they had stuck with the forgotten crops they would be quite good now. It also brings up the intriguing possibility for us as amateur breeder's of redomesticating them. Or for university breeders, perhaps using crispr to rapidly redomesticate them. So much of our food supply is caught up in so few species that adding crop species could be quite important to future food security.

Though not all species are equal. It strikes me that real staples are the rare ones. Things like rice, wheat, maize, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

In my area indigenous staples include bitterroot, camas, yampah, and biscuit root. Burbank and in recent times Kapuler have shown some real interest in these.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

reed

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Re: Farming in Cahokia - Interesting Article
« Reply #10 on: 2019-12-28, 04:13:43 AM »
Some of the plants on the U of I archaeology page look quite familiar to me but the photos along with my lack of experience makes it hard to identify them for sure. Exception is the Maygrass or Reed Canary Grass. That seed head with the bluish color in their picture is distinctive enough and matches exactly enough for me to say that it definitely grows wild here.  Gonna try to remember to be on the look out for it next year. Don't know right off if it's something I'v regarded as a weed or something Iv just seen around here and there.

There was a lot of Indian activity where I live but little preserved or documented that I know of. I have a pretty good collection of relics I'v found over the years in fields and along the river. There is a large chemical factory with a famous name I won't mention near here built in the 1960s. I was in their lobby one time and was amazed at their collection in cases and frames on the walls. More than most museums I've seen. The receptionist said the original plant manager  had it saved from when they built the plant and I should see what's in the board room but she wouldn't let me.  The Cincinnati Museum of Natural History has a pretty good collection from when they flattened a mound to make room for Mound Street, at least they preserved the name.
« Last Edit: 2019-12-28, 04:16:22 AM by reed »

William S.

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Re: Farming in Cahokia - Interesting Article
« Reply #11 on: 2019-12-28, 06:44:19 AM »
My local tribes have kept their traditional practices alive from time immemorial to today. Lots to learn from them.

Recent article came out that said modern European people came to Europe 7500 and 5000 years ago in two waves from Turkey and Russia respectively. That sure clarified things for me.

By comparison  my local tribes probably moved east as the ice receded. So have been right here for all of European history plus thousands of years. Native people domesticated corn when our ancestors were still fiddling with small grains in Turkey. Not sure how long ago these abandoned crops were domesticated but it's deep time.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days