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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Heather- Calluna vulgaris

Heather- Calluna vulgaris

Jesse S.
user 29709632
Harrison, ME
Post #: 107
I'm interested in getting anyone's experience with this plant. Have you grown it or encountered it growing wild?
A beautiful multi-use plant with a looooong history of utilization. I want to have it for bee forage, and for brewing gruit. I'd be happy to trade or share with anyone who has some which could yield divisions or cuttings.
Tyler O.
TylerOmand
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 34
I am also very interested in any possible trades with anyone with any cultivars or unnamed heathers, from heat tolerant to cold hardy. Also any heaths that anyone has I would love a clump of. I purchased 'firefly' and 'bradford' heathers from fedco, and will be planting them this spring with some blueberries under some young red oaks. In eastern North America, other members of the Ericaceae family often grow in association with an oak canopy, in a type of ecology known as an oak-heath forest. Also it is worth noting that ericaceous plants like blueberry, azalea, rhododendron, and heathers form associations with ericoid mycorrhizal fungi, and pines, firs, oaks, hazelnut and birch form associations with ectomycorrhizal fungi.
I am interested in heather for multiple reasons: honey bee and pollinator forage, brews, our homemade bath and body products, its a great companion to other acid loving plants in drier areas (or in huglemounds or raised beds in wetter areas), its growing characteristics, my wife Heather and I love Scottish ale brewed with heather and because it tolerates poor, rocky soil. Also I would love to install some clumps of it on the bank along the road at the beginning of my driveway because it is very salt tolerant (our town doesn't use salt as of right now, only sand, but I believe that its nice to have these salt tolerant species there anyways for the salt residue that might possibly come off of passing vehicles. Does anyone know if anyone has ever done tests to analyze different plants reactions to typical roadside doses of the calcium chloride brine mix that is applied on a lot of state maintained roads? Its use should probably be outlawed.) Once our clumps of heather from fedco are established I would love to trade.
Jesse S.
user 29709632
Harrison, ME
Post #: 109
Heather ale...mmmmm Where'd you pick that up, Tyler? It'd be worth keep an eye out for heather that's naturalized here in Maine, I've read that there could be wild patches around. If anyone knows of such a place, please alert me.
Tyler O.
TylerOmand
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 37
Penobscot Bay Brewery (a division of Winterport Winery) in Winterport makes an awesome scottish ale brewed with heather, mmmmm Delicious. Besides the smaller stores that specialize in brews and spirits, I have seen it at hannafords.
Jesse S.
user 29709632
Harrison, ME
Post #: 111
I'll keep a watch for that one....
I've been enjoying reading 'Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers' by S. Buhner- looking to expand my own brewing palate with additions of various herbs beyond hops. What's quite exciting to me, as a forager and wildcrafter, is how many of these plants are out there growing in our backyards, fields, woods, and wetlands. Examples are Sweet Gale, Labrador Tea, Yarrow which form the herbal basis for gruit beer. While I wait for summer to find and harvest those, I'm going to try out a tree-based recipe that will give our xmas tree a second life: Fir Ale!
Tyler O.
TylerOmand
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 38
Awesome Jesse, that book has been on my wish list for quite a while, can't wait to acquire and read it. I am currently reading Water for Every Farm By Yeomans, Tree Crops by J.R. Smith, and Teaming with Nutrients by Jeff Lowenfels, with another 8 books on deck after those. I think I might have to finally teach myself how to completely photo read to read all the books I want to read in my lifetime and still have time to farm. I am very interested to hear more about this fir ale and about your further adventures in brewing.
Dennis
user 87611852
New Gloucester, ME
Post #: 49
Thanks guys, for posting that information. I made my first batch of ale, last October and it came out pretty good. I have always wanted to make a gruit.

Here are 2 YouTube video links that revealed much about how to do it and what to expect:

1. My First Attempt at Gruit
http://www.youtube.co...­

2. Immolateus brewing a Gruit at BHbrewing's place!!
http://www.youtube.co...­
Dennis
user 87611852
New Gloucester, ME
Post #: 50
Hi Ya'll,
I just watched a couple of YouTube videos regarding Yarrow, which is used as a bittering agent in gruit. Incidently, history shows that the Catholic Church band the use of natural herbs, in place of hops. It turns out that hops are high in estrogen and make men less aggressive and more depressed.

The gal on the video stated, "(hundreds of year ago) It was discovered that hop pickers could not get an erection for several hours after a day of picking. That was just from the estrogen that was absorbed through the skin, now imagine drinking it."

Wild Medicinal Yarrow pt 1
http://www.youtube.co...­

Wild Medicinal Yarrow pt 2
http://www.youtube.co...­
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