So what have you taken out of an Iowa ditch? It’s a question that could garner some interesting responses, but harvesting from local ditches is pretty common for Iowans! In fact, I had no idea some of these could be found in ditches!
What can you find? Check out my list!
We will start with food! Yes, you can get free food in the ditches of Pott. Co!
*Morels. Mushrooms are a regular find around here in the spring. Just don’t ask a local for their spot. Apparently, they are pretty protective of their treasure trove of fungi!
*Asparagus. I still don’t eat asparagus, but I certainly know the places to find it! I laughed heartily as I drove down a gravel road recently and saw a woman on her knees along a fence line looking guilty. An outsider might not realize what she was up to, but a local does!
*Wild plums. This was a new one to me! Did you know that they grow on trees around here that can be found in rural ditches? Wild plums are a little smaller, but I hear they are quite a delicacy if you can get to them before the wildlife!
*Gooseberries. As a self-proclaimed childhood mud-pie prodigy, I found plenty of these on vines near where we lived, unbeknownst to me that people around here actually love a real gooseberry pie! Just hunt around and get your free ingredients!
*Mulberries. My grandma never liked messy shoes that came with the mulberries, but my cousin was a big fan of the mulberry tree! Mulberry trees are highly prevalent around here and produce a lot of fruit…for free! Hey, with enough sugar you can make anything taste sweet and fruity! Lol.
*Hedge Apples. Although they aren’t for eating like their name implies, many people love a hedge apple tree because hedge apples are supposed to keep insects out of your basement. Hey, anything to keep the spiders at bay, right?
I think we can move on to flowers!
I always love the colorful ditches thanks to a variety of wild flowers that grow here. Here are a few although I know there are many more!
*Wild roses. White or pink, there are the mini roses or the larger pink variety and both grow wild along a lot of country roads in Pott. Co. and the wild rose just happens to be the state flower of Iowa. So pick a few to brighten your table. Nobody will mind!
*Queen Anne’s Lace. It’s currently in bloom. They are the white bunches everywhere right now! And how awesome is that you can pick a bouquet for free?
*Chicory. One of my favorite things to do is drive down a gravel lane with chicory blooming all along it! Something about that purplish-blue that just speaks to me. And again, here’s your chance to woo a significant other at no cost to you!
*Sunflowers. Although more of a fall flower, the ditches and fields, much to some farmers’ chagrin, come alive with sunflowers. The bees love them and they are a festive flower loved by many.
*Cattails. Possibly not considered a flower, but they are definitely used in flower arrangements to offer a unique texture. With the wetland areas nearby, cattails are prevalent all around the county.
The rest I guess we shall consider a miscellaneous bunch!
*Hay. Listen, around here, you gotta feed the livestock. And hay is not only expensive but sometimes hard to come by.
*Christmas trees. Rumor has it that if you want a real Christmas tree, there are always a few wild pines growing in the Pott. Co. ditches!
*Milkweeds. As the name implies, some would consider them simply weeds. However, milkweeds are your butterfly magnet! And I hear that some people use the down for stuffing things like pillows. Who knew?
*5-cent refund cans. This is the one man-made item to be found! I had to laugh about this one, but the great state of Iowa encourages recycling and you can pick up your plenty of 5-centers in our ditches!
So there you have it! A huge list of things you can harvest out of our Pott. County ditches! We have riches in them there hills! Hopefully you saw the humor in this, but also the true bountiful blessings of living in the Loess Hills and Pottawattamie County…
Did I miss anything? Tell me! Did I inspire you to check out the ditch near your house? Show me a pic of what you find! Happy Ditch Diving!