Bushcrafter or Urban Outdoorsman, is gardening a legitimate pastime?

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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
Theoretically our pond is a 'swim pond' - it's 10m x 8m (so 'splash' pond rather than swim pond) and 1.5m deep at it's deepest, but, because it's naturally clay lined, you sink at least 30cm into the mud at the bottom and come out dirtier than you go in :)

I have to get into it this year though to clear the reedmace.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,162
965
Lancashire
Can't see a swim pond many metres above the level of our house being a good Idea. What would the insurers say about a self created flood risk?

I guess we have to stick to attracting land based critters instead. I really need to find out what visits our future garden. My tracking skills aren't worth much so perhaps a wildlife cam moved around the garden a bit to catch what's visiting. Any good, cheap ones around?
 

Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,282
83
Birmingham
I do on my allotment to provide vegetables, and wooden staves amongst other things
What do you grow for staves and how did you get it to start with?

I think gardening is useful from a Bushcraft prosective in that you learn about the cycle of plants however if you are lucky enough to be out a lot you could do the same thing.

Bushcraft is taught face to face but if this forum it's remotely close to being representative of people doing activities called bushcraft then technology is used a lot. How many threads about online videos? How many come here for advice on techniques, where to go, etc? BCUK is a bushcraft resource and it's based on technology. If you really wanted to be pedantic then even stone age techniques are actually technology. Then how many discussions of kit? All technology.
The reason we are the dominate species on the planet is because we could sit down and discuss ideas and pass them on. It might have been slower 10,000 years ago however it what happened.

However purely electronic technology plays a part. There's plenty discussion and imparting knowledge on here, a forum supplied by technology.
I saw a long term Bushcraft set up video a couple of days ago and it had books in it and my first thought was buy a kindle. I remember as a scout leader carrying loads of books because you had no other choice.
I really cannot wait for Amazon to bring out a Colour Kindle.

As to boy or girl scouts. It's not the same with that organisation everywhere. Even in the UK there's variation. I grew up where nobody knew bushcraft skills who had got involved with scouting. The leaders used fire lighters and cigarette lighters to light fires. Heck they use petrol to get camp fires going. And do not get me on to how many times I had to correct my leaders on basic knots. That was in Cubs and scouts.
It always has been like that it does depend on the leaders. I was really lucky in that I joined a break away traditional group and we had a leader who met BP so he was almost there from the beginning. He had lots of resources that no one else had seen at the time which are all available at The Dump.

Even now our sons scout groups spend more time learning about social and environmental matters than bushcraft matters. Activities outside revolve around outdoor activities like mountain biking, climbing (they've got an indoor climbing wall too) and watersports. It's about fun activities for the kids not bushcraft. That's the attitude coming from area and national too.
The thing to do is get them the certificates to go with being outdoor. My Scout Leader got his son a canoeing certificate and it lead to him working at an outdoor place for several summer holidays which lead to him adding the ability to teach more things in the outdoor. One of the things I think is a really good thing to do for kids is get them side hustles like a martial art, music, or the ability to teach anything.
You should get evolved and teach them about the environment from a Bushcraft prospective.

That leaves other sources to find out about bushcraft. Often bear grylls then other online experts. I guess we'll never agree that technology is now a bigger part of bushcraft and learning about bushcraft.
In that little part of my brain that prepares for the apocalypse, I think about what information we would need and how to keep it available. I think we need to work out a tech tree from the bush craft basics up to current life what knowledge supports what.
For example, one of the tasks for the BushCraftUSA online course is making string by twisting by hand. The thing is would would they have done it like that or would they have made a spindle.

Canals are conduits for so many users. On the other side there's space for wildlife because mostly us humans keep to this side. I've seen deer, otters, water voles. Well apart from the water voles our border terrier pointed to on the edge of the field that was totally chilled out chewing the grass, we don't see them just hear the plop as they drop into the water. Usually the same with others except you often catch their tail.
I live right on a river and most admit have been sat here wondering were it goes. A task for my lock down walks I think. It is amazing how much more wildlife you get by being near a water source.

Ducks tend to a bad behaviour as far as I see.
I remember being on a boat holiday and being woken up every morning by scuffling noises and finally discovered it was ducks wondering up and down the edge of the boat.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,036
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Berlin
They are very intelligent, I think comparable with dogs.

My brother's Ducks are always interested what I am doing, although I never feed them.
 
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Spirit fish

Nomad
Aug 12, 2021
291
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Doncaster
I used to do conservation volunteering. It's like gardening in a variety of locations and generally more large scale too? Cutting trees down, clearances and thinning out. Also fencing, hedgelaying under supervision, dry stone walling under supervision. Tree planting even planting out new ponds and pond edges.

I've helped my dad with his bigger jobs too.

I've never had my own garden only backyard. Now we're about to move to a house with a decent sized garden. Probably bigger than any family member has had except for possibly one set of my grandparents. So we're about to put together the skills I've learnt, such as they are, on a garden that's got a lot of trees and very little lawn space or many of the traditional suburban garden features. It's the benefits of living in the edge of a village at the end of all roads in. There will be some trees needing felling and others being cut back a bit. Shrubs to be cut back. Sitting areas to be recovered from vegetation that's taken over. Basically similar to conservation work I've done in the past. Fencing too. Although we're probably going to get the pros in for a few things. I really don't want to do the large tree felling or fencing.

So whilst gardening isn't bushcraft so much but it can have elements shared with conservation work. Gardens in rural areas can be made to suit nature too. Even suburban gardens can become useful for nature. Where there's nature there's possibilities to track or observe nature. That's a part of bushcraft for some. It's just a range of skills afterall. Skills can be useful in the most unexpected ways of times.
There's a lot of interesting plants in the citys I know towns with sea buckthorn growing near the centre
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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In the centre of Glasgow, one of the busiest main streets that has been pedestrianised, there are massive crops of hazelnuts just falling off. No squirrels to eat them :)
Less than mile away as the crow flies, across the river, in the dead heart of the shipbuilding industry, there's another nut crop doing just the same, but this time it's sweet chestnuts :)

They all pretty much just go to waste :sigh:
 
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Spirit fish

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Aug 12, 2021
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Doncaster
In the centre of Glasgow, one of the busiest main streets that has been pedestrianised, there are massive crops of hazelnuts just falling off. No squirrels to eat them :)
Less than mile away as the crow flies, across the river, in the dead heart of the shipbuilding industry, there's another nut crop doing just the same, but this time it's sweet chestnuts :)

They all pretty much just go to waste :sigh:
that's my secret to getting hazel nuts in any quantity the ones in the country get hammered quickly by the squirrels
 

Wander

Settler
Jan 6, 2017
725
898
Here There & Everywhere
Hmm...not too sure I'd collect any edible from a roadside. Petrol may be unleaded now but it still has a whole host of other heavy metals and pollutants in it, and that's without the other bits of micro-waste that cars give off.
Town centres even more so.
 
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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
Hmm...not too sure I'd collect any edible from a roadside. Petrol may be unleaded now but it still has a whole host of other heavy metals and pollutants in it, and that's without the other bits of micro-waste that cars give off.
Town centres even more so.

It may be dodgy when it comes to vegetation and soft fruit but I suspect you're OK with nuts such as hazel. But then, a lot of people have allotments, gardens, and even window sill veg patches in towns and cities - are you saying they shouldn't?
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
Please show us the list of all the heavy metals and their concentrations remaining in petrol, please.
As a matter of fact, just this July past, Algeria finally ran out of leaded gasoline.
They were the very last country to do so.
 

Wander

Settler
Jan 6, 2017
725
898
Here There & Everywhere
I don't need to.
Why would you forage (or grow) edibles from a roadside if you can collect them away from the roads?
Exhaust fumes, small rubber particles coming off tyres - these all get absorbed into the surrounding ground and make their way into the flora.
If you (or anyone else) wishes to collect from roadsides, then fill your boots. It's all yours.
I'm just saying that I choose not to.
I don't care to spend time researching and analysing soil samples because I don't have to.
And, lucky for me, I don't have to because there are good sources away from the roads.
 

Kadushu

Full Member
Jul 29, 2014
263
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Kent
Diesel particulates would be my main concern now. I've cut hedges next to main roads and come away covered in vehicle soot. Glad I rarely find myself in an urban environment, knowing what the air quality is like. LEZ's theoretically excepted of course!
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,710
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S. Lanarkshire
Glasgow, the city I mentioned, is 32% covered in trees/park, and it's surrounded by a great deal more.

I don't believe that figure includes folks gardens, so that will add a great deal more to the whole 'green' air.

Since the 1960's Glasgow has made enormous strides to improve the air quality of the city, and as a child of that time, who didn't live in the city, but just visited, I watched in astonishment as wonderful architecture slowly emerged from the grime of the industrialisation hub.

Now the air quality is among the best of the UK's cities.
The Council still spends significant sums and energy improving that too.

I think this is pretty much true for most UK towns and cities though, we're very aware of air quality and pollution these days.

Trees growing on old industrial sites and the like still grow good food. The best cherries in our village are growing on an old bing (pit waste) where they were planted as part of a scheme to green up eyesores. Now it's a small park :) at a crossroads.
One of the folks in the village is a food scientist and she checked the fruits (mostly since it's near the school and the kids found the trees :) and her daughter was one of them who'd come home covered in purple juice) and she said that they were safe to eat, no worries, and what one would expect to find in supermarket fruits too.

Personally I do try to forage away from roadsides, above dog piddling height, etc., but I suspect that the city centre nuts are fine :)
 

Souledman

Member
Nov 14, 2020
33
22
Glasgow
In the centre of Glasgow, one of the busiest main streets that has been pedestrianised, there are massive crops of hazelnuts just falling off. No squirrels to eat them :)
Less than mile away as the crow flies, across the river, in the dead heart of the shipbuilding industry, there's another nut crop doing just the same, but this time it's sweet chestnuts :)

They all pretty much just go to waste :sigh:

Where are these do you mind my asking? I’ve noticed any hazelnuts in the city centre.
 

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