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Siberian pea shrub

Siberian pea shrubA couple of readers on our homesteading blog asked why I was planting a Siberian pea shrub Caragana arborescens).  The answer is --- for chickens!  And bees, and nitrogen-fixation.  Eric Toensmeier includes Siberian pea shrub in his top 100 forest gardening species, so I figured I couldn't go wrong.

However, it looks like I might have ordered too quickly.  Despite Toensmeier promising that this native of Asia isn't invasive, a search of the internet turns up reports of invasiveness throughout the cold parts of North America.  Siberian pea shrub is listed as an invasive in Wisconsin and probably will soon be listed in Alaska and parts of Canada as well.

On the other hand, it's possible that we're too far south for Siberian pea shrub to really thrive --- the species is hardy from zones 2 to 7 and we live near the southern end of its range.  And, if all goes well, the chickens should eat all of the seeds, so there wouldn't be any for wild birds to spread around.

Even though I decided not to plant guomi for this very reason, I think I'm going to take a chance on Siberian pea shrub.  But I'll watch the surrounding woods with an eagle eye and rip it out if the plant seems to be invading.  Even if Siberian pea shrub beans are a great source of protein for our chickens, it wouldn't be worth adding a new invasive to our already-ailing wild areas.

Our chicken waterer keeps our flock hydrated while they hunt for wild foods.

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Do you have a recommendation on a good online source to buy Siberian Pea Shrub?
Comment by Kevin early Wednesday morning, March 6th, 2013
Kevin --- We ordered ours from Burnt Ridge Nursery, mostly because they had the mulberry varieties we wanted. I've had mixed success with Burnt Ridge's plants in the past, but I think that's mostly due to me pushing the envelope by trying to plant almonds in zone 6 with a lot of Japanese beetles around and not to the quality of their product.
Comment by anna at lunch time on Monday, March 11th, 2013

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