Seed Starting, Wax Currant (Ribes Cereum)

Yesterday I soaked my seed starters and will start 72 plants. My first choice is Wax Currant, which is native to the Western US and to Santa Fe County.

I will give wild Currants priority space in this batch of seeds, because it is a valuable addition to my circular economy and Food Forest. Wax Currant has edible leaves and berries, and is at home here in the mountains with no supplemental watering.

It is mule deer resistant (they are well fed on my property), and the early pinkish tubular flowers feed the hummingbirds early in the season. Because of this, I want Wax Currants near my potager garden.  Don’t discount the value of deer repellant around the vegetable beds, or the insect eating by hummingbirds. Wax Currants are pollinated by native bees and help sustain the bee population.

The bears like the berries, so I need a good number of Wax Currants uphill for their delight, if they can eat them before the birds.  I do not have as many berry plants as I would like, and hope to get a good sprouting percentage on the seeds.  I used 12 pots with about 3 seeds per pot.

In addition, Wax Currant is the host plant for Rocky Mountain Agapema (Agapema homogena) which is a native moth and which I have never seen here.  I may never see these nocturnal flyers, but if I see their black and yellow caterpillars I will know they are home.

Wax Currant will probably only get about 3’x3′ here, but it gets larger in Oregon where I first ate its berries.   It has an aromatic spicy scent, and mild berries to eat right off the bush.  Once I have a crop I will see about making a jug of wine from them.  If I get enough.  They make a nice tea and jelly, too.

Spring fever has hold of me.


About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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