Yep, yet another pit stop at the flower shop, er, market.
This time I really went there to get some fresh Basil to make a mean green spread. I mentioned in the previous post that I had collected Hosta, Loosestrife and Daisy Fleabane leaves, so pesto is definitely on the menu! To the pesto, I'm going to add some Dandy leaves, Mallow leaves, Chickweed, Lamb's Quarter and perhaps some Lemon Verbena and/or Anise Hyssop. I also purchased some GF Miso from the health food store and I find that this simple ingredient can really add a nice touch of flavor to any pesto/spread.
Since I'm planning on making 2 or 3 types of pesto this week (foraging for Milkweed and other lovely edibles is on the schedule), I got 3 Basil plants, 2 of Cinnamon Basil and one of Pesto Basil. And to add flavor (and because the plants I have I've used enough of their leaves) I also picked up a Lemon Verbena and an Anise Hyssop.
Once again, I spent some time chit-chatting with the flower market man. I was telling him about my pesto with Hosta leaves and that I was going to add the Verbena and A-Hyssop to it.
Interesting about the Hostas, he said. What else can you do with them?
I said I added them to juices and smoothies, and they were fine in soups and stews too. They're in the same family as asparagus, you know.
Really, he said.
Then I mentioned the flowers were also edible, not much taste, but fine to add to salads to pretty them on up. I broke off a flower and he tried it and said that yep, it tasted like a flower. As he continued chewing, he said it tasted like salad and he could see how the flowers could be added to a salad. Of course, he's a meat and potatoes kinda guy, so salads are a side dish on occasion ;)
While it had rained earlier today, by now the sun had come out and talking and being in the sun was such a pleasant moment...
I looked over the perennials, asking him if he had any Mums or Blanket Flower ~gifts for my neighbor~ but I finally just got her a Pepper plant as her seeds didn't take and he was out of the others.
I did bring home a few other friends, of course!! The Stevia I had gotten had one of her stems broken by the wind, so I picked up a friend for her and now there are two sister Stevias in the same pot :)
I also picked up 2 Butterfly plants, aka Pleurisy root. I had planted seeds 2x and still nothing showed, so when I saw them at the flower market, I said of course I'll bring them home and plant them in their pot! And I did indeed...now to wait to see them flower and attract the butterflies :)
I did see a monarch butterfly the other day, so rare to see them I find. Indeed, I think I see more flies that come and pollinate the flowers than any other bug ;)
And yes, I did get one more plant: Gentian. I know the root is used as a digestive bitter and to stimulate the liver/gallbladder to produce bile. It's also so bitter that other bitter plants seem not much compared to her.... I don't know, Dandelion, Wild Lettuces and Sow Thistles seem right up there on the bitter principle to me ;P
Now that I come to think of it, I placed her in a small pot, so will have to see if I can't find another place for her...maybe get another large pot. Her root is supposed to be as thick as a man's arm....better make that a tall one then! Maybe I'll pick up 2 tall planters next week as I need to repot one of my Aloes.
I had picked this Aloe up from the health food store, thinking I could use her sap to use in salad dressings. Of course, I never did (softie me about plants being friends and all), and she's gotten quite huge. Her leaves are spread out quite horizontally that she really reminds me of an octopus. She's a bit toppled to one side, so it's going to be time to upgrade to a bigger home.
And speaking of planting, after I got home, I planted all my new lovelies from the flower market (except the Basils, they can stay in their pots for now). I also staked the Tomatoes --- there are 3 plants and there's even another baby one coming in! And I made a trellis for the Cumber plants (there are 2 of them) by tying 2 small bamboo trellises together that I had purchased from the dollar store in a previous year. Not bad, since they are all growing in the bottom of a ferret cage :)
With the hot and humid weather, many of the plants have been surging forward:
Other news: I dug the garden at work!! It didn't take long to take up the weeds (I apologized to them before and did NOT dig up Dock or Dandy roots, heheh) and grass in this small area beside the deck. The earth is sandy and rocky, but that's what the boss OKayed. I spread various veggie herbs, the usual ones like Lettuce, Spinach, Chard, Tomato and Pepper, then all got watered and now it's to been whether anything will grow. I mentioned to my boss about the compost/topsoil, and then, ah, how the ego changes! At first, he was OK with the garden, then a new one came along that seemed put out at the "extra work" of procuring earth and having to water the veggie patch. What chores, I know ;)
I discovered a new friend growing right beside the Rose bush and Rhubarb that my landlord planted downstairs: Malva! The same Malva Rosea that I acquired just this year, but perhaps had given to my neighbor in a previous year (?). Question mark added as I'm not sure whether this was the kind she had last year, thinking more that the seed found its way to the area.
Also checked beside the shed and there are Violets, Plantain and Common Sow Thistle to be foraged ---probably on Wednesday to give time for the water to evaporate. I have to agree that the Common Sow Thistle is very mild tasting when young and the arrowhead leaves make it easy to identify. I'd definitely add (and have added) this as a green to pestos, smoothies and the soup pot (high in calcium, phosphorous and iron). The other types I find too rough and/or bitter and are better suited for green juices.
I remember that one of the Sow Thistles, the Field one (or arvensis) told me she was edible. I took a few of her leaves, cooked her and yet still found her disagreeable. Too rough for my tender intestines! The next year when I saw her and several of her friends growing in the same spot behind the mall, I decided to pick her up and add her to the juicer. Perfect! In small amounts, and paired with other greens and fruits, I'll take those minerals and Vitamin C she offers up to my body, thank-you very much!
Interesting what she didn't tell me was that her root can be used as a coffee substitute. Oh ho now, looks like I'll be digging me up some Sow Thistle and Dandy roots come fall...Oh no...digging for roots is not exactly on my fun, fun list. Doable, and done for the health benefits of course...and exercise, I suppose...
Alrighty, enough blah-blahing for now. Time to get out there foraging, sunshine, so sweet me, treat me, I'll be sharing all the details...soon enough. 'Til next time, sunshine :)
Got in the last of my seeds sowed! Is it too late to plant strawberries? Aw, shucks! Oh well...
So, here are the last of the herbs I planted:
Pleurisy root. Yep, she's a show stopper. I fondly write "bee love" next to plants that attract pollinators, and she's one of them! Well, she is also called Butterfly Weed :)
Elecampagne. Wow, didn't know she gets up to 6 feet! She's known as a pulmonary, which means she helps you out with lung issues, like asthma, cold, flu, etc. Because she has a demulcent nature, that slipperiness acts as a lubricant for sore throats and dry lungs.
Boneset and her cousin (Sweet) Joe-Pye-Weed, also called Queen-of-the-Meadow and Gravelroot. I talked about these in a previous post, where Boneset is used to break a flu and both are used as diuretics. Joe-P, well, I shoulda mentioned she's a sweet gal. Her leaves give off a vanilla smell when you crush them...Bee love, for sure! She's also supposed to be a helpful herb for cancer.
Pennyroyal. Being in the mint family, she's great for gas (carminative) and to help with digestive issues (stomachic). She's also antispasmodic, so good to help with menstrual cramps (emmenagogue).
I spoke of Valerian last time, although I finally got to planting her.
Anise Hyssop. I just love this licorice-scented plant! Beautiful flowers on a long stalk, such a great addition to salads to help with digestion. I usually add mint and some wild greens --- plus fruit, maybe some seeds and a touch of lemon juice--- to my salads!
That was yesterday! Today I bought a mint plant because I had 3 types of mint and they died! I never thought a mint plant would actually not come back, but winter was pretty harsh this time around. I don't even know what variety she is, but I'll be happy to add her fresh leaves to impart a refreshing taste come mid-summer in my salads; or maybe in a cold tea, too :)
My neighbor noticed that my mallow plant, malva sylvestris, is flourishing quite well. I have several plants growing in a large pot and I was going to give her one (gave her one last year and although supposedly a perennial, she acts as an annual, at least where I am), when I spotted some malva at the farmer's market. She was most delighted to see that an elf had left a gift on her doorstep (a really early Christmas gift, ha ha!). But elves are known for being tricksters, mischievous...
And speaking of mischief, I decided to plant my strawberries seeds after all. They are Alpine Strawberries, sometimes hard to germinate, or so I read, so I used ALL the seeds in the package! They can grow inside, so I figure that come October, I'll be having berries while everyone is hankering after pumpkins ;) Never been so gun-ho on pumpkins, anyway, once a year pumpkin muffins and cookies is just fine for me...But pumpkin seeds? Mmm, quite tasty indeed!
One last tidbit: wrote to Richters about the backordered seeds. Agrimony came in, but it could take weeks before Horehound and Motherwort come in. While I canceled my order for those last two, that means I may have to find a home for one more plant! UH-OH. Think I have a repurposed bowl and a small pot left. Wouldn't know where to put her anyway! But if she comes, yea! I'll find room for her, somehow I always do!
PS. Smiled when I saw Lamb's Quarter growing in the cracks in my neighbor's driveway. She was out pulling these "weeds," and despite me telling her about its spinach-like taste and having her try it, she was not sold! Just like she was not sold on all her Forget-me-nots growing in her garden, which I helped to pull out yesterday. Funny, because they covered all the empty spaces in her garden, and now, having pulled them all, my neighbor has to go shop for plants to fill up said empty spaces! The flowers of Forget-me-nots are edible, BTW. I tried them yesterday, and they don't have much taste, but they would sure pretty up a cake, cookie or even a salad with their delicate appearance! I'm adding the lamb's quarter as well as some dandelion leaves I collected yesterday from my neighbor's garden (growing FREEly, thank-you), to my soup, along with some radish leaves, daikon radish, beets, carrots and fresh basil which I purchased from the health food store today. Mmm-mmm, wild dinner awaits in celebrated bounty...or something of the sort ;)
Curiosity Got The Cat: