Foraging today was right close to home, in my neighbor's garden!
Wouldn't you love to have someone come to your home and weed your garden for free?
Or maybe, in exchange for some of your "stinky weeds," to have someone educate you about the edible and medicinal uses of said weeds, growing right in your own backyard?
Not everyone is open to that last suggestion, but many are open to the first.
For example, my neighbor.
I ran her doorbell and asked her permission to raid her garden of weeds.
Be my guest, she said, both the back and the front, weed away!
So I did :)
This year, she had a lot of Mallow growing in her yard. Mallow Moshchata also called Rosea. Pretty pink flowers, I partook of the leaves to dry for future teas.
I collected a good bushel of Wood Sorrel, and am soaking the plants to make a sun tea. Very easy to do, trim any roots/earth off, then chop or wring plants into pieces. Place in large bowl, add water plus 2-3 inches to cover. Let sit 30 minutes to overnight. Strain out liquid. Add stevia to sweeten. You can also add in the juice of 2 lemons or do half Sorrel-ade with half Lemonade. I'll post the recipe shortly on the site, probably tomorrow :)
Of course, I'm thinking about going foraging tomorrow too, so we'll ;) The weather is looking sunny and bright this week and I have the next few days off work, so foraging is most definitely on the menu!! :)
Back to the yard: I snipped off a few Dill sprigs for my next pesto. Mmm, the one I made today was a HUGE one with mixed wild edibles: leaves from Loosestrife, Mallow, Violet, Dandelion, Pellitory, Chickweed, Strawberry, Common Sow Thistle, Creeping Charlie, Creeping Bellflower, Nettle, Lady's Thumb, Groundsel + Nasturtium, Mustard & Hosta leaves, 2 heads of Broccoli, Basil for freshness and taste, Sunflower seeds for a healthy fat, and Miso and Sea Salt for healthy probiotics and taste. Absolutely yummy with Cucumber, Zucchini or your fave cracker/flat bread :)
Actually, I did collect a few wild edibles from her yard for the next pesto: mainly Pellitory, but a few Dandelion leaves and Sorrel leaves.
When it comes to Sorrel, I'm not too keen on the stems. In fact, since the only part that I want to use are the leaves, I pinch off just the leaves and leave the rest of the plant. To make Sorrel-ade, the whole plant is used, so you can go ahead and uproot them. Wood Sorrel is invasive (at least where I live) so no one will mind!
I noticed a few Groundsel plants hiding behind the Tomatoes and Beans, and took but a few leaves, otherwise leaving them alone.
In the front of her yard, those Mallow plants grow fast! And even though I had pruned them of some leaves just last week, I was able to fill 2 dehydrator trays full of more leaves. Really, you'd never even know I had been there, which is a good rule to follow for foraging, UNLESS it's the end of the season/end of the life cycle of the plant.
And speaking of end of season, it's already August and driving by Buckthorn Woods and seeing the Goldenrod, I realized I have yet to pass by! I find Goldenrod is best to harvest (at least where I live) in August. By the time September rolls around, upon harvesting the top 1/3rd of the flowering plants, the flowers quickly turn to white fluff, right there on your dehydrator tray/table!
August means we are now approaching late summer, and the energy of the plants will soon start to take a downward turn, harboring the energy in their roots. That means soon it will be hard labor, I mean, root digging time, such as for Yellow Dock, Burdock, Dandelion, Chicory and many others. Oh joy! ;)
Late summer to early fall also means harvesting time, and already at work I started collecting some of the Chokecherry berries. The Crabapple tree did not make Apples, but then no one is interested in them but me! And that's OK, because as I mentioned in a previous diary entry, there are Apples waiting to be harvested on the church grounds!
I did a bit of harvesting in my own balcony garden today, mainly Nasturtium and Mustard leaves. There's another Cucumber waiting to be harvested and I've been telling the Cuke plants Yes, Yes, YES! I would really like more Cucumbers, thank-you, please! The Cherry Tomatoes are popping out, still all green, and the Pepper plants I planted are now in flower. They seem to be gaining in strength, and I'm thinking there will be some Peppers to be harvested come the fall. Good thing, too, because Bell Peppers are darn expensive!!
The Radish seeds I planted have taken hold and those Bee-stung lip leaves are kissing up at me and the sun (and anyone else who is hankering around ;)). The Purslane seeds I added to the Lavender pot really took well. She looks fabulous and is absolutely loving her home! I harvested some of those omega-3 rich leaves and added them to my pesto today. Very mild and tasty, delish!
I planted some more Dill seeds in a few empty spaces I found in some of the pots and am considering planting some more Cilantro seeds soon, as she prefers cooler weather. Well, many of the greens do appreciate the cooler weather, such as Kale and Lettuce.
Ha ha, I noticed that all of the Mints are being sneaky and trying to escape their pots! All of them had sent out at least one long shoot, trying to find a foothold into the soil. Since I have an empty pot where Wormwood should be (no seeds have sprouted forth), I decided to cut off those shoots to replant them into the pot. The shoots are now resting in some water, although I suppose I could plant them directly into the soil and cover the pot with a bag to create a greenhouse effect. The roots should be noticeable after 2 weeks... Goody, because I've really been enjoying adding Mint to my daily cocktail infusion :)
Funny thing, as I was taking out the Pellitory plants from my neighbor's garden, I realized that the plants change from year to year. Indeed, I found that once I identified what the plant was (in this case, Pellitory), I then began to see her everywhere!! I found the same thing happened when Lamb's Quarter was afoot everywhere...I noticed her, and then I was noticing her everywhere! This year, interestingly, she's around, but not everywhere. Nope, this year Groundsel had put in an appearance, and lots of Mallow! Every year is different and it's so nice to be able to appreciate the bounty and beauty of what Mother Nature has to offer. I sure do! :)
And on that sunny note, sunshine, time to be signing off, because the next sunny adventure is just behind the next horizon :)
Curiosity Got The Cat: