First Harvest

Broadleaf Dock

Beautiful days this week, and then, the weekend. Which included rain all day Saturday and rain all evening today. In the space between, I finally got a few good hours in my garden, and I got the first harvest–broadleaf dock. This is a weed to most people, but as I have mentioned before, anything that is edible and grows in my yard is worth putting on my plate. There is nothing wrong with foraging, especially when the times are tight and getting tighter with the demise of things like Share.*

I haven’t eaten dock before, it’s new to my yard, but I’ve been looking for recipes. It’s much too bitter to eat straight, and not in that dandelion or arguala lettuce kind of tasty bitter way. Instead, it’s rough and punchy, and I will try cooking with it and see if I like it. Since it was growing in my vegetable beds, most of it got turned into the gardens, but since it is a tap root, I have no reason to believe it won’t be back. How this cooking experiment goes will determine whether I let a plant or two survive or just work to eradicate it. No point in letting it grow if it is neither nice to look at nor tasty.

Somehow or another, I managed to buy two packets of eggplant seeds and two packages of beet seeds, so I think I will be eating a lot of that come harvest time. That’s okay, my other big thought this year is to plant pots full of lettuces and spinaches and other greens instead of rows in the ground. So if I have a ton of ground space dedicated to beets, it will be fine.

Because gardening has been an effort to find time between the rains, and sticking with my recent searches for Midwestern poets and authors, I have selected a poem to share that is called “Before the Rain.” It’s still under copyright, so here is an excerpt and the link:

Before the Rain
Lianne Spidel

Minutes before the rain begins
I always waken, listening
to the world hold its breath,
as if a phone had rung once in a far
room or a door had creaked
in the darkness.

[Read More…]

Did I mention that my other big thought is to put plantain and, if I can get it to establish, purslane into all the flower beds? Yes, it will be slow going, but if it eventually takes over the spots that are now places I’m fighting to keep clear of grass, it will be far more attractive. Purslane and plantain grow pretty much flat. And you can eat plantain and purslane. Even I am not so fond of foraging that I’ll eat grass.


Links helpful here:

UW-Madison Weed Identifier

Eat Weeds with a recipe I may try, except with maybe quinoa and lentils and bleu cheese instead of brown rice and feta and seaweed.

An Eat the Weed‘s discussion on Broadleaf Dock

And 19 common edible weeds in a post at Art of Manliness (many useful things there, even if you are not a man, and much less obnoxious than Maxim) so that you know what the hell I am talking about, here. Because we all know I am a guychick (that is, a grown up tomboy. Yay Androgynous gender!**)


*I am very upset about the loss of Share. They are closing because they can’t compete with Wal-Mart. Read that, think about that. I won’t get too liberal preachy, but think about what that means when the costs of fuel becomes so high that a volunteer-run, wholesale food buying organization can not compete with Wal-Mart. Share is no small organization, either, it encompasses most of the Great Lake states and some of the Mississippi-bordering states. We are living in a world where even when the poor band together to help themselves in the sort of way Republicans are always telling them they should be doing, they can’t help themselves. Half my case load is using Share, and the State of Wisconsin has been promoting it as a way to get good quality food with Food Share (the name of the food stamp program in WI) for years. For those people who *need* Share, this is a blow. One factor people who are not living at sustenance level tend to not realize is that even if you can get similar prices at the Wal-Mart super center, if you can’t get there, the prices don’t matter. This is where Share was really strong, because it came into the neighborhoods folks lived in.

**So, there are culturally acceptable words for women and girls who display an androgynous gender–tomboy, guychick, and although “chick” could be mildly demeaning, it doesn’t bother me when combined with guy. But what about boys & men who are androgynous in their gender? Nothing without derisive connotations comes to mind. Men deserve to have a good word that describes the state of being androgynous. It takes guts in our culture to be that guy and that guy deserves a good word.

Done now. 🙂

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