Kalin Art & Spirit

Gardening as a Spiritual Endeavor

I’ve spent this Sunday morning celebrating Spirit by gardening- I figure being a good steward of the Earth honors the patch of it I attend to. If I ever get rid of all the bindweed, somebody owes me a plaque!!

An important bit of knowledge for any land owner, that includes any home sited on a bit of grass, is to Know Your Weeds. There are good ones and bad ones. There are good ways and bad ways of dealing with them. DO NOT go out and buy pesticides or herbicides like ‘RoundUp’ and spray every living thing in sight, especially on windy days! The over-spray can kill your neighbors organic produce, bees and other helpful pollinators.
Contact your local state extension office to identify weeds or problems with your lawn before you do more damage to Mother Earth. Their number is online and in the phone book. It’s kind of like “Calling the utilities company Before You Dig”~ Very Important to do.

Today I’ve been battling the dragon ‘Spurge’ – usually a worthy opponent, but after the last two days of heavy rains it doesn’t stand a chance. I know I should eradicate it, because it’s a nuisance, but it’s so lovely the way it edges the walk up to the house, like a yellow petticoat under a green hooped gown, that I can’t exterminate it altogether. Besides, it’s one of the few plants that holds up year ’round in the Denver weather – which is saying a LOT. Someday I will find a better replacement.

I gathered a bunch of lovely dandelions, which I will wash and cook for tonight’s dinner’s greens.
They are edible, and especially good with hot pepper sauce [yellow pepper vinegar]. Dandelion greens have lots of vitamin C, have diuretic properties and have been long used as a Spring tonic. People used to look forward to Spring Greens in order to prevent scurvy/gout after a long winter without fresh veggies. Be sure to bring to a boil in water. Drain first batch of water and reboil in change of water in order to leech out bitterness.
Some people make Dandelion wine. My parents did one year and I sampled it. It was much like Chardonnay, but a tad bitter. I’m not a wine person but they liked it.

When gathering edibles make sure you correctly identify the plant and then don’t go hog wild and gorge yourself on something new. Duh. Be sensible in your tasting new things.
Find a County extension office Master Gardener, someone who has training in identifying plants, or an old-timey gardener, [someone over 60 years old who has long gardened in your region] and who knows what’s what, to help you discover edible wild plants. Some community colleges offer classes on edible wild foods. I encourage you to take a course and discover a new outlook on Mother Nature.

There are lots of weeds that are edible *in my region* for example, alfalfa, dandelion greens, chickweed, burdock, chicory root, amaranth, catnip, red clover, wild strawberries, sage, yarrow, and mints to name a few of the most common and benign. So instead of spraying them to death, try pulling them out, washing thoroughly and steaming them or making tea with them. Once you read up and know your weeds you will look at them in a much different light!

Susun Weed is a naturalist who has extensive familiarity with healing herbs. Google her for info.
Other resources;
pg 284 Food Remedies – Rodale Press pub, Selene Yeager editor
Medicinal Plants of the [Mountains West] – Michael Moore [regional editions exist]
Readers Digest Handbook “Herbs” – Lesley Bremness
Home Herbal – Penelope Ody
State Extension Offices

originally published April  25, 2010


Posted in Gardening by kalin on August 19th, 2012 at 7:44 pm.

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