Hello Little Bend Friends. You may be baffled by the title of this blog or think that I have gone crazy! Well I have not gone crazy and the title means exactly what it says “Have you eaten your lawn today”?
Okay so some explanation is in order so let me explain. This blog is about the plants that you can find in your own backyard (or front) that you can eat and when you do you will find them delicious and good for you. You see what we traditionally call weeds are really just plants that we don’t care for and try to get rid of. However; these plants are really beneficial to you, your yard, and the ecosystem in general. There are many plants that you can eat but for this blog I am going to talk about just a few that are readily distinguishable, plentiful, and very good to eat. Some of the plants are even know to have medicinal uses! But that is a coversation for another day!
First I need to put out the standard disclaimer: NEVER eat any plant that you can’t recognize OR know where it came from. By that I mean be sure that it is what you think it is and know for sure that it has not been treated by any chemical. If your lawn has been treated by herbicides or insecticide then please DO NOT EAT YOUR LAWN – If you have a treated lawn .I would even think twice about walking on it! Also, be sure to thoroughly wash the plants before consuming them. You may be tempted to use salad dressing on your “wild salad” which is fine but I invite you to try them plain to really enjoy the taste first.
So the first plant which happens to be one of my favorite because of it’s versatility, plentifulness, and it’s beautiful flower that my honey bees love. It is the common dandelion! I know this plant is the scourge of quite a few lawn owners but perhaps you may look at it a different way after I tell you about it.
The common dandelion or Taraxacum is so versatile that every part of the plant can be eaten from the leaves, to the flowers, even the root. In fact a lot of the leafy green organic salads mixes you can buy in the grocery store probably contain dandelion leaves. The flower can be eaten as well and it has a slightly bitter sweet taste. It can also be used to make a dandelion wine. In fact; I remember my mother talking about making dandelion wine as a child and you can find many recipes to do so on the Internet. The root can be roasted or dried and then ground up and used as a coffee substitute. I have tried this and yes it does indeed have a coffee taste.
The next plant that I keep in my salad repertoire is a plant called Lambs Quarters or Chenopodium album. This plant grows almost as prolifically as the dandelion and it has a spinach taste to it. I generally eat the leaves of the young plants as they are the most tender.
The third plant is the Plantain or Plantago major this plant is very common and it is very tasty as well. Again I use the small tender leaves as a larger ones tend to be slightly woody but can still be eaten. The seeds and the flower head can be eaten as well. In fact the seeds although it is quite laborious to gather can be dried and ground-up and used as a flour substitute.
Another plant is called the Wood Sorrel or Oxalis acetosella. This is one of my favorite plants and I use this as a garnish for almost all the salads that I eat even the ones from the grocery store. It has a wonderful lemony tart flavor to it. I remember my grandpa showing this plant to me when I was a child walking around the farm. He ate is because it helped quench his thirst. I like this plant so much that I grow some of them in a planter so I can have it all year round. It looks much like clover but it is more distinguishable because the leaves are heart shaped while clover leaves are not.
Speaking of clover the last two plants I will talk about are the red clover and the white clover. Both of these plants are very good to eat and you can eat almost all the plant as well. You can eat the leaves and the flowers and they’re very plentiful in most yards or roadsides.
This is only a small selection of the many types of plants you can eat. There are others such as chickweed, purslane, nettles, creeping charlie, chicory. Even flowers like the rose, day lilies, and tulips can be eaten although I am not as big of a fan of those!
So the next time you look out your backyard and you see those yellow dandelions, the red clover, or any of the other plants that I talked about go out there and snip some plants off and try them with your meal. I think you will find them very delicious!
Lastly, I want to leave you with something you can find on the Internet which is some humor about lawn care. I found it interesting, humorous, and so very true about people and the relationship with their lawns.
GOD AND ST. FRANCIS DISCUSSING LAWNS
GOD: Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.
ST. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
GOD: Grass? But it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It’s temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes twice a week.
GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST. FRANCIS: No Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
GOD: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.
GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
ST. FRANCIS: You aren’t going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It’s a natural circle of life.
ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.
GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?
ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
GOD: And where do they get this mulch?
ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.
GOD: Enough. I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have they scheduled for us tonight?”
ST. CATHERINE: “Dumb and Dumber”, Lord. It’s a really stupid movie about…..
GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog about eating your lawn as much as I enjoyed writing it and as always:
God bless friends and we’ll gobble at ya later!