Spring Planting, Greens

Fresh greens are a favorite of mine, I like them fresh as in immediately after cutting.  More than any other food, greens are something I am more likely to eat wild than domestic.  No need to worry about Monsanto here, folks,  because wild greens are not on their radar… yet.

I have a local wild mustard that I tasted my first year here. It is clean and mild with a tiny mustard bite.  Really first rate on sandwiches.  My first winter I brought herb pots into the kitchen window and they were soon sprouting the same little mustard plants I had eaten during the spring.  These are not cultivated mustard, so no GMO or landrace species. They are wild.

Every place I have lived had wild mustards that I ate as greens, these are the first that moved into the house with me.  They are welcome in my home.  As they sprout up in the warmth of my sputh facing kitchen window, I don’t weed them out of my pots so much as eat the thinnings.   I pull most out when they get about 4 inches tall.  I leave one per pot that matures, flowers, and sets seed.  I make sure the seeds drop back into the pot.  They just keep coming up all winter.

The plants themselves are no more than 12 inches tall, lacy, with sweet white blooms.  They are endless microgreens with no work or expense.  Taste test your local varieties and see which you prefer.

Amaranth is another wild seed that I collected my first year and have used all winter to grow microgreens.  Between me collecting a 5 gallon bucket of seed heads and the Juniper berries not showing, the birds were on the ground eating Amaranth seeds all winter, and Amaranth were thin on the ground last summer.  I ate leaves from them but gave seed collection a rest. I hope this year is prolific.

The best tasting greens are wild violets.  The kind that are considered a lawn weed in the United States.  I can’t imagine why Americans do endless chemical battle against these little flowers.  I transplant mine to shady flower beds and let them make a thick green ground cover under shrubs where nothing grows.  Then I eat them.  Although I have always eaten wild greens, wild violets are the ones that had me finally give up trying to grow lettuce in Texas heat.  Violets are year round greens in Dallas, with no expense and no work.

Another tasty wild green is Lamb’s Quarters.   A friend donated them to me from her garden.  I barely got them home before a deer walked by and ate them to the ground.  They managed to recover enough to scatter seeds.  I had enough for greens last summer, but let all the seeds scatter again.  This summer will give an abundance.  I eat Lamb’s Quarters in salads, but it is my favorite green for stir fry.  It comes out perfect when briefly sautéed with green onions and served with meat.  Of all my wild greens, it is the most versatile.

Instead of recommending you eat the wild greens I do, I suggest you identify those pesky weeds that grow around your own home.  Go to Plants for a Future and check edibility.  Taste test.  All the Chenopodiums are excellent, but you may be collecting dandelion greens before long.  Wish I had them here, I could make dandelion wine as well.  Dandelion greens are a late winter delight, but get bitter tasting later in the year.  My favorites are good anytime.  Not that I haven’t eaten dandelions, who can resist the early ones?

I ordered Quinoa seeds this week.  They are a Chenopodium species like Amaranth.  Quinoa is from the Andes mountains and both seeds and greens have been eaten for millenia.  I will treat them as a landrace seed and plant right before monsoons start.

Of garden seeds, I find Cherry Bell radishes quick and easy for microgreens inside.  I have a 10 inch pot and grow radish greens.  Instead of eating at the sprout stage, I let them get about 4 inches tall.  Never eat radish greens from the store, they are nasty.  I reseed the radishes every week and have them all winter.  Come spring I will plant outside and let them go to seed instead of buying seed from Monsanto.

Any plant that has edible greens is easy to sprout and grow into microgreens.  I have grown many of them but now mostly grow wild greens inside and outside.  They require no care in the garden.  I have mine growing in my wildflower beds, which are extensive.  Amaranth makes a lovely structural plant behind a flush of Mexican Hats.  The greens on Mexican Hats are edible.  So far I just nibble them in the garden.

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About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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14 Responses to Spring Planting, Greens

  1. jgeerlings says:

    I was just noticing yesterday that violets had sprung up around my Egyptian walking onions. Thanks to you, they will be part of a salad I’ll try tomorrow.

  2. Jgeerlings, you won’t regret it. The leaves get bigger in the shade. Yum.

  3. Foxglove666 says:

    Hi Rebecca, noticed your blog on shtf and thought I’d follow. I’m not a stalker, I promise. 😉
    It’s just that some people are so rude to you there (philosopher) and it is unconscionable. All you do is try to share information and get others to politely share in return. It’s hard to watch and so beyond the pale.
    Anyhow, like I said…. I’ve got a BOL in the upper Skagit Valley, 2 acres on the river. Got a mountain and deep woods behind me, farm able land way above flood line on my place. Gonna do some experiments in the woods with mushroom permaculture. What are your thoughts on this endeavor?

    • Hi Foxglove666,
      Welcome to my home! P is a bit of a mental case, for sure, and I do my best to ignore his ravings. That site has no moderation, so anything goes. Nice location for your property, a tidy slice of heaven in my humble opinion. Are you planning on self-sufficient gardening with a mushroom cash crop? Do you know your hardwood mix, since that will determine which mushrooms you can grow.

      • Foxglove666 says:

        Yep, I also have like minded friends in the area that know which mushroom varieties grow wild where. We all figured we’d expand some areas with plug spawn.

      • Foxglove666 says:

        I much prefer modern survival blog dot com to the paranoid echo chamber that shtf has become. They have a very well regulated forum….Ken doesn’t tolerate the kind of disrespect of folks like P. There is also some great info there. I have spotted a few of the shtf folks there that have real info to share, our farmer from Hawaii being one of them.

  4. Helen says:

    Why do you not have dandelions where you are now?

  5. Foxglove666, I will go visit that site. Too much absurd behavior gets boring fast.
    Tell me more about your trees and mushrooms. I grew up in the PNW, it is ideal for pricey mushrooms and Seattle is a great market with sophisticated tastes. It is good that you know people in the area. Have you joined the mushroom society?

    • Foxglove666 says:

      Nope on joining the mushroom society yet. There are a bunch of us neighbors on the river who are growing various things and doing mixing and matching. One family is doing a fruit orchard, we’re doing veggies and experimenting with mushroom production. Others are doing heritage beef, others are growing medicinal herbs and plants. Kind of a loose group, but all of us are a bunch of rednecks who grew up a bit hard scrabble. We all know how to make something out of nothing. I come from a long line of rednecks and farmers. Could shoot anything that launches lead before I started kindergarten. I also have an extensive cartridge reloading setup and do a lot of custom reloading. I also do some pretty decent water systems.

  6. Foxglove666, nice for everyone to kick in.
    I checked out that site, much better! I logged in and introduced myself. I saw a couple people from shtf.

    In Texas, I had acreage in that kind of neighborhood, I provided vegetables and fruits, my neighbor provided beef and the occasional car repair, another was an electrician, and so on. It was great. I got a big pond for the cost of fuel. I helped one guy probate his mom’s death. I had beef in the freezer. When the neighbor had no water in the drought, I let him pump out of my pond. Even after I moved here, I sold a 1000 bales of hay for one guy over here in NM. He put a new roof on my place in Texas. That was team! They all did that for each other… they were all cousins and such, they just adopted me in.

    Economy collapsed and off to Seattle I went for a stinky job. I stayed here on my acreage this time.

    • Foxglove666 says:

      I have been in PNW over 20 years. Have a horse farm just north of Woodinville but selling it and splitting time half week on Skagit river and half week in condo in snohomish. Semi-retiring to 3 days work a week. Really looking forward to hunting, fishing and raising food. Got 2 acres on river plus neighbors have land and farms too. Our land backs up to mountains with hundreds of square miles of timber owned by company in California that has basically just forgotten about it. They let the locals have free rein to use it however they want. Hence, some mushroom permaculture forays……. 😉

      • Foxglove666, it really is paradise up there. I am from the PNW, lived in Alaska too. Family is in Maple Valley. Having a big parcel behind you is awesome, a wildlife haven. Mmmmmmm I grew up eating wild game. Mom and dad hunted, I was the nerdy child wandering around looking at plants! They fed me meat and I fed them wild plants. Mom was the best fisherman in the house. You get salmon run?

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