500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

Eating the weeds

April16

Over the last few weeks since Joann left the house has seemed very quiet.  We’ve been outnumbered by the animals. Jaakko has been concentrating on building the hen house, and I have been moving rubble out of the garden by the wheel barrow load. I’m really happy that reinforcements arrived yesterday in the form of American Chris and Hollander Michiel – it’s great to have the house busy again and hear interesting stories of other lives.

Slowly things are becoming green, but as yet there are no leaves on the trees. Some of the seeds that we planted inside have germinated – the broccoli, onions, wild rocket and sorrel have made an appearance, but none of the others… it’s possible that they didn’t react well to the cats climbing in the boxes. Today we’ve transplanted broccoli, and companion planted Nasturtiums with it (another edible plant). Michial has built a sturdy frame to protect the puny seedlings, and we’ve experimented with a few different techniques of plant protection using the cuttings from the apple trees and old net curtains.

This week, wet weather has necessitated a lot of indoor jobs – such as sorting out cupboards (I finally tackled the last cupboard left full of random things by the previous occupants – we needed the space for puppy proof shoe storage) and furniture restoration.  The rain has been good for the plants, however, and things have started to come up in the raised beds that Joann and Jaakko built. As the peas have germinated, they have been disappearing. We think it’s reasonable to blame the pup for this.

Nettles are one thing that we always have a lot of. I hesitantly sautéed a few last weekend – and ate tentatively before reading that it’s important to cook them thoroughly in order to get rid of the sting. Yesterday  I tried them as the green in herby puy lentils and they worked really well!  They have a sort of nutty taste.  Nettles are the first thing we can harvest here – I’m thinking of picking some more tomorrow to put in the freezer. You can eat them later on in the year but the new buds of spring are the best as they don’t have crystals in them which lend a gritty texture later in the year.  Also if I pick them now, that should mean we have less of a nettle invasion in the summer.

Today I found the first spring violets growing. I’ve sugared one flower – you paint it in egg white fluff then cover it in icing sugar. I hope that it works – such a beautiful, delicate taste – something my grandmother loves. Another discovery is that the bull rushes in the pond are called Cat Tail reeds in the US – and are a very useful edible plant.   The green shoots from this are nicknamed Cossack’s Asparagus, and the young seed heads can be baked and eaten like corn on the cob.  I also saw a recipe today for using dandelion root as a vegetable – as is done in Japan – a useful way to weed the garden (I find the leaves too bitter to use as salad leaves – I’ll leave that to the survivalists). As I was in the garden picking nettles today I noticed another distinctive leaf nearby… we have sorrel in abundance!

One Comment to

“Eating the weeds”

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