Something strange happens when you disconnect from the tech world and spend regular time in nature. Plants begin to pop out of the forest. Often while taking an evening walk, one plant or another will capture my attention. I will become obsessed with it. I will wonder - is it edible or medicinal?
Like most things on the homestead, the best path toward knowledge is to learn a few things at a time so that they become habits. Rather than try to learn every plant in the area in one weekend, focus on a few plants over time based either on something you wish to find, or on the latest plant that has captured your attention.
Nine years ago, when we made our big lifestyle move, I only knew that wild berries are dangerous, garden plants should be grown in tidy rows with lots of bare dirt around them, roses like a heavy pruning in the fall and require an antifungal spray, and lord help you if you nibble on a wild mushroom by accident. Unbeknownst to me, Mr. Kruse and the nearby forest had filled our yard with lots of wild edible plants ready for the forage so long as we did not hit them hard with a weed eater.
As the years have rolled by, things have changed. Bare dirt is almost impossible to find in the vegetable garden. What started as companion planting has evolved into a darwinian approach to seeding and hand cultivating beds. If it volunteers it stays where it is. Evening walks often yield the evening's salad. And the world is full of possibilities for new edible plants to learn about and more ways to avoid inflation at the grocery store.
- Watercress crowns
- Dryads Saddle Mushroom
- Baby kale leaves
- Baby lettuce leaves
- Hairy vetch
- Pea shoots
- Bee balm (to dry for winter tea)
- Dandelion (to make into a medicinal infusion)
Homestead 1, The System 0