Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December Bonus

Wild Plants and Wooly Bears

December 1 usually marks the end of the year for foragers. But yesterday, I sat down to a plate of freshly-dug dandelions. These had grown in and around the edges of my vegetable garden. Unseasonably warm weather gave dandelions and a few other wild greens a chance for one, final push.

I had triple-tilled the garden this fall, in order to fully mix some sand that I had added to improve the soil’s tilth. So it surprised me to see dandelions poking their little, green heads up. But it just goes to show how tenacious these “weeds” are.

Soon, long stretches of below-freezing weather will put a final end to such shenanigans and my dandelions will have to come from the freezer, not the garden. But for now, I’m pleased to have continuing access to fresh, wild food.

I decided not to harvest a patch of chickweed, dark green and enticing, growing on a raised, “lasagna” bed. Since chickweed persists throughout the winter, it will be there when snow melts in spring. And by then, I’m sure I’ll need the cheer afforded by the first, wild plants.

What an odd, in-between month is December. Not yet winter, and well past fall. So until the proverbial hammer finally falls, I’ll gladly accept what nature offers.

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