There are no vegetables in the garden yet. It is so shameful. Work had been so overwhelming that I am only now renovating a small vacant space into a new vegetable garden, and only because I am unable to go to work at my most time consuming job. I needed to remove our berry canes to do it!

Until the garden becomes productive, and perhaps to avoid the supermarket, I have been getting much of my produce from the surrounding forest and landscapes.

1. mustard greens – are the most abundant of the greens growing wild around the perimeter of the abandoned baseball field. Similar wild radish and turnip greens are even better, but not abundant.P00328-1

2. dandelion – grows in the outfield of the same abandoned baseball field, mostly past third base. They are not my favorite, but are an alternative to the other greens. These are dirty from heavy rain.P00328-2

3. dock – is more randomly sporadic. It grows amongst the other greens and elsewhere, although not in significant colonies. The tough midribs are supposed to be removed. I just chop them up fine.P00328-3

4. miners’ lettuce – is the only native of these greens. Most leaves are circular with tiny white flowers in the center. These vegetative leaves are supposedly better. Like lettuce, they do not get cooked.P00328-4

5. stinging nettle – must be cooked to stop stinging. This is my favorite of the greens. It is like spinach that I do not need to tend to. I get it from along the trails where it should be eradicated anyway.P00328-5

6. Rhody – is not even remotely relevant to greens; but everyone wants to see him. Someone suggested that I write exclusively about Rhody, as if my horticultural topics are insufficiently interesting.P00328-6

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

50 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Greens

  1. Some of these ‘foraged foods’ are just about edible but little else. I agree that nettles are actually good and I make an effort to get some each spring. I actually grow miner’s lettuce – it is a marginal crop here in Europe. Once sown it usually sows around in the polytunnel, germinating in autumn and making a really delicious and useful winter salads. I love the fleshy texture and taste of pea pods.

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    1. I actually prefer some of the foraged produce to greens that I can grow in the garden, although I really could do without dandelions, and I only bother with miners’ lettuce if I have time to pick all those tiny leaves. What I like about the mustard, as well as the radish and turnip, is that while it grows wild, I do not need to devote any garden space to it. Otherwise, I would need to tend to turnip greens in the garden, just like any other vegetable. I will do so later, when the baseball field area dries up.

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    1. Do you find that it is still good while blooming? I collected blooming stalks last year, and dried the upper green leaves for tea. I am told that they taste badly, like so many other bolted vegetables.

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      1. That is an interesting observation. I have read that nettle makes a ‘delicious’ tea . . . just like everything else that makes a ‘delicious’ tea. I happen to like it with other tea, but I would not describe it as ‘delicious’. (If I simmer nettle in a small volume of water it takes much of the nutrients out of it, so I make tea with the leftover water.) I have found that dried nettle is more like tea, and mixes nicely with other goodies, although I still would not say it is notably ‘delicious’.

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  2. I somehow got into a patch of stinging nettles in the orchard a year ago. I never saw the plant, likely I brushed past it, but believe me, I knew in a short time what had happened. It was a most painful experience! I do like nettle tea though, and like most plants, the stinging nettle has good medicinal qualities!

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    1. Painful? I have heard that it can be painful. I only notice a tingling numbness. I hold the stems with a rag while cutting, or wear gloves. My hands are so calloused that I can pluck it after it has wilted a bit. I only need to be careful to not let it touch the backsides of my hands or fingers. I harvest it from the edges of trails before collecting it farther back from the trails, just so others are less likely to engage it while walking through.

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  3. This is admirable foraging. I think you could make soup with the nettles. Friend told me about getting nettle soup in the Baltics. I didn’t know it tasted like spinach. I’ve been able to get dandelion greens and field cress recently, but not enough to be anything but an addition to salad.

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    1. Admirable? It is not much more than weeding. I should have gotten a picture of the cress too. I do not collect much of it just because it does not last long. Besides, it is not as abundant as the others. Some of these greens are good long after they should be. Even when their greens are done, the stems and flowers of the mustard, radish and turnip are good too. I have not done anything with their pods though. I suppose I could pickle some if I get them before the seeds get too hard.

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      1. Some are better than what I can grow in the garden. I put a bit of effort into turnip greens, but they are no better than what grows wild in the ball field.

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    1. I would not recommend foraging to those who do not recognize what they are foraging for. There are too many very toxic plants out there! That is why I do not hunt for mushrooms. I do not know what is what out there.

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  4. I started getting miner’s lettuce volunteers two years ago, now have a big bed of it. It is delicious used as the main green for a salad. I was really surprised the first time I ate it. Like lettuce, but thicker leaved.

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    1. It is remarkably good. One would not expect that from such an innocuous weed. The only reason I do not eat more of it is that the leaves are so tiny, and take so long to collect enough of . . . and I still prefer most of the others.

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  5. What an excellent post for the moment. You’ve given me a nudge, since I’m always thinking I should use my many nettles. Do you steam them – I know that later on they are inedible (because of the sting?). And, as everyone says, we need to look at a nice guy like Rhody at the moment.

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    1. They are probably best steamed, since the process does not ruin or leach out as much of the nutrients. I sometimes just simmer what I want in a small volume of water, and then make tea with the leftover water. There is no point in wasting what boiling takes out of them. Otherwise, I just fry them quickly in a pan after cooking something else in it, or put them on top of potatoes in their last few minutes of frying. They are quite flimsy, so cook quickly.

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      1. Hey, I didn’t think of that. Their sting could be less potent before the foliage matures? They do happen to be better while young. Those who are more discriminating collect them while very young and tender. I just prefer to let them mature somewhat to get more foliage from them. By the time the lower leaves start to discolor, they are about as mature as they should get. They produce no more on top than they will shed down low. They are not as good once they start to bloom. However, I will continue to take them anyway.

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      2. The younger and fresher concept is probably better, and not so wilted. I can do it my way because I do not care if they are wilted if they are to get cooked anyway. Fresh is probably better for most applications though.

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  6. Are all dandelion greens edible — I periodically accidentally grow a huge dandelion, and wonder if it would make good food, but don’t quite trust myself to eat it without asking first! Lucky Rhody — impervious to all the stuff going on around him!

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    1. They are edible, and some people really like them. I am none to keen on them, but will eat them if I happen to find some good ones. I ignore most because they are runty and low to the ground. They are not easy to wash. I don’t know why, but grit seems to stick to them like it does to spinach. They are quite bitter and tough, so I chop them up finely. Bigger and fluffier foliage is less bitter, and not so dirty.
      Rhody is not exactly impervious. He misses his staff.

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    1. Foraging? I think of it as grazing. I get only greens so far. There is no fruit yet. I never get any nuts. Oats and starch vegetables are not worth collecting. The herds of turkeys that were so abundant and bothersome a few months ago are suddenly gone, with only a few individuals roaming about. The salmon who go by at night are tempting, but are too rare to bother. (We are quite protective of our salmon, and even trout.) Even the deer that are so bothersome elsewhere, stay away. The absence of deer has always been advantage at work, but now I am starting to wonder. I would need much more from the supermarket or pantry if I had a family to support. Rhody does not eat greens, but does not eat much anyway.

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    1. They ‘can’ but most of what I find are rather exposed and tough by the time I get to them. They would be better if closer to the partial shade of the forest, and before they mature. Some people prefer them to nettle because they are more substantial, like other greens.

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  7. We made our first nettle soup of the spring season yesterday, not because of necessity, due to not wanting to head to the supermarket, because it is delicious. It made me laugh, I can see on my blog statistics which images are looked at, generally Fiona, our greyhound receives the most looks, rather than my plants !

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    1. Of course; Rhody is the most popular subject here.
      I had not made nettle soup yet, just because I am none to keen on soup. However, now that I am simmering more nettle in water (and then making tea with the little bit of water), I am thinking that I should try some sort of soup. I would probably just make a vegetable soup though, rather than the more traditional pureed nettle soup. I lack the contraption needed for blending it.

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      1. Vibrant color? Is it blended, or a clear soup with other vegetables? The tea I make with dried nettle is the color of tea, but ‘tea’ made with water from simmering fresh nettle is really bright green. It does not look good for tea, but it works.

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      2. Yes, that is how most make it. It is an opaque green that looks like it might taste weird. I do like nettles though, regardless of the bright green.

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