It’s spring and it’s gardening time again! It was the shortest winter in history (although I perhaps would not have said that mid-January). I planted a few of our beds a couple of weeks ago. It’s our seventh gardening season in our backyard, and I actually sort of know what I’m doing now. It helps that I have two eager helpers. Ezra, who’s six, and Ira, who’s two, love the garden! Their faces light up at the very mention of planting.
Once we’re in the garden, our activities usually go like this: Ezra and I till a bed. Ira finds a “wormy.” Ezra and I spread fertilizer on a bed. Ira plays with the wormy. Ezra and I plant some seeds. Ira finds another wormy. Ira is enthusiastic about invertebrates.
We’re excitedly watching starts grow and seeds sprout, and we’re already harvesting a bit of lettuce and kale that self-started, perennial herbs, and lots of dandelion greens. Have I mentioned it’s prime dandelion harvesting season?
Wild foods tend to be much more nutritious than the produce in our supermarkets or even farmer’s markets. Jo Robinson, author of Eating on the Wild Side, explains that when we bred the bitterness out of our produce, we also lost nutrition. “The more palatable our fruits and vegetables became … the less advantageous they were for our health.”
Fortunately, despite many efforts to eradicate it, most of us have a wild edible green growing in abundance all around us, and it’s a nutritional powerhouse. A half pound of dandelion greens provides:
- 649% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin K,
- 338% of your vitamin A,
- 58% of your vitamin C,
- 39% of your iron,
- 20% of your Riboflavin,
- 19% of your calcium,
- 19% of your vitamin B-6, and
- 9% of your dietary fiber
Don’t let all those nutrients go to waste! Check out this post or this article for more information about this humble super food and recipes. This year I can’t wait to try Rachel Turiel’s dandelion pesto.
We’ll likely be seeing many more April showers, but you’ll hopefully find us sloshing around the garden playing with wormies or armed with a colander eying our neighbors’ weeds. Wishing you some similar spring-time revelry.
Is it gardening season where you live? If so, what’s coming up in your garden? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.