After washing off the yarden harvest, we were just about to start the juicer when we saw this little guy crawl up out of the strainer. Not sure how I missed him but I’m just glad he didn’t end up in the juice.
Let me back up a little bit and explain how we got here.
We’ve been going through the (sometimes) time consuming process of identifying the plants that grow in our backyard. Most are classified as ‘noxious weeds’, meaning people who farm or want golf course lawns consider them hard-to-eradicate pests. But they are also edible and some are considered medicinal herbs by those Medicinal Herb type folks.
Today I pulled up some Common Sow Thistle to add to our Saturday juice. Sow Thistle looks like a Dandelion that survived prehistoric times and can grow over 6 feet tall – and this happens quite regularly on the side of my garage. Sometimes you just have to pull up your weeds and eat them before your neighbor complains that they’re knocking over his fence. Hypothetically, of course.
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By some accounts, Sow Thistle and Dandelion were both brought to America by European settlers as garden vegetables and food for livestock. Evidently livestock love Sow Thistle. I am not an herbalist and will leave it to you to peruse the many valuable resources online that talk to the vitamin and mineral content of these plants, and the ailments they’ve been historically used to treat. Suffice it to say I have done all that reading and I add them to my juice.
We’ve managed the back-yarden for at least four years with no chemicals. I think the organic regulatory standard is three, so I would consider these plants to be organic. For soil building in the grass area we spray an occasional bottle of beer through a hose end sprayer. This is supposed to feed the microscopic life that it often stressed and depleted from chlorine in the water. We also spray compost tea and let a lot of the grass fall for mulch, and we never bag it.
Joking aside, these plants grow like weeds. The yellow sorrel (sourgrass) is all over the place. Luckily it’s easy to pull up and it dies back pretty fast when the summer warmth dries out the soil we aren’t watering – so no harm at all. Up until last year I wasted a lot of time trying to keep weed-free paths until I watched a couple of videos from permaculture folks who said even weeds are good for yarden diversity and force “life” into your dirt as they convert sunlight.
So now I leave them. It’s also a lot easier than trying to use some of the fairly useless “organic” weed control methods, and the sorrel has beautiful yellow flowers in the spring. Check out the pic on the FB album of the latest sorrel, OXALIS TRIANGULARIS that some of our Tweeps helped us identify. It has really striking dark purple, triangular leaves with little white flowers.
So today’s juice is brought to you by the mighty beet and powerful beet greens, the tasty carrot, plain old celery, our friend apple, wild sow thistle, and rhymes with snail, kale.
With any luck, I will not be adding “eating them” to my recommended organic methods of snail removal.
For more resources on Common Sow Thistle click here.
Today I Nearly Ate a Snail by Brad Rowland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.