I decided to reblog this post from last spring because this is the time to start thinking about utilizing your edible weeds, before you have hoed them all out. Lambsquarters, also called wild spinach, is one of the most accessible of wild greens, with a mild flavor that can be used in any spinach dish that you fancy. it grows everywhere and grows with lightning speed, and so you can get an excellent crop around your standard crops. Just be sure to harvest it at about six weeks so that the other crops in the bed can take over. If you are unsure how to identify it, get “Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate” by John Kallas, and no doubt you will learn to identify several wild greens in your immediate area, and learn delightful ways to prepare and cook them. Just keep in mind that lambsquarters is more nutritious than many of the things you are planting on purpose.
I’ve written a lot at various times about the Holy Trinity of edible weeds: lambs-quarters, amaranth, and purslane. In this post I don’t plan to say anything much about harvesting and cooking lambs-quarters, Chenopodium album, since I’ve said that already and the short version is “harvest them young, collect as little stem as possible, and use them like any other mild-flavored leafy green.” Personally I dislike the texture and mouthfeel of the raw leaves intensely, and only like them cooked, but others see it differently. This is their great season; after midsummer they are very eager to make seeds and are no longer very usable as a leafy green.
The focus today is on how to have them in your garden without losing everything else. They are highly competitive. First, don’t just let a nice big plant go to seed in your garden, unless you have a lot more space…
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