I’ve never been entirely comfortable with tilling. Don’t get me wrong I love digging in the dirt but I feel bad for all the things that I disturb. Worms, bugs, and plant roots there’s a whole world down there. Its all so alive and digging routinely seems like a sort of violation. Which is why I love perennials. You get the good part of digging to plant and weed but for the most part you can leave things to grow unmolested. Until my mom found Martin Crawford’s book I hadn’t realized that there were perennial vegetables.
This book is awesome. Not only does it have some discussion about how to grow a forest garden, explain about the benefits of perennial gardening to your garden and your health it also has an A-Z list of wonderful species of plants that you can grow, with pictures, descriptions of how to grow best and how to use in cooking. I would have to do more research to feel confident in picking and eating these plants but it really is a wonderful jumping off point. And I’ve never seen anything like it before. People who write gardening books mention in passing that flowers are edible or herbals mention what parts of plants are edible without mentioning cooking methods, but I have never seen a comprehensive collection of both growing edible plants and how to eat them before.
When I looked through the edible plants I was surprised to find that I already grow an edible species. Columbine is one of my favorite flowers and I have many plants in my garden and I had no idea that the new tender leaves, as well as the flowers are edible.
I also was excited to note that two species that I have seen everyday, near my house are edible and I had no idea. Day lily and linden tree also known as lime tree. The linden tree leaves are great to eat in salad like romaine lettuce and in pestos. Dried day lily flowers are eaten traditionally by the Chinese and called golden needles. But they are great eaten raw and fried with batter. Also they can be used to thicken soups and sauces.
Of course I will not be stealing plants form my neighbors but I feel as if I have been let in on a huge secret. There is food growing all around me and I never even knew it!