Monday, April 29, 2013

the end of april

pussy willow spring blooms

Well, here are those pretty spring blooms I promised a few weeks ago. In the final few days of April, we are starting to see major signs of spring. Leaves have started unfurling, the grass is greening up and dandelions are popping up here and there. As a studying herbalist, I have a soft spot in my heart for dandelions.

 dandelion dandelion greens

 As we worked to prepare our beds this weekend, I dug up all of the dandelions to use in the kitchen.

 first spring salad

The dandelion greens made it into our first spring salad of the year along with mixed lettuces from the local market, slivered almonds, and a few overwintered carrots that looked a little pale but still tasted fine.

 wild garlic

We also foraged some wild garlic to add to the salad. It's easy to find this time of year. Please note that if you're not familiar with wild foods, you should always have someone in the know help you ID the plant. Believe it or not, there are poisonous wild garlic look-a-likes, though they don't smell of garlic.

Dandelion greens are bitter, and this is good for the body, particularly in spring after eating heavy food all winter. Bitters are great for your digestion and easy to consume when added to a salad that is mixed with sweet lettuces. I also mixed up a sweet vinaigrette to temper the bitter greens a little.

A Spring Salad Dressing for Bitter Greens:

2-3 TB olive oil
1 TB raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
1 heaping Tsp dijon mustard
1 spoonful of raw honey (Thank you, honeybees!)
1 small tsp. of fennel seeds (also good for digestion)


Our heirloom tomato seedlings are looking good, and that's spilanthes in the front right of the frame.


 Two kinds of peas have been soaked, inoculated and planted: Cascadian snap pea and Laxton's Progress #9. I always like to have both snap and shell peas on hand. We like to freeze the shell peas and reserve the pods for making stock.

 brassicas in the field garden

Our brassicas (broccoli, variegated collards, Red Russian kale, Lacinato kale, green and red cabbage) are planted and protected with their little cutworm collars. We are looking for ideas of something we can interplant between them other than lettuce. If you have any thoughts, do let me know in the comments.


  1. "Bitters are great for your digestion" I love little bits of knowledge like this. Thanks.

  2. chamomile and dill are companion plants for brassicas, so you have those to consider. i love how nature prompts the right weeds and herbs to grow when our bodies need them, in this case our over-loaded winter food-saturated livers get the benefit of tender new dandelion shoots for gentle detox. and, we bundle them and hang them for the chickens to jump and eat. we have a 10 acre organic hayfield, and the dandies are really plentiful. dandelion wine is a fun thing to make with an abundance and then keep it a long while.

  3. Glad to see spring in your neck of the woods. Anise is another nice companion to brassicas, deterring pests and adding the best aroma to your garden.