My growing season has consisted of propagation in April, planting in May, harvest and weeding from June to September and harvest and planting September to November. Here in the Northeast in the last four years our entire growing season has shifted from March - October to April to November. I am a purist and a simpleton. I have no desire to jump the season and start seed under lights. I wait for the sun in a greenhouse. My journey is harmony with Earth. Honor and respect for Mother. I do recall it becoming cold pretty quickly last November, though. We have experienced extremes of temperature here in the Northeast over my thirteen years upstate. I have become fearful of the cold. I heat up quickly (hot flashes, though I've been a Hot Mama my whole life) and I cool down quickly as well. We often dip down into the single digits in Winter, not to mention regular snow.
This season, though, I have been, instead of planting Hiddenbrooke (my herb garden) in particular, weeding through May. I realize I should have killed the grass before I planted. My method at Groundwork (my old herb garden) was to kill the grass then dig it up with a cultivator, but I felt I took up too much soil (at least 2 - 3 inches) so I didn't want to do the same this time so I pulled the grass instead. As I write here I realize it is not grass that I am weeding right now, but Sasa or Stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum, Poaceae, Annual, Asia) so technically, by pulling the grass I did kill it making way for Stiltgrass.
I wanted to open six beds this season. I probably still can through Summer and then plant them in Autumn maintaining my process. I have black plastic that I can lay down to kill the grass. I think that I am engaging the space and making way for the new plants. The garden has always been grass.
I engage space, allowing the wild to dwell and, depending on the garden, incorporate my Plant Family be it vegetables or herbs. Half the herb plants are wild and it is quite the adventure to allow them. Flora Jones Garden has become my wild forage garden. I do plant a spiral of vegetables, but for the most part, the garden is wild (to the great chagrin of the neighbors).
Lawn is considered a sign of wealth and English envy, harking back to the rolling hills of the English countryside. I'll take a lawn with the added color of Ground Ivy, Dandelion and Violet any day. Incidentally delicious and nutritious plants. The Establishment will never shake off their royal Motherland regardless of all the cries of "America." We will always be steeped in our British origin, not to mention Dutch, French, Spanish - awwww heck Europe, not to mention Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America - a melting pot after all. Hey, I was born in England, so I get it. Turtle Island will always be steeped in the indigenous, thankfully regardless of all the attempts to rename it with European names (Tappanzee/Cuomo Bridge). Those so-callled "immigrants" down South are in the process of reclaiming Mexico. Don't get it twisted. Europe is white (barely), Turtle Island is red and always will be. The sooner we recognize that fact the easier the transition will be, otherwise it will continue to get ugly. Lawn is wasteful (water) and poisonous (herbicides) to our environment in an effort to keep it green. There are many alternatives.
Though I am challenged by Hiddenbrooke at the moment I do enjoy the arrival of Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea, Labiatae, Perennial, Turtle Island, Caucasus, Europe), which creates a lovely blue mat of flowers in Spring and can be used for Wild Salad and tea, is a blood cleanser, tonic diuretic and expectorant.
Dandelion, (Taraxacum officinale, Asteraceae, Perennial, Northern hemisphere) is thought to have been brought by the Vikings 600 years ago, who were not interested in conquering. Dandelion is the yellow flower found in lawns in early Spring. It is highly nutritious from leaf to flower to root. Leaves have vitamin A, B, C and E and minerals, is diuretic and detoxifies the blood. The flower can be made into a nourishing wine. I am taking Dandelion root tincture through menopause to support the liver and kidneys as they process the extra hormones.
Violet (Viola odorata, Violaceae, Perennial, S., C. & W. Europe) has a pretty purple flower that has been candied. The leaves contain vitamins A and C and can be used for Wild Salad and tea. They also contain saponin, are diuretic, expectorant, alterative and mildly laxative.
Plantain (Plantago major, (broadleaf), P. lanceolata (narrowleaf), Plantaginaceae, Perennial, Eurasia), is known to the natives as "white man's foot" because everywhere the colonists went, Plantain came up. I think it is a statement to the power of herbs that the European heading to the "new world" would bring this valuable herb with them. Susun (Weed) says they wouldn't have been that smart. Plantain leaves can be used in Wild Salad, the Narrowleaf variety is sweeter. The entire Plantain plant contains our Omega 3s. We can have the leaves in salad and collect the seeds to sprinkle on rice or oatmeal through Winter.
Aster (Aster ericoides, Asteraceae, Perennial, Turtle Island) is an edible leaf with a white spray of flowers in Autumn. Aster macrophylla is also a tasty leaf with a lavender spray of flowers in autumn.. Astringent.
Mugwort (Artemisa vulgaris, Asteraceae, Perennial, N. Africa, Siberia, Europe) Mugwort is a sacred plant in Asia, Europe as well as to the indigenous of America. She can be dried, for tea and smudge. Whole plant vinegar, aids digestion, regulates menstruation, balances out the energy of menopause. Use sparingly in Wild Salad because she has a strong flavor. Avoid when pregnant.
Clover, (Oxalis acetosella, Oxalidaceae, Perennial, Turtle Island, Asia, Europe,) A tasty lemony flavored leaf that can be used for Wild Salad or lemonade. Astringent, diuretic internally, externally soothes rashes and boils. Large doses can block the absorption of calcium.
Lamb's Quarter (Chenopodium album, Chenopodiaceae, Perennial, Europe) Leaves contain vitamis and minerals, complete protein, folic acid, leaf poultice soothes sore skin, avoid shoots if one has kidney problems. Highest level of protein of any green. The leaf is a tasty, nutty flavor in salad. The young stem is also edible and with the leaves can be made into pesto. I recently had Lamb's Quarter cooked and the flavor is enhancee when done so. The seeds are ground into flour.
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense, Leguminosae, Perennial, Europe) A pretty pink flower this season. The leaves and flowers can be eaten in Wild Salad and the leaves can be cooked. High in iron, chromium and B vitamins. Leaves, flowers, infusion monitors overflow of menses, reduces cramps, promotes fertility, reduces hot flashes, treats breast cancer.