Since Nick and I bought our house back in 2019 we have been so busy haying, fencing, and all around farming somethings have gotten pushed to the back burner. One of those is keeping up with our lawn. Once the grass gets about 6 inches, so maybe once a month, the weed whacker and lawnmower get used. But from the lack of mowing we have an incredibly diverse ecosystem. An ecosystem that is more entertaining and educational then any grass lawn.
Our children are learning how to forage. Every season there is a new crop to reap that we didn’t plant. Since we stopped mowing our lawn we now have food that is growing simply by Mother Natures design. In the spring from April to May we have violets that cover our yard in hues of purple and white. The flowers are edible and although they don’t taste like much “raw” they make a great jelly. Then the lilacs come out and once again we harvest the flowers and make a sweet, honey like jelly. Dandelion leaves are wonderful in a salad. Just pick the leaves before the flowers come up. Once the flowers come up you can make a jelly from them as well,(but please leave some flowers for the bees)!
When we are harvesting violets Genevieve noticed some little white flowers growing, Strawberries. Wild strawberries covered our hill. Those were quickly stuffed into the cheek of Genevieve and Emmett. They ate them faster than they could be picked once they were ripe in June and we never did get enough in the pail to make a single spoonful of jam.
And while we were picking strawberries we noticed that we had hundreds of low bush blueberry plants.
Here we are in the first week of July and we spent a few hours today picking Blueberries. Genevieve diligently placed one in the bucket for every one she ate and Emmett was eagerly reaching into my bucket to eat them by the handful. Even JD was laying down in a thicket of bushes leisurely eating blueberries that were within reach. Genevieve is quite determined to get enough to make blueberry jelly.
Another favorite find in the yard is “sour grass” or “wood sorrel” which isn’t a grass at all. It has small clover like leaves and dainty yellow flowers. Genevieve and I were introduced to it by some very good friends.
And of courses there’s eating red clover flowers that are fun to munch on.
Next month Jewel weed will be coming into bloom. Growing up a childhood friend introduced me to this most amusing plant. By August the small, pretty, trumpet like flowers that are orange. If you break off the thin part of the flower a small drop of sweet nectar can be squeezed out. But the most amusing part of this plant is its seed pods. Once swollen they explode with a slight touch.
There is so much fun to be had in a yard that is more than grass. From berries to flowers our yard is constantly changing with the seasons and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Disclaimer:foraging is fun but please be safe and do not eat what you find unless you are 110% certain you identified it correctly.