I don’t weed my lawn. I eat it. One of the earliest food crops in my yard is bittercress, a member of the Cruciferae family of green plants (think mustard). It’s a pretty invasive plant that enjoys cold and wet conditions such as those we typically experience at this time of year. Reviled as a weed or served as a lightly spicy precursor to watercress and arugula, bittercress is useful as a garnish when parsley and other herbs are fast asleep. It keeps well so I harvest a bunch before the plants go to seed and keep it in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
Then there are dandelion leaves to harvest, before the plants get large and flower. If you’re trying to eliminate them from your lawn, this is a good time to dig them up since the roots are still shallow. The leaves are edible (as are the flowers) and make a good salad ingredient. Later, when they’re larger, I’ll wilt them in a bacon and vinegar dressing, but right now they’re very tender so I leave them as is. And now, violets are just beginning to show their flowers. When the violet flowers first come out, the tiny leaves are tender and delicious so I harvest them for my foraged salad along with a few pretty blossoms. I also added a few kale trimmings from my awakening garden. Dressed lightly in oil and vinegar, this small-portion salad packs a lot of flavor and signals that spring is really here.
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