baby dandelions

Waiting for Everything to Grow

Specifically, I’m waiting for things I can eat to grow.

Well, and also wildflowers; I’m deeply partial to wildflowers.

So I went out on a warm-ish February day to see if anything was coming up.

Phacelia

You can’t eat it, but the first greenery I see every year is phacelia, which starts sending up leaves even in December. It never seems to be discouraged by snow. By April the fringed phacelia will be in full bloom in the slough, but for now, it’s just tiny groups of green leaves.

Phacelia in Feb
Phacelia in Feb

Ragwort, Foxglove, & Buttercups

Sigh. Again, not edible, but growing!

Ragwort is also one of the first things to put out leaves, and the raggedy gold flowers will be one of the first blooms (well before the phacelia).

The foxgloves have even more leaves out than the ragwort, although the blooms will come later in the year.

And buttercups, sigh. They are so tough. Farmers despair of keeping them out of their fields; they are toxic not only to humans, but also to livestock. You’ll hear farmers call buttercups “sitfast,” because they are so hard to eradicate. They try to take over our seep (and any other place that is wet, mucky, and gets even a bit of sun) and I have to clear them out a few times a year so that the water can run on down the mountain.

Mosses & Mock Strawberries

The mosses, of course, stay green all winter, and they love our wet, wooded, mountain. And here’s a cute little mock strawberry growing inside an old stump. Okay, technically the fruit is edible, although it doesn’t taste like much.

Also, here’s Pippi, who came along on the hike with me to look for edibles. Although we’re looking for entirely different kinds of wild edibles.

Pippi in the woodlot
Pippi in the woodlot

Finally, baby dandelions!

I was still hoping for edibles when I finally came across these itty-bitty dandelion leaves. Too tiny to harvest, but soon they will be perfect for salads and other dishes.

baby dandelions
baby dandelions

Soon I hope to see bittercress (and maybe some of the other spring cresses) and chickweed. I’m hungry, and ready to eat from our mountain.

And as my father says (like the bear, whose tail got caught in the ice) “It won’t be as long as it has been.”

If you’re interested in looking ahead to what will be green and edible in March, check out my March Foraging list here.

And coming up soon: Treasure hunt with earthstars and salamanders!

2 comments on “Waiting for Everything to Grow

  1. We have been able to forage some dandelion greens, heal-all, and winter rest. So goodbto have a little fresh already!

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe

      No heal-all here yet, but when it comes, we get plenty of it. And I’d love to know what “winter rest” is — are there other names, or do you have a photo?

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