Beat inflation with cultivation

Grow food, save money, plant a garden today

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Planting a vegetable garden and growing your own food is, first of all, very satisfying and in addition to that it also gives you homegrown great tasting food and saves you money.

A garden can be grown in even the smallest spaces and although you may not feed an entire family from what you can grow in a few containers it, nevertheless, can help.

While every vegetable garden should be planned and designed if you have but little space this becomes more important still. The choice of what to grow also then is very important indeed.

When there is but little space do not bother about the crops that you can buy cheaply but concentrate on what you like to eat that sets you back more that, say, potatoes.

If you have half-an-acre or more to play with then, obviously, you can grow almost everything that you may like to grow and which you and your family like to eat.

While this what I am going to suggest here now might sound to some people rather strange but remember that there are many so-called weeds out there that are edible and the growing of which does not require many resources as they tend to look after themselves and do multiply nicely by themselves.

If you like rocket for your salads then I suggest that you consider, deliberately, the growing of dandelion. Not only are the (young) leaves great in salad and are better than rocket the older leaves also can be used like spinach and are a great addition to pasta.

Another such great “weed” is wood sorrel or common sorrel and this plant is basically a cut and come again spinach. As it contains oxalic acid, however, not too large quantities of those leaves should be consumed raw. Cooking, like spinach, or for use with pasta, neutralizes the acid and renders it harmless.

I have begun to plant edible wild plants, weeds to the ordinary gardener, deliberately simple for the reason that they do not need much care and, in most cases, are also shade tolerant, drought tolerant, etc., and thus crop failures are very rare. Also, I don't have to pay for seeds or plants for those. I just relocate them.

The local park, which is my place of work, in 2012 when they were going to seed, saw almost all seed stalks of the sorrel plants walk out aided and abetted by people who, obviously, decided that they were going to grow them in their gardens as vegetable. The great majority of the people that took bunches of the seed heads were of the Asian or Eastern European communities, and the know a thing or two about such wild edibles for sure.

There are many ways to grow a garden and I have no intention to repeat what others have already written. There are enough good books about on that subject and the latest that covers about everything possible is “Backyard Farming on an acre (more or less)” by Angela England.

However, very few ever suggest the growing of wild edibles and that is why I have done so here.

In addition to the two types that I have listed so far there are “Fat Hen”, aka “Lambs Quarter”. Then there is chickweed, purslane and many others. All of which are edible in many ways and have greater nutritional value than many a cultivated plant. Not to be forgotten shall be the humble stinging nettle which, too, can be cooked as a green vegetable, in the style of spinach, but which also makes for a great tea.

Now, dig that soil...

© 2013