As spring is arriving, it is time to start thinking about our summer gardens both domestic and wild. Just yesterday, I was outside and saw miner’s lettuce and dandelions growing wild. The miners lettuce was in large patches and easy to pick. At the yuppie farmers market a friend of mine is selling it for $17.00 a pound. The joke is you can pick it for free just by going for a walk in the country.
Now is the best time of the year to start learning about the wild edible plants in your area. The first thing is to find a good book and hopefully someone who knows the plants in your area. Finding a good book is more of a challenge than you would think. The majority of books are covering too large an area. Many like the military books cover the whole world. Others cover a whole continent. However, the best I have found are the ones written by local experts, who are familiar with a smaller area. In my area, I like the book Living Wild by Alicia Funk and Karin Kaufman that covers the edible and healing plants of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains.
To find local experts, talk to the nursery’s, and check the small book and gift stores. That is how I found mine. I have also received some help from the local Native Americans. Many of the older tribe members are quite skilled and willing to share knowledge.
A domestic garden is a good thing to have, but knowledge of the free wild plants is even better.