|Lime mint growing among a potentilla ground cover.|
They tend to garden in a haphazard, semi-wild sort of way that fits their setting in the middle of second-growth woods. They deal with deer, rabbits, raccoons, deer, squirrels, oppossums and... did I mention deer? They also have few precious spaces that can be called "full sun," so their challenges are many. But they manage to do a few things, like garlic and sidewalk salad.
|Lemon balm, one of many mint relatives.|
Arugula, cilantro, dill, even collards and kale... to mention just a few... will set seed and readily scatter it about, taking up as much real estate as you allow. This is cheap (well, Free!) and easy food and seasonings. The prior plants are annuals or biennials, which we usually slave to plant but which do not need our help. Of the perennials, mints and all of their relatives (such as the nettle) spread by runners and move where they will.
Garlic also is perennial if you don't quite get all of the bulbs dug, and the bulbs continue to expand. You can use young garlic leaves, as well as their bulbs. Chives, especially the garlic chives, will self propagate if you let them flower and set seed. Then there are the wild things, dandelion greens and chickweed, and many others.
My friends enjoy strongly flavored salad greens, and have lots of arugula and another species called "wild" arugula, sprouting everywhere. A bit of bitterness from young dandelion greens is welcome, and their salads contain various leaves you wouldn't normally consider, such as mint leaves.
|Chives and the blooms that will appear in a few weeks. The |
clumps of chives in my garden are seriously reduced in size
after the dry, dry summer, fall and winter.
These salad greens didn't come from my sidewalk, but yesterday I did dig a few young, non-blooming dandelions from garden paths and added them to the stir-fried veggies and nettles I had for lunch. Free AND nutritious.