The gift of wild food plants.

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. (Genesis 1:29)

Wandering around on our property recently, I found a little patch of asparagus growing wild, probably one of the old heirloom varieties like Mary Washington, a gift from a bird whose droppings planted the seeds.  I weeded around it and put a marker down:

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I love asparagus, but everyone else in my family hates it, so I didn’t plan to put in an asparagus bed since everything I’ve read online about growing it makes it seem like a fussy plant that requires constant weeding and mulching.  So it’s funny that as I wandered around our property, I found even more asparagus growing wild!  Here’s one that popped up behind a tree and is already beginning to flower:

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We’ve also got no end of wild strawberries everywhere:

imageI’ve decided to mark off a few sections to let the wild strawberries spread in that we’ll only mow at the end of the summer.  It’s also time to start hunting morel mushrooms in the boggy section of our woods.  Wild strawberries, wild asparagus, and morel mushrooms are three things that grow very well all by themselves in Michigan.  Finding them growing on our property is quite thrilling and takes me back to childhood, when less of our state was covered in subdivisions filled with Chem-lawns.

Now if only I could find a few Sassafras trees growing on our land, my trip down memory lane back to childhood would be complete!  I remember spending hours playing in the woods and fields of West Michigan with my friends as a child, picking Sassafras leaves and sucking on the stems, and I now find even the smell of Sassafras to be evocative.  I think I shall try to find a nursery that sells them if I can, for what could be nicer than hot Sassafras tea by the fire next winter?