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One of the amazing things about living in Seattle is how one day of sunny, 60-degree weather cancels out about 30 of the darkest, coldest days of the winter. This past weekend brought some of the most delightful sunshiny days in months, and we decided to take advantage of the relative warmth and start prepping the garden beds for an upcoming planting.

I’d covered most of the beds with landscaping fabric during the off-season, since we didn’t do any winter gardening this year (new baby and all), but a couple of plots remained uncovered because we still had some radishes and carrots hanging around in November. The uncovered plots had, of course, become covered in little seedlings, which have to be removed prior to planting.

The seedlings were almost all dandelions, so, rather than simply chuckin’ ’em into the compost pile, I took the nicest samples and placed them in a bag. We found a few other goodies as well:

Yum!

From top to bottom:  radish greens, stray radishes, stray baby carrots, baby dandelion greens, another carrot, baby bittercress (aka shotweed), some green onions on the side.

We had more than enough to make a nice little salad. It was ¬†too bitter for Emily; next time we’ll probably mix the weeds in with some other kinds of greens. I’m more of a fan of strong flavors, so I enjoyed the salad with some oil and vinegar, and I especially enjoyed the fact that it was completely free of charge!

We’re happy foragers, and love looking for wild foods in our local urban parks, but once you’re familiar with edible weeds, you’ll be amazed at how much free food you’ll find growing in your very own yard! And, you don’t have to use it all in salads. We’ve featured dandelion salsa on this site, and will include some other wild food recipes if we can get our book funded.

(Warning: never eat weeds that have been treated with chemicals or poisons, because Yuck! Instead of poisoning your dandelions, pick them and eat them.)

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