Monday, August 04, 2008

Garden Update -- The Ugly

You've seen The Good and The Bad. Now, let's really talk's The Ugly:

On the surface, it looks like a quiet suburban yard. Here's the view looking south:

And here the view looking north:

But, let's take a closer look:

Is that a shed back there?

Pokeweed, anyone? I'm not brave enough to eat it. Notice also how the hostas appear to be taking over. I don't even like hostas, but there are at least 500 of them in the yard. No exaggeration. A Freecycler came last spring and dug up one hundred plants. We couldn't even tell they had taken any. I'd like to offer free hostas to any reader of this blog. Stop by anytime and take as many as you want. I'm convinced they are a sentient alien race, determined to take over the planet.

That's not a weed patch. It's a interpretive display of the noxious weeds and invasive species of Illinois.

Any day now we'll find out that burdock is actually a highly valuable food crop. And delicious. Right?

This is my greywater reclamation device. No, really, I'm serious this time. It collects water from our sump discharge, which I'm using to water. I'm not actually sure this is what could be called a "good idea" but as the water was discharging near the veggie beds anyway it seemed like it was worth a try. Our village is offering rebates on rain barrels, so we should have at least two installed by this fall.

Hey wait! check that photo up above one more time. Does the black walnut next to the plastic tote count towards my harvest totals?

Hopefully this series of three posts has served to clear up any lingering impressions that "I Know What I'm Doing" or that "I Am Actually Producing Whole Meals Here on the Homestead".


Mama and Papa Shep said...

Your interpretive display of native invasive species and noxious weeds is very unique and well-composed, especially for plants with a mind of their own about where/how to grow! However, I think you have your north and south mixed up. Think about it. If you are at the back of the yard looking at the house you are looking toward the south, the play structure is at the north end of the yard. Take it from one who inherited your grandfather's inherent sense of direction.

esp said...

You know, you're right. I think I meant to say, the view FROM the north and the view FROM the south. I better edit that.

Anonymous said...

Burdock is, in fact, delicious - the root. If you haven't discovered it already, look up "gobo": .. I assume the 'lesser' version is equally edible, just smaller, but you may want to confirm somewhere other than Wikipedia.

Many Japanese restaurants feature a classic eel-and-burdock dish (which, naturally, I forget the name of) that's to die for. I think eel sauce (the special barbecue-type sauce for eel dishes) is part of the trick if you're looking for exactly that flavor, but the tender portions of the root can still be good sauteed or braised and tossed in an udon soup or stirfry. The woody portions soften up a bit when braised for a long time, but you'll probably want to discard the worst of them - use a whole root the first time, cook the dickens out of it, and whatever remains unchewable will give you a feel for what's too woody to bother with.

I gather it can be a pain to harvest, between the burrs and the aerial parts being irritant... it's inexpensive at a local asian market and not too common as a weed here in CT (or at least, I can't tell it apart from other 'thistle-y' things yet) so I've just been getting mine there.