Or, the muse seized me. Explanations before poetry.
I’ll be telling you more about our North American Greens and Herbs Bed (I think that’s what we’re calling it) which is a little sample of plants in those categories that were used by Native Americans in North/north-Central America before any European plants arrived.
But what I want to mention now, because everyone asks, is why in the heck we are growing weeds in there, specifically Chenopodium album or lamb’s quarters, also called chual. It’s in there because it’s a nutritious and native plant and a mainstay of Native American diets along with those of colonists. However, it is a little, um, assertive – so we’ll be keeping an eye on it, promise.
I did have a what-am-I-doing moment recently while weeding out pigweed from among the lamb’s quarters… huh?? And pigweed is one of the great, useful, and free-spreading Amaranthus genus — and yes, we planted grain amaranth in the back of the bed. Maria Wortman, our esteemed leader, keeps asking me if I really want to do this, and she has a point. Amaranth is just one of the many plants that really do have virtues but you may curse yourself for planting as they self-seed or grow enormous or spread underground by runners. We’ve avoided many of these at the demo garden (if not at home – mumblepeppermintmumble), but we do have our problem plants that are wonderful in moderation, except that moderation is not in their vocabulary.
I was thinking about this the other day when for some reason Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky” started going through my head, and then I had to… well, this. Dedicated to Maria and to the Derwood Demo Garden Weeders.