(156): Reflections on Invasive Species and Spring Gardening Culture

Screen capture from Sergeant York (1941) from YouTube clip here.

March has morphed into April, which means that the last of the Asian Lady Beetles have finally realized that it is nicer outside than in my cluttered cabin. I still have to finish policing up the carcasses though (not looking forward to…) Also, I have been driven outside by the need to control the green tentacle creatures, aka GRASS. And yesterday, I spent a couple hours near sunset pounding and breaking up some of the most recalcitrant soil ever seen on this Earth.

In fact, do you remember the classic 1941 movie Sergeant York, with Gary Cooper? York was from Tennessee, and all he wanted was some bottom land, because he couldn’t do a thing with the top land, it being rocky and unworkable. Well, add clay to the rocks, along with little mini-prizes of seedling weeds and the deep tuberous roots of Johnson grass, and you’ve got my so-called raised box that I’m determined to bring to beautiful flowered fruition this year if it kills me (and it shows every sign of trying).

Every few minutes, I would find the purplish little shoots that would threaten to create the monstrosity known as Spiky Amaranth, and then I remember my days in Alabama and how I used to watch the kudzu grow. And then how I realized that kudzu was edible, as is amaranth. It makes me wonder if I should simply yield the field to the invasive weeds (which are perhaps going to be aphid free due to those invasive Asian lady beetles) and take advantage of the Euell Gibbons culture of eating from the wild. (I have a few Euell Gibbons books here somewhere, in a box. Yeah, I’m groaning too.)

“Ever eat a pine cone? Many parts are edible.”

— Euell Gibbons on a Grape Nuts commercial I can’t find on YouTube

So I found this lovely Japanese recipe that uses kudzu flour (after all, the Japanese are the ones who brought it over here in the first place!)

Those little cherry blossom like ‘flowers’ are really pretty, but they take a bit of work and don’t last as long as the ones that grow outside in nature, so nahh…(not yet anyway — not ’til I’m desperate).

So what about amaranth recipes, since we do have wild (albeit uncomfortably spiky) amaranth growing around here, or will when the season gets going. I could use the greens just like spinach (but what about the spiky bits?!?!). We’ll see. I imagine I’ll have no shortage of specimens to choose from as summer comes on. The real question is: will my back survive my attempt to garden and/or forage?

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