CTG 2014 Week 13: July 26th to July 31st- Brunch Potluck II, Garden Walk & Talk with Denise, Happily Harvesting

Topics:

  • Garden Walk & Talk with Denise: Edible and Medicinal Properties of Common Garden Weeds
  • Harvesting Potatoes: How & When to do it

Activities:

  • Brunch Potluck at the Tommy Thompson Community Garden
  • Harvesting crops
  • General garden upkeep

 

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Pure bliss in muffin form
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Libby looks intimidated by this spread

This week was kicked off by yet another delicious Community Teaching Garden potluck that was held Saturday morning at the Tommy Thompson Community Garden.  Midst the beautiful sunshine, students, staff members, friends, and family gathered together to enjoy a delicious spread of garden-inspired dishes.   There was a lot of ‘mmmm-ing’ going on as we enjoyed zucchini breads, a garden fresh salad, some divine french toast, multiple egg dishes, some veggie-infused grain salads, fried-green tomatoes, and some delicious veggie tater-tots.  It’s always such a lovely experience gathering with our gardeners at each potluck and having them share their successes, questions, and growing knowledge with one another.   These relationships are sure to grow throughout the remainder of the season, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

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Veggie tater-tots by Diane
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Digging in

Garden Walk & Talk with Denise: Edible and Medicinal Properties of Common Garden Weeds

Immediately following Saturday’s brunch potluck, Denise, who is a training herbalist, led a garden ‘walk and talk’ in which she divulged her knowledge on some of the interesting uses of common garden weeds.  During our stroll around the Tommy Thompson site Denise identified and discussed the benefits of seemingly pesky plants like Burdock, Stinging nettles, Plantain (not the fruit species!), purslain, Lambs Quarters, Dandelion, and Yarrow.  Here’s some of the neat from Denise:

  • Burdock (1st year stage, noburs) :
    • The root, which can stretch as far as 18 inches, is highly nutritious  and is a traditional ingredient in some Chinese dishes, like soups and stews.
    • Root can be made into digestive bitters or tonics to promote easy digestion and liver functions
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Examining burdock root
  • Stinging Nettles:
    • Dealt with a bare-hand this plant will live up to its name, so be sure to use gloves when harvesting
    • Can be made into a spring tonic and steamed like a green
    • Provides arthritis relief
    • Fresh leaves, with nettles removed, are said to help with respiratory disorders like allergies and asthma
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Discussing stinging nettles from afar
  • Broad Leaf Plantain:
    • Can be used as a topical anti-inflammatory treatment
    • Can be made into a topical salve
      • 1. Dry leaves
      • 2. Infuse in organic oil
      • 3. Set in sun for 1 week
      • 4. Filter
      • 5. Add beeswax
    • Seed stack has psyllium husk, same compound found in Metamucil

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  • Purslain:
    • High in vitamin C and omega-3’s
  • Lamb’s Quarters:
    • Good source of vitamins C and B and calcium
    • Can be made into a spring tonic
    • Can be cooked and is a nice ingredient to add to salads
  • Dandelion:
    • Commonly found in teas
    • Acts as a diuretic
    • Supports healthy liver functions
  • Yarrow:
    • Can support wound-healing process by helping proteins bind together
    • Astringent qualities
    • Can reduce fevers
    • Can be made into salve or other tinctures
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Yarrow

As our tour came to an end, Denise offered some very important advice including the importance of consulting a trained, licensed herbalist regarding one’s ailments or concerns prior to utilizing herbal treatments.  Also, it is extremely important that a given plant is properly identified prior to use.  If your interested in herbal treatments, City Market offers herbal consultations with training herbalists, check out their website at https://www.citymarket.coop

 

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A rainbow of cherry tomatoes

Harvesting Potatoes (TT):

While it’s been a season-long battle against the ever persistent Colorado Potato Beetles, we received a bit of a victory this Wednesday as we harvested some spuds from the potato plot.   A proper harvesting demo was provided by Denise as she drove a large fork into the ground to pull up a plant to see how they veggies were coming along.  It’s important to not dig directly at the base of the plant as it is likely you will pierce the potatoes.   A couple of students took their turns digging up some the young spuds.  Many of the plants will be left for later in the season and will be harvested once the leaves begin to wilt and die as they will yield larger potatoes for winter storage.

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Some spuds

Although storms unfortunately canceled a field trip on Monday evening, this week at the Community Teaching Gardens was still full of delightful harvests, delicious foods, and plenty of gardening!

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