Harvesting Red Clover

I love red clover and so do bees!

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In my garden I have two long patches of red clover which I planted from seed a few years ago. Never have to plant it again for it comes back every year, stronger and more beautiful than ever it seems; if I didn’t keep it cut back it would take over the whole garden.

In the photo below you can see just a small section of a long clover patch. If you look closely you can see some potato plants also growing along with the clover. These potato plants came up from potatoes I missed last year when digging them up. I miss some every year so I end up with bonus potatoes.  Growing in the clover patch might be a good thing as I haven’t seen any Colorado potato beetles this year so far on the potato plants. I used to plant a row of potatoes and keep the row tidy with only potato plants. This year the potatoes came up willy-nilly in the clover so maybe they were more hidden? Or was this just a good year without potato beetles?

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Red clover blossoms can be eaten fresh or dried. I collect the best-looking flowers on sunny mornings, place them on a wire rack in an upstairs room where they stay warm and dry. It takes a few days for the clover to nicely dry and then I put them in a glass jar with tight lid to use in making herb teas for my family.

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A Garden Nibble Walk

What fun to walk through one’s garden and see all the plants coming back to life! Those of you who love and grow herbs will totally understand what I’m about to share, that is, nibbling on fresh spring herbs.  My garden is large enough that I can enjoy a leisurely walk around the perimeter, admire the growing plants and take a few nibbles of the edible herbs. Let’s see what we have on the spring menu from photos I took yesterday:

If I’ve just eaten a meal, I like to start with rue, a bitter herb which aids in digestion. Chewing a fresh rue leaf is known to also relieve tension headaches and anxiety.  The name rue comes from the Greek meaning “to set free” and therefore its ancient reputation “to set free from disease.”

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How about a little hyssop nibble, another bitter herb which acts as a digestive stimulant. Hyssop can also act as a nervine to calm anxiety, but it is better known for its anti-viral actions, especially effective for respiratory infections.

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Lemon balm leaves are a tasty little “snack” while walking or working in the garden. Just like the name reveals, it has a lemony flavor.  Those of you who are familiar with essential oils probably have used Melissa essential oil, which comes from lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and is known to have a calming effect (nervine).  I like to make an herbal tea with fresh leaves or from those leaves I have dried.

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A whole kale leaf (or more) is almost a meal instead of a nibble! 🙂 The kale is doing well this spring in spite of being set back by by a hard freeze because “someone” forgot to close the lid to the cold frame.

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And what would a garden nibble walk be without a couple chickweed stalks? Considered a weed, this little plant is very tasty, especially picked fresh and placed in your favorite sandwich. Flowers, stems and leaves are all edible. I like to add chopped chickweed to our lettuce salads. Nice mild flavor.  Eat weeds? You betcha! Learn more about which weeds are edible from an expert, Green Deane, here

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So what’s for dessert?  Peppermint! Nothing like a fresh peppermint leaf at the end of a pleasant garden nibble walk. The peppermint patch is growing well so I should have plenty of leaves to make peppermint tea for my family and friends this summer.

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Thank you for coming along with me on a garden nibble walk. Even though you didn’t get to actually partake, maybe you will be inspired to plant some herbs and enjoy your very own fresh nibbles.  Blessings to you all.