Tip: Dandelion greens will be the least bitter before the plant has flowered, so early spring when the dandelions are popping up is the best time to harvest!
The next plant the class foraged was asparagus. The wild asparagus is just like the asparagus you would purchase in the grocery store, only fresher and free! Asparagus is a filtration plant so look for it near water. When looking for asparagus in the early spring, you will likely see dead branch-filled stalks several feet tall marking the spot. These are the mature stalks from the previous season which had grown to full size and grown small red (inedible) berries on its boughs. When harvesting wild asparagus, wait for the new stalks to become firm and woody, but catch them before their heads have loosened and begun to seed. As shoots grow at different rates, consider frequently returning to wild asparagus plants in the early spring to harvest the stalks as they mature.
Tip: Forage wild asparagus responsibly and leave some stalks to fully mature, this ensures your wild asparagus supplies for next spring!
Tip: Plant curly dock near your bee hive, this way you have it quick on hand should you get any stings when working with your hive.
Tip: Try to challenge your foraging skills and gather cattail root and pollen; make a flour with the root and try using the flour and pollen to create pancakes or biscuits!
If you are interested in learning more about foraging, or going out with a group in Fort Collins who can help you positively identify those plants safe to munch on, check out more of The Growing Project University’s workshops here!
Posted April 21, 2015 by Genevieve Geiger