Eat Your Weeds: Dandelions

Eat Your Weeds

We’ve had a lot of rain in Southern California and that means lots of WEEDS. But as Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, ““What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.”

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Yesterday I was “weeding” our garden and I was amazed at just how many dandelions we had. Since we don’t use chemical pesticides or fertilizers in our garden I decided to make them into a salad. Dandelion greens are regularly sold in gourmet food stores and farmer’s market for about $6-a-bunch, but you can get them for free with just a little work on your part.

In the picture above I did my standard daily salad of greens, brazil nuts, goji berries, hemp seeds, avocado, olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt, but I substituted my usual kale for dandelion leaves.

If you like bitter greens, such as radicchio or rocket, then you will love dandelions. If you are like me and you don’t care for bitter, then be sure to pick the young, soft dandelions that have a baby greens-like texture. They are not as bitter as older leaves.

However, one thing to remember is that bitterness in plants usually means that they have a detoxifying benefit. The entire dandelion plant is edible. Eat the leaves as you would any other green and dry the roots for a detoxing herbal infusion when added to hot water.

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Here is an article with other “weeds” that you can eat. I personally love purslane and I am looking forward to when they come into season closer to summer! Mallow is another one that is easy to find in SoCal. Enjoy!







Keep Your Poinsettias Alive

I was gifted a poinsettia this Christmas, and I’m going to try and keep it alive for next year. I don’t really have the right light exposure indoors for this process, but maybe you do! Here is how you keep your poinsettias alive for next year!





Love your neighborhoods’ mature, tree-lined street? Want to keep them beautiful? Read on…

In the Los Angeles neighborhood where we live, beautiful 40-foot-plus Liquid Ambers line the streets and turn beautiful shades of gold and red in the fall/winter. Now I have no idea exactly how old these trees are, but I’m guessing they are in the 40-50 year-old range. Liquid Ambers have a lifespan of about 60 years (in an urban environment.) This means that in another 10-20 years we won’t have that beautiful fall foliage unless we do something now. Of course, mature trees are not only beautiful to look at, and therefore increase the value of a property, but they serve many other purposes including keeping our streets cooler, cleaning the air, blocking wind and/or rain, providing homes for squirrels and birds, etc.

What can we do? Plant more trees of course…but the trick is it can’t be done all at once. In order to ensure a beautiful tree canopy trees need to be planted at regular intervals so that there are always young, mature and old trees around so that as the old ones die they are replaced, etc. Fortunately for those of us that live in Los Angeles, there is a free service called “Street Trees” (and they even offer Liquid Ambers). It’s super easy to do and it took us less than 3-weeks to receive our tree. By the way, the service I am talking about is different then the free service offered by DWP. Street Trees plants trees on curb medians, DWP gives you trees to plant on your property (residential or commercial.)

How to get a free Street Tree:
1: Call 800.996.CITY and tell them what tree you want based on their available trees
2: They come out and mark on your curb where they will plant the tree (there are strict rules about where they will plant the tree – must be 5-feet from driveway, 10-feet from property line) so if you live on a traditional size city lot, there is probably only one or two places they’ll plant a tree
3: They’ll plant the tree shortly thereafter

If you decide to plant a tree yourself, make sure it is at least a 15-gallon tree because trees smaller than that have a hard time surviving on the curbs. And remember, that if you are planting trees on or around your property, try to vary their maturity (I say maturity and not age because trees have different life-spans, so a young Oak can be the same age as an old Liquid Amber) or if you are planting a grove of the same type of trees vary their ages or plant young trees over many years. This will ensure that you will always have a beautiful mature tree to look at.

Maintaining an urban forest takes work. This issue of too many mature trees that are all the same agein urban forests is a big one. There have been many articles about how Los Angeles’ skyline will be changing in the next 15-20 years as many palm trees come to the end of their natural lives. However, Los Angeles and our neighborhood are not the only victims fo this problem. So, do your part to keep your cities’ urban forest intact. Thanks!

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