I had someone over to help with my yard work. My yard had become completely overgrown in back and I knew it was only a matter of time before the neighbors started to complain. The first thing my helper suggested was “You absolutely need to chop down all those Mulberry bushes.” I asked why and their response was, “They are messy. Everyone cuts them down.”
Which got me thinking about why my yard was overgrown in the first place. While my neighbors saw a tangle of weeds, unwanted plants and a mess I looked out the window every morning and saw plantain, nettles, violets, dandelions (all great in a salad), mulberries (anti-oxidents, high in iron and basically a super-food all around), hibiscus (vitamins C equivalent to fruit juice), mint, lemon balm, blackberries, wild garlic, and much more (You can learn all about wild foods and more in our Nutritional Healing Class)
So I came up with a compromise – I had the middle of the yard nicely mowed but I kept a “neat” wild border around the fence which remains rich in blackberries, mulberries, mint, hibiscus, and other wild foods.
Afterwards I did a survey of my neighborhood to make sure my yard didn’t look too different from everyone else (yes, I’ve gotten visits from the local garden police before) and noticed that everyone else within the five block radius I surveyed had replaced all their free wild food with neat borders, mulch and inedible plants. How many of these same people purchase salad, berries, juice and herbal remedies every week? How much money would they all save if they didn’t have to?
And what would people do if they knew how easy it was to have free food in their back yard? I did nothing. My yard had also been ravaged into a neat looking garden-police-pleasing area by the previous owners. All I had to do was do nothing and let nature take its course for the past 5 years. Every year nature has rewarded me richly with an increased bounty of free food. The first year we had one blackberry bush. This year we are enjoying the daily bounty of ten.
What would your yard have if you allowed nature to gift you? Starting now pledge to leave at least part of your yard wild and see what happens. I live in the city – not the country – I’ll bet you would be surprised at what you find. Like our Facebook Page Herb’n Home and post your results! You can even teach your children to harvest the yard for you using our Kids Can Heal classes!