The problem is, I don't know what these plants are. I have looked in my wild edible foraging books to no avail, so I don't think they are meant for human consumption. If you know what any of these plants are, we sure would like to know. I have put my foot in these pictures for a size comparison. None of these plants are very big, which doesn't surprise me because it's winter. I have numbered the plants for ease of identification. So, tell me, what do you think?
1. There are not a lot of these plants around. The interesting thing about them is the red veins on the leaves. Since there aren't very many, I haven't been picking them to see if the chickens like them...yet.
2. This plant is fairly small, but coming up all over the place. I don't know how big they will eventually get. As they get bigger, the middle stands up more off the ground. When they are small, they are flat to the ground. The chickens love these. In no time at all, these plants are gone, leaves, stems, roots and all.
3. I didn't get my foot in this picture. This weed is fairly large compared to the others. The leaves are about five to six inches long, and this is the only one I remember seeing. I picked many of them and the chickens liked it as well.
4. Another large leaved plant. Oops, I know what this one is. It's a turnip in the garden and the chickens love them, leaves, root and all. I picked some of these greens for dinner last night.
5. I ran across something in my wild foraging book that made me wonder if this is a wild carrot. There are a few here and there. Any ideas?
6. This small plant with the scalloped leaves is another one the chickens like. There are quite a few of them around.
7. This one with the rounded leaves they don't particularly care for, but they will eat it. This plant gets much larger than the others and there are lots of them. It has some similar characteristics to my lemon balm, but that's not it.
8. I have just started to notice these plants, and have only seen a couple. The leaves are rounded and darker than the other plants so far.
9. We have lots of healthy looking dandelions, especially along the porch on the west side of the house,where they get more warmth when the sun is out. We gathered seeds from these last year and started a dandelion patch in the herb bed, so we can harvest and dry our own roots for tea.
These are what we hope will come of these weeds. Aren't they beautiful? We are still getting pullet eggs from our young hens, with a gradual increase in their production rate. Not fast enough for us, but we're getting there.
So, in December, when it is cold, and not a lot grows, I become the shadow farmer in the long slanting rays of winter, wrapped in my barn coat. That is, when we have rare moments of sunshine.
These plants have some similarities to other plants, both wild and domestic. Number one looks like a beet, but it's not. Then number two looks like clover, but it's not. And number eight almost reminds me of the violets that come up in the early spring, but I don't think so. Please share with us what you know, we're ready to learn something new and useful. Pick a number and give it your best shot, while I keep picking leaves for the chickens.
Until next year - Fern