Friday, March 30, 2012

The spinach I didn't plant

Here's a picture of the spinach in my raised bed:
Ain't it purty?

But wait.......what's this other stuff:

It's Lamb's Quarters!

I noticed the sprouts when I originally planted the spinach seeds so left the area alone.  And as you can see, the lamb's quarters are doing very nicely, and I didn't even have to plant them!  I also didn't water them as much as the section with my spinach, just to see how well they would do with minimal care. 

I'm not sure why there were so many lamb's quarter seeds in that particular area of the raised bed.  Maybe the compost top dressing I put on last year was full of the seeds, or maybe when I dug up everything in the fall, I brought a bunch of them up from the depths of the bed to where they would be able to germinate.  Regardless of how they got there, I'm pretty happy to have them.

Lamb's Quarters can be eaten all year as they don't become bitter with age like dandelion or other wild greens.  The younger they are though, the more tender.  I've been "browsing" myself whenever I water the bed or take the plastic off the hoops.  I'll pick a leaf of spinach then a leaf or two of the lamb's quarters.  Yummy.  The younger ones are best used in raw salads and as they get older and a bit tougher, you can sautee, steam them or use them in baked dishes.  The older ones will get some dusty white stuff on the bottom of the leaves, but it's edible so don't worry.

I'm tempted to let a few of them go to seed and then save seeds for next spring just in case I'm not blessed with another surprise patch of them.


  1. You will always have lambs quarter! Trust me.

    We actually like it cooked just like spinach and maybe better than spinach. I am seeing some here and there here too..............of of course, the ubiquitous poke!

    I wish my lettuce looked half that good.

  2. What a wonderful stroke of luck. I don't feel so bad when I see so called weeds when I know they are edible.

  3. hhhmmmm.....saving lamb's quarter seeds. I have no comment :-) My chickens and pigs LOVE lamb's quarter too!

  4. We had more Lamb's Quarters popping up last year than I can ever remember before. Maybe because my field garden and raised beds were fallow? I sure hope we have a lot of it this year again even though it will have to compete with the veggies and other planted stuff.

  5. Okay, I feel like a doofus. I have heard of Lamb's Quarters but have never eaten it or seen it "in person." (Sigh) I'm still such a greenhorn! :)

  6. gld, I just couldn't believe how MUCH was just in that little area of the raised bed. It was if the lambs quarter fairy blew up in that exact spot!

    Brittany, I hope I'm this lucky every year. Too bad it doesn't happen with, say, $50 bills instead of plants. Oh well.

    dr momi, kind of like saving amaranth seeds I suppose! (which, I actually did one year)

    Mama Pea, I even hate pulling it when it's by my purposely planted stuff!

    Candy C., maybe it's not native to your area?

  7. Yum! We have had a horrible time growing spinach here. Maybe this year it will do better.

  8. Wow that stuff all looks great! We had tons of that stuff last year (unplanted, it was all in the yard/grass) - at least we can forage if the other stuff fails LOL!

  9. Hells that's lambs quarters. We have tons of it too. And chickweed. Not going hungry so far!

  10. I didn't know that stuff was edable! Great! I've got tons of it in my yard. I think I'll try it. If I keel over dead, I'm blameing you. lol

  11. Kristina, I have to admit, this is only the second year I've EVER grown spinach. Sad, I know.

    Erin, it does seem to pop up anywhere, but it would be hard to get to "eating" size if it were in the yard (that is if you mow your lawn frequently, unlike us.)

    Akannie, I wish we had chickweed!

    SFG, We just had a huge mixed greens salad over the weekend and it included lambs quarters and we haven't died......yet! :)