Garden update: The sugar snap peas are flowering, which is lovely. The buds on the ume tree are swelling, and it will probably blossom soon. I spent several hours pruning the roses in the front yard and hacking down the green monstrosity next to the front porch. (Turns out there were actually two plants there.) The stumps are still in the ground, but at least I've cleared out enough greenery that I can get to the front water spigot...just in time for the sunny weather to end. It's supposed to start raining in earnest this week.
In order to prioritize my weeding efforts, I've been spending the past couple weeks researching edible wild plants. It seems that many of the weeds springing up in my yard are edible. The dandelion and the oxalis I knew about, of course, but there are a number of others.
The most easily identified plant is the common mallow, which is in the same family as okra and hibiscus. The entire plant is edible. Reportedly it is often used in soups because it has the same thickening properties as okra. Some people use the larger mallow leaves in place of grape leaves to make Mediterranean-style wraps. I'm considering trying to make a mallow soup tomorrow; we'll see if I actually get around to it.
I've spotted at least two different species from the mustard family. One of them is small, with white flowers, and I suspect that it is hairy bittercress. The other has larger leaves and hasn't flowered yet. All plants in the mustard family are edible, and the whole plant can be eaten, including seeds (mustard), flowers (cauliflower, broccoli), leaves (cabbage, kale), stem (kohlrabi), and roots (turnip, radish). Of course, opinions differ as to whether the various parts taste good...
The previous owner of the house left a number of flowerpots, and I stuck them out back on the deck and ignored them. One has developed a decent crop of chickweed, which is supposed to be an excellent salad green. What I find interesting is that I haven't seen any of the chickweed growing in the ground, only in this one pot. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right place.
I'm pretty sure there is sowthistle growing in the backyard, but I haven't really examined all of the dandelion-like rosettes closely to distinguish it.
Once the rain starts up again, I'm sure there will be another rush of wild plants of all kinds.