With a home forest garden, our meals usually start with a quick trip out the front door. And when we’re busy, “Stir-Fried Food Forest” is often on the menu. Today’s perennial or self-sown veggies all came from within 50 feet of our front door. In about 5 minutes of work, with no required yearly digging or planting, I found perennialized garlic, perennial spring onions, self-sown carrots, sorrel, lovage, turkish rocket “broccoli,” asparagus and a few herbs to spice things up.
A quick chop and a light stir-fry meant dinner went from “farm to table” in about 15 minutes.
You want to know what “fresh” really tastes like?
Turkish rocket is a perennial related to arugula and “dames rocket,” (“false phlox”) a common “weed” in Michigan. In very early spring, soon after the snow melts, the plant’s leaves make a very good arugula substitute. Later, they grow fuzz and gain a strong flavor. The “broccoli” also have a powerful “umami” flavor often compared to oysters. It can be off-putting in many dishes, but harmonizes well with the deep flavors of shoyu, sesame oil and mushrooms.
It’s a natural grassland plant, so it competes well with grasses, but persists well into light woodland, making it an excellent choice for a “Fortress plant” (plants that keep grasses and weeds at bay) to edge a garden bed, hedgerow or forest garden.