Monday, July 4, 2011

Eating my lawn: Red Clover

Each morning I take a walk outside before the sun rises too high in the sky. I look to see if the peas have plumped in their pods. I count the little yellow flowers forming on the tomato plants. I harvest herbs before their oils are diminished in the heat of the day. My path to the garden is surrounded by red clover. These small red flowers also find their way into my harvest basket.

Red clover is as ubiquitous as dandelion. It grows in hay fields, lawns and road sides. It blooms from mid June and will have a repeat bloom later in the season. Red clover can be identified by its red flower, but it's leaves also have a small stripe on its leaves. It is a legume and can work as a nitrogen fixer in your soil. We have grown it in the past as a cover crop. Both the leaves and flower are edible.

In the spring we let the lawn grow up around out house until the dandelions have bloomed so we can take advantage of the greens and flowers. Then we mow just a little spot around our house. The we let the lawn grown until the clover blooms.

Red clover flowers can be made into a tea and the leaves make a nice addition to a salad. There are many uses for red clover. The tea can be used as a wash for acne, psoriasis, athletes foot. According to Deb Soule in, A Woman's Book of Herbs," it will cleanse the blood of wastes during or after sickness..." Clover is also a source of phyto- estrogens, for alternative and alternative to hormone replacement therapy for menopause. It is also an inhibitor of cancer. I learned at the wild herbs for health class that tar can be made from its leaves and flowers and used as a drawing paste.

Well, the sun climbs over the trees, must go for my morning picking...


Kelly said...

We love the clover too. It comes in for the second cut of our hay. Happy sheep and goats come winter.
Happy 4th.

LindaM said...

I am drying my first harvest of red clover as well. I have not used it medicinally for years but this time, I'm trying to gather enough to make wine. I see my second crop growing again after husband mowed the lawn a few days ago.