Saturday, April 25, 2009

Garlic Mustard Weed-Out Day

My younger sister, Holly and I went out to volunteer for the 11th annual Garlic Mustard Weed-Out day today. We went to Bird Hills Park in Ann Arbor, and we had a great time while also doing something productive and beneficial for our local environment.

If you don't know about it, Garlic Mustard is a non-native, invasive species that was originally brought over by Europeans.

It spreads very rapidly and can quickly snuff out the surrounding plant life, thereby impacting biodiversity and ultimately affecting the entire natural habitat. But--thanks to adopt-a-park workers and volunteers, there has been an organized "fight" against this weed to help control the spread of the beast.

When the plants are young (around this time of year in Michigan,) it's relatively easy to pull them out by the root. As long as they are properly disposed of, in a sealed garbage bag for instance, people can really aid in preventing the loss of other plant (and animal) life. Oh, and speaking of proper disposal, it turns out the tender, young version of the garlic mustard plant is edible! We were given several different recipes today, but I didn't feel quite brave enough to bring any weeds home for cooking. The leaves have a very pungent, garlicky smell when you're near them. Incidentally, that is one sure way to know you're picking the right thing since they do bear an uncanny resemblance to young violets.

Overall we had a great time, and we both felt good about our volunteer efforts for the day. As luck would have it, we left the park a few short minutes before a glorious spring thunderstorm rolled through.

I'm glad to say this photo was taken from the relatively safe and dry vantage point of Holly's car!


If you want to know more about garlic mustard, here is a longish, but rather informative video about the plant:

Garlic Mustard Identification and Control from Barbara Lucas on Vimeo.


Michael said...

Hey are those my gloves?

CJ/Rick said...

Melba and Holly:Come on down! To southeast Texas and pull weeds in my yard. :)
I wonder if that is what us hicks call mustards greens? At any rate, I don't care for them on my plate or in my yard.
Good work Melba!