Throughout human history, early spring has always been a time for eating fresh new greens. Slightly bitter, rich in iron and other important nutrients, they remind us that winter will not last forever.
Patience dock growth
Patience dock plants start out as broad leaves growing close to the ground. This is the part you want to eat. Next, a single stem emerges and is quickly covered with tiny flowers. Those flowers become pollinated and fertilized to produce triangular seeds, similar to rhubarb seeds. Seed heads hold large numbers of seeds, which darken to a lovely bronze color.
How to grow patience dock
Seeds are generally planted in late spring, slightly less than 1/2 an inch deep, in locations that receive lots of sunlight. Plants should be thinned or transplanted to provide at least 8 inches of space between plants. Lucky for those of us in the Bay Area, patience dock thrives in heavy clay soil. Young plants will require frequent watering, but mature plants require far less. If grown in a container, patience dock plants should be repotted each year with fresh potting soil, or mulched regularly with aged compost. Once established, plants are highly resistant to frost damage. You can divide mature plants every 3 to 4 years, in spring, to generate new plants.
Patience dock will flower throughout most of the summer, producing seeds enjoyed by local birds. Please note, this plant can become invasive because of all those seeds. To prevent this from happening, simply snip off the flowers and take them indoors and put them in a vase for your visual pleasure.
Patience dock pests and diseases
Slugs and snails, aphids, and the sorrel maggot are the most common pests, and I couldn’t find any mention of diseases, so this is a relatively trouble free plant.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!
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