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.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!