The days are getting warmer, and so is the soil, which means that many more foods will be popping their beautiful heads out of the earth for us to enjoy. Currently, I am most excited about my asparagus patch that's getting ready to produce. In preparation for its glorious arrival, I desperately needed to weed it's home as its current tenants were a particularly prevalent "weed" named Garlic Mustard.
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) has gotten a bum rap for a long time. It is certainly invasive having been (most likely) brought over from the British Isles as a medicinal ingredient. Now, having had several generations to establish itself, Garlic mustard can easily propagate a forest and snuff out its native species. With the help of an unsuspecting culprit, the white tail deer, the process of establishing dominance is made much easier. A white tail deer will make its way through a forest, overlooking the garlic mustard and only feasting on the native flora. Young garlic mustard is particularly tenacious, distributing a toxin called sinigrin in the soil that kills all beneficial mycelium in the soil making its surrounding area habitable for only itself so that it can reproduce. Due to the over population of white tail deer and the chemical leaching roots of the garlic mustard, it is very easy to see how a forest can get quickly be taken over. Conversely, in areas where the white tail deer population is in control, you generally don't see an abundance of garlic mustard as the native species are generally able to keep the mustard in check.
The outlook is not all that bad. Garlic mustard is also an EXCELLENT source of vitamin C. It has three to four times the amount of vitamin than an orange. As humans, we cannot produce vitamin C, and plays a part in many key functions of our bodies. The vitamin helps convert fat to energy, the production of collagen and many other tasks. There are various other health benefits that you will likely find as fascinating as I did in this video
In short, get outside and find this plant which many may consider to be a "weed". I think you'll be surprised by how plentiful the supply is and you can't argue with the cost, free.