I have had a lifetime of gardening experience and in all that time, I only considered weeds in terms of how I could get rid of them. I had looked at these plants as an unwanted scourge on the landscape. Recently, I have come to appreciate their potential value as a green manure crop or for composting, or as an incredibly healthy addition to my meals.
It was a huge paradigm shift to walk in my garden and observe, identify and accept these former foes as friends. In light of my new-found interest in eating a more nutritious and more plant-based diet I have been researching “wild greens” and their nutritional and therapeutic value. It was a major shock to find that some of my despised enemies, weeds that are abundant in our gardens, are actually edible and in most cases delicious. Not only that, but many of them are decidedly therapeutic, far more nutritious than the greens we normally eat, and have been used in herbal medicine for centuries.
Above right, dandelions, long considered a weed, is actually packed with nutritional benefits. Free use photo
I have all of those in abundance in my yard. People think I am crazy to collect dandelion seed and actually seed my yard with them. I also encourage creeping charlie (Glechoma hederacea) in my yard. It is a great ground cover with medicinal and edible uses. Great post.
Weeds are nature’s way of healing itself. If you have a garden weed that isn’t listed here, check out the book Weeds – Guardians of the Soil by Joseph Cocannouer.
Top 5 Garden Weeds
This article is a stress reliever! Especially in this heat wave it’s nice to know the weeds are doing their thing and I don’t have to be out pulling them. Thanks, Amy.
I’m an advocate of purslane to add to the list! Packed with all sorts of goodness for your body and a great indicator of soil which need amending. I’m toying with planting as ground cover around the veggies..that or white clover…maybe a combo.
Anyone have thoughts on that?
Lambsquarters – Yum! We’ve just been given a plot of land to grow veggies in this year, it had many lambsquarters growing in it so I harvested them before tilling the soil.