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 Weeds in your garden? Bite back!

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Posts : 126
Join date : 2009-05-27
Age : 30
Location : West Texas

PostSubject: Weeds in your garden? Bite back!   Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:03 am

Weeds in Your Garden? -- Bite Back!
C.1999 Susun S. Weed
(permissions given below article)

I always say the gardener's best revenge is to eat the weeds. I've been
doing it for thirty years and can testify that my health and the health of
my garden has never been better. Here are a few hints for gardeners who'd
rather eat their weeds than hate them (and for non-gardeners who are
adventurous enough to try out nature's bounty).

View your weeds as cultivated plants; give them the same care and you'll
reap a tremendous harvest. Harvest frequently and do it when the weeds are
young and tender. Thin your weeds and pinch back the annuals so your weeds
become lushly leafy. Use weeds as rotation crops; they bring up subsoil
minerals and protect against many insects.

"Interplant" (by not weeding out) selected weeds; try purslane, lamb's
quarters, or amaranth with your corn, chickweed with peas/beans, and yellow
dock, sheep sorrel, or dandelion with tomatoes).And, most importantly,
harvest your weeds frequently, regularly, and generously.

Overgrown radishes, lettuces, and beans are tough and bitter. So are weeds
that aren't harvested frequently enough. Give your chickweed a haircut (yes!
With scissors) every 4-7 days and it will stay tender all spring, ready to
be added to any salad. If you forget a patch for two weeks, it may get
stringy and tough and full of seed capsules. All is not lost at this stage.
The seeds are easy to collect – put the entire plant in a plastic bag in the
refrigerator for 2-3 days and use the seeds that fall to the bottom of the
bag – and highly nutritious, with exceptional amounts of protein and
Unthinned carrots and lettuces grow thin and spindly, so do unthinned lamb's
quarters, amaranth, and other edible weeds. Wherever you decide to let the
weeds grow, keep them thinned as you would any plant you expect to eat. Here
s how I do it: In early spring I lightly top dress a raised bed with my
cool-method compost (which is loaded with the seeds of edible weeds). Over
this I strew a heavy coating of the seeds of lettuces and cresses and
brassicas (cultivated salad greens), then another light covering of shifted
Naturally, weed seeds germinate right along with my salad greens. When the
plants are about two inches high, I go through the bed and thin the salad
greens, pull out all grasses, smartweeds, cronewort, clear weed, and quick
weed (though the last three are edible, I don't find them particularly
palatable) and thin back the chickweed, mallows, lamb's quarters, amaranth,
and garlic mustard and other edible wild greens.

Keep those annuals pinched back. You wouldn't let your basil go straight up
and go to flower, don't let your lamb's quarter either. One cultivated lamb
s quarter plant in my garden grew five feet high and four feet across,
providing greens for salads and cooking all summer and a generous harvest of
seeds for winter use.

When a crop of greens has bolted or gone to seed in your garden, you pull it
all out and replant with another crop. Do the same with your weeds. We eat
the greens of garlic mustard all spring, then pull it out just before it
bolts (making a horseradishy vinegar from the choicest roots) -- often
revealing a generous crop of chickweed lurking underneath.
Here are some of my favorite edible weeds:
• Burdock (Arctium lappa) Roots of non-flowering plants harvested after
frost make a vinegar that is deep, and richly flavorful as well as a
world-renowned tonic. Petioles of the leaves and the flowering stalk are
also edible; for recipes see my book Healing Wise.

• Chickweed (Stellaria media) Young leaves and stalks, even flowers, in
salads. Blend with virgin olive oil and organic garlic for an unforgettable
pesto. Add seeds to porridge.

By Durga Bernhard

• Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis) Leaves eaten at any time, raw or cooked,
but especially tasty in the fall – not spring!. Roots harvested any time;
pickle in apple cider vinegar for winter use. Dandelion flower wine is
justly famous.

• Garlic Mustard (Alliaria officinalis) Year-round salad green. Leaves used
in any season, even winter. Roots are harvested before plant flowers. Seeds
are a spicy condiment.

• Lamb's quarter (Chenopodium alba and related species, e.g. Chenopodium
quinoa). Young leaves in salads. Older leaves and tender stalks cooked.
Leaves dried and ground into flour (replaces up to half the flour in any
recipe). Seeds dried and cooked in soups, porridge.

• Purslane (Portulacca oleracea) The fleshy leaves and stalks of this plant
are incredibly delicious in salads and not bad at all preserved in vinegar
for winter use.
• Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) Leaves add a sour spark to salads. Cooked
with wild leeks or cultivated onion and potato they become a soup called

• Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) Young leaves cooked for 40-45 minutes and
served in their broth are one of my favorite dishes. Seeds can be used in
baked goods, porridge.

For more information see my book Healing Wise
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