Tuesday, 16 August 2011

We Eat Weeds

by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin & Little Green Cheese.

Last night we had a 'weed' salad with our dinner!

Our weed salad
Now, before I go any further with this tale, let me define a weed (Collins Dictionary)
1.  any plant that grows wild and profusely, esp. among cultivated plants.
So really it is any plant not growing where you want it to be.  After 5 years of gardening and growing heirloom vegetables that naturally propagate by self seeding, we have many friendly weeds around the garden.  I did not plant them, nor did I interfere with their desire to grow where they chose to germinate.

Beetroot and rainbow chard self sown all over the place. I did not plant them in the pot!
I currently have the following 'gifts from nature' aka weeds that keep on returning year after year; lambs tongue lettuce, red beetroot, white beetroot, 4 different varieties of rainbow chard, nasturtiums, parsley, cherry tomatoes, and garlic.

Lambs tongue lettuce in my onion/carrot patch
As you can see, all of these veggies are potential salad ingredients, even in mid winter.  So prolific are some of these weeds, that they are beginning to compete with the vegetables that I intentionally planted.  We are picking and pulling lettuce just about every day so that they do now crowd out the brown onions and carrots.  Once the lettuce goes bitter (as it does), I will pull most plants and feed them to the chickens.  However, to keep all of my 'weeds' happy, I will let two plants of each type go to seed therefore letting the cycle continue.  Why fight with Mother Nature when I can let her do some of the heavy lifting around the garden!

To cap it all off, I will leave you with the conversation around the dinner table last night.  Ben was helping Kim gather the ingredients for the salad and he asked "Mum, why are you picking weeds?"  Kim replied, "Ben, that is because nature left them here for us to eat".  Now Ben must have thought long and hard about this statement, because at the table, after cooking Kim and I dinner that consisted of Tortellini and Basil Pesto, with said salad, he piped up and said, "Dad, we are eating weeds for dinner!"  I laughed loudly because I knew exactly what he meant.  Children tell it straight like it is, that's for sure.

So according to Ben, we eat weeds, and are proud of it!

Do you have any interesting 'weeds' growing in your veggie patch?


jessieimproved said...

We have lots of chickweed in our yard - actually pretty tasty. Since I don't spray any chemicals I just rinse some off and nibble on it while I'm out in the garden.

Anonymous said...

Dandelion salad and fritters . Delicious. They grow with vigour on my allotment and provide my kids and i with numerous free, nutricious and delicious lunches. Love the blog by the way! Jules UK

Terry said...

Gavin I absolutely love this "I did not plant them, nor did I interfere with their desire to grow where they chose to germinate." If I more closely follow that creed I may have much less work to do in the garden trying to force things to grow where I want them instead of the other way around. The biggest unwanted weed in my garden is ground ivy, which is everywhere and is a constant battle. I also have a lot of bindweed. I have a large patch of clover which I don't mind because I know the bees and rabbits love it. I have not tried eating any of these.

Jaesi said...

Lots of things that I know are in the dandelion family, but don't really know what they are. And some alfafa, some protein for the vegetarian yay!

Bel said...

Sorell from beside the driveway, tiny cherry tomatoes everywhere, fruit from the forest (only ones that I know) and kale from the paved path of my garden (self seeded and vigorous - the transplanted ones died)... I love weeds!