The Top 5 Weeds to Grow
As gardeners we spend a ton of time and money putting together our space, resources and energy to create a garden. We have plans on exactly how we want to plant out our garden to get the most out of our gardens. I want to challenge your way of thinking about weeds by giving you my Top 5 weeds to grow in your garden.
There are all sorts of things that seem to always get in the way of us gardeners having the garden of our dreams. Whether it is bugs killing our plants, powdery mildew trying to smother our garden or birds getting our tomatoes, there are solutions to these problems. For the organic gardener these problems tend to be more difficult to manage because we do not want to use chemicals to control the pests and mildew.
There is one more problem that we as gardeners always seem to have and that is weeds trying to take over our garden. For most of us, pulling weeds is one garden chore that we despise. If we let weeding go for just a few days the garden is covered in them; then we spend time, money and our energy in trying to get rid of them. When we see the weeds we go all out to get rid of them, we get out the shovel to dig them out or we break out some vinegar to try to kill it. Have you ever stopped to think, what is a weed? A weed is essentially any plant that you do not want in a particular spot. So, if we view weeds in this way a tomato volunteer that came up from a seed that was dropped last year in our now pepper patch would be a weed. If you actually think about the weeds that you have in your garden or yard, you did not plant them which means they came up on their own. The weed seed germinated on its own without any special treatment that we give our seeds indoors. It self-seeded and it grew sometimes in between pavers in our pathways or who knows where else. We spend a ton of hours in order to get rid of some of our best growing plants. I want to challenge you right now to change your thought process about weeds, well about some of them. I strive to have a garden that flourishes even in our hot Texas summers with little maintenance so why would I rip out the plants that do best in my area.
Although these edible weeds may be different than what you have in your area here are the top 5 weeds to have in your garden that can be used for meals.
The most commonly found garden and lawn weed on The Top 5 weeds to grow, dandelions have had a reputation of being a pesky waste of resources and space. For all of those people who want a perfect lawn there is no way to get around the persistent dandelion. The good news about dandelion is that the whole plant is completely edible. The leaves, roots, stems and flowers are all edible making this a great and versatile plant. The leaves are the most popular part of this plant because you can harvest them at any point throughout the growing season. The leaves if harvested young can make a delicious addition to your salad or larger leaves can be added to a stir fry.
Purslane is number two on The Top 5 weeds to grow list. It is one of the weeds that can often be found in the difficult areas like growing in between cracks in your driveway or between pavers. It likes moist garden beds and even shady areas where it generally grows close to the ground and usually goes unnoticed. This garden weed is a hidden gem nutritionally as it is one of the foods with the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids. More so than any other leafy vegetable and also can be a great addition to a salad or a stir fry. Purslane is a succulent that has a nice peppery flavor that also adds some texture to dishes and can be eaten raw or cooked.
3. Lamb’s Quarters
Lamb’s Quarters is another versatile plant on The Top 5 weeds to grow list that can be used in multiple ways. The young leaves can be eaten as a spinach substitute raw in a salad or sautéed or steamed in other dishes. The seeds can also be eaten but it does take a lot of them to make an addition to a meal.
4. Curly dock
Curly dock is another common weed that will almost grow anywhere and is hard to get rid of. Curly dock leaves can be eaten raw when harvest young or cooked when harvested older. These leaves make a great addition to soups and salads. The stems are also edible if peeled and can be eaten raw or cooked. Dock leaves tend to be tart because of their high oxalic acid so best to eat them in moderation and when cooking it is recommended that you change the water several times. Curly dock can make a great addition to any garden.
This common garden weed can be harvested and used for food and medicinally. Chickweed leaves, stems and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked, added to salad or soups. This versatile weed adds a nice spinach flavor to any dish. This plant can be used to treat minor cuts, burns or rashes but also can be made into a tea for use as a diuretic.
These are just a few of the edible weeds that you can have in your garden. Do not over stress trying to get rid of all the weeds that may pop up in your yard but rather start putting some of those to work for you. If you can grow something with very little work or resources, why wouldn’t you? I always recommend if you do not know what a plant is, to ask someone or consult a field guide but there are a ton of wild plants you can eat. Here is a link to a field guide that can be useful in identifying plants.