Ask any gardener what concerns them about gardening and you will usually hear
"Weeds!". But what are the actual weed and can we benefit from some of them?
Did you know that many of the weeds are actually useful as either food or medicine?
However, if you find that a weed is overtaking more than its fair share of the garden,
you may want to use a few of these methods.
What is a weed?
The term "weed" is something that is growing where you don't want it to. And in most cases they seem to grow with wild abandon and multiply rapidly, making you feel like you are losing the war. If only some of our vegetables could grow so easily!
But there are some organic methods to help control the weeds.
You have probably seen this growing everywhere, in your garden, in cracks in your driveway and sidewalk. Most people consider this a weed, but did you know it is actually a superfood? According to the USDA FoodData Central Database, Purslane is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, and lots of other nutrients, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. It could be packed with certain vitamins like vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, and vitamin A. You can use it in salads, smoothies and soups!
Hand-pulling them is one of the first go-to methods. You get in there and pull the weed out, hopefully getting the root with it. You can throw them into a basket or make a pike and once they start to die, add them to your compost pile (you don't want them to start growing in your compost.
In nature, soil doesn't like to be bare. Take a walk through the woods and you will see no bare soil. Dig down a little bit and you will see the beautiful dark soil teaming with billions of microbes, worms, and insect life. This is what makes soil healthy. Nature provides her own mulch in the form of fallings leaves and decomposing dead plant material. The great thing is there are so many options available to the organic gardener. Straw, woodchips, bark mulches, mowed grass, and even landscape fabrics. This helps the soil retain moistures and regulates the daily temperature swings for healthy plants.
Love them or hate them, dandelions are here to stay. But did you know that dandelions are one of the first foods in the spring for our pollinators? According to Healthline.com dandelions are a great source of vitamins A, C, and K. They also contain vitamin E, folate, and small amounts of other B vitamins. Dandelions are a rich source of beta carotene and polyphenol compounds, both of which may neutralize harmful free radicals and protect against chronic disease. The greens can be cooked or eaten raw, in salads and smoothies and the flowers can be used for tea.
Depending on where you live, this plant grows quickly and abundantly. One of the nice things about chickweed is that the roots are very shallow and can be pulled up easily.
According to Eric Orr on the website Wild Edible, chickweed is another nutritious dynamo. You can use it in salads, smoothies, sandwiches, wraps and used as sprouts. It can be cooked like spinach.