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They’re Not Bad, Just Misplaced

I’ve heard that a weed is a plant that is growing where you don’t want it, and a flower is a weed that you enjoy looking at. Some folks who are allergic to strawberries might wonder that anyone would try growing them, since they spread like crazy.

If that’s the case, I don’t have many weeds in my garden. Grass is one of the few.

I have flowers and edible plants. This is a photo of a spiderwort:

iris2

Another wildflower which name I don’t know, growing across from the strawberries:

purpleflower

Flowers, wild and domesticated, are wonderful in a vegetable garden. They attract pollinators, add color, and confuse pests – in some cases, repel them.

By the flower, and somewhat by the leaves, this plant appears to be a cousin of the dandelion, so I let it grow. Why? The dandelion family all have long taproots that pull up water and nutrients from deeper underground than most garden vegetables do or can. This makes water and nutrients more available to the vegetable crops, so these “weeds” are actually beneficial!

dandelionfam

Wood sorrel is supposed to be edible, plus puts out pretty yellow flowers. I say supposed to because…well…as Jerry said one day, edible doesn’t necessarily mean palatable. Here’s just one of many such plants in my garden:

woodsorrel

The plants grow low and spread, which can help act as live mulch, but there are too many of them in my garden and so most will eventually be pulled out.

Henbit is so named because chickens enjoy it, but it is also edible for humans, too. It’s flavor is bland and the texture is rather fuzzy, but it is part of the mint family and you can almost tell when you chew its leaves.

The purplish-red henbit buds of the plant in the following photo have not yet opened.

henbit

I made a video about dock a few weeks ago; it’s grown so much that I had Jerry dig several large plants out. While dock leaves are highly nutritious, the weed reseeds easily, and the roots quickly grow deep and don’t like coming out. In my ideal world, the dock would have started and remained along the edges of the garden, but it has enough space for “everyone.”

Here’s a photo of one of a bunch of dock plants – which grow much larger than I thought they would, based on their size last fall!

dockMost of the locals around here would probably think I was “loca” to let this “pernicious weed” grow in my garden. But, hey! Free greens! I didn’t have to plant them, and insects don’t bother them. I use them in our green smoothies every three days – the smaller leaves are not bitter, but have a mild lemony flavor.

So the next time you see a weed in your garden, remember, it’s not evil (unless it’s grass). It’s just an innocent plant that’s been misplaced. 🙂

 

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