Weeds, please.

Long rainy days have soaked into parched garden beds and it seems that if a person was still for a bit, it would be possible to witness the rapid growth. Still, though, we wait for the big harvests of late summer. We’re nibbling lettuces, turnip greens, arugula, and herbs. But the weeds win the prize for most exciting garden greens today.

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Pretty prostrate purslane, Portulaca oleracea, has taken up residence in the carrot bed. Purslane is loaded to the gills with omega-3 fatty acids. It also has a bunch of vitamins A, C, E, and B, along with magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. And it’s crispy, tasty, and delightful. It can be juiced, added to smoothies, made into a cooling gazpacho, and worked into great big salads.

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Stellaria media is content among the tomatoes. Another scrumptious and nutrient dense wild green, chickweed has a mild nutty taste. Chickweed can also be wilted slightly, infused in olive oil, and made into a wonderful healing balm for wounds, bug bits, and other ailments.

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And, heavenly yarrow. Achillia millefolilum is not really a weed since we planted it in the garden for its uncanny ability to attract beneficial little insects. It turns out that yarrow is also drop dead gorgeous and so easy to admire. Yarrow has a long history of medicinal uses as well. It can stop bleeding, bring down fevers, relieve pain and cramping.

In addition to these beauties, sheep sorrel, Rumex acetosella, and wood sorrel, Oxalis acetosella, abound throughout the gardens. Pleasantly sour, downright lemony, they can be added to flavor salads or cooked dishes.

As the cultivated plants find their way to maturity, we’ll count on the weeds to keep us entertained and well fed.

 

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