Edible plants are all around us, especially in your garden. We’re not talking about the obvious fruit trees, vegetables plants, or even flowers. We’re talking about weeds, of course! There are many different types of weeds that are both edible and nutritious. Read on to learn about just a few that you might find in your backyard garden.
Chickweed is a common weed that tends to overrun gardens. Now, instead of killing it, you can eat it; the young shoots and tender tips of young shoots are safe and tasty. The leaves of Creeping Charlie can also be taken and used in a tea.
Young leaves of Nettle, Garlic Mustard, and Violets can also be eaten; if you eat Nettles, be sure to cook the leaves thoroughly. Little Bittercress (also known as Shotweed) can be consumed in its entirety, while you can eat just the stems and leaves of Lambs Quarters.
Identifying & Caring
Once you know which weeds you have in your garden and which ones are edible, be sure to pay attention to which parts of the plant should or should not be consumed. As mentioned above, some weeds need to be cooked while others can be eaten raw. Some flowers of weeds can be eaten, whereas for others only the leaves or seeds can be consumed. Be sure to do all the necessary research first.
Also, please keep in mind the environment of these weeds. If you plan on eating some of these weeds, do not spray them with any chemicals! Pay attention to the type of soil that they are growing in and if there may be anything in it that is harmful to humans; also take note of what flowers, plants, or weeds may be growing near them. Of course, be sure to thoroughly wash anything from your garden that you intend to eat.
Word of Warning
As with anything you eat, you should make sure you actually know what it is! Be sure to properly identify any plant you intend to eat by using field books and preparing them as required (if necessary). Please do not assume that all plants or weeds are edible. Sure, you can physically chew them all, but many of them can also kill you. So before you start munching on weeds, make sure you have 100% properly identified them.
All in All
Your garden promises a great bounty in weeds and produce alike. Be sure to follow the safety guidelines mentioned above when preparing to consume weeds. It may also be a good idea to get some advice from your local gardening group or nursery. Once you know the proper preparation and have correctly identified your prospective weeds, enjoy!