Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Eat Your Weeds

We have been a family of pretty avid vegetable gardeners for some time now. In spite of this, I have only just discovered that you can eat certain plants growing in your yard. And I mean WEEDS.  

As a kid, my sister and I would dare each other to eat chickweed seed pods or clover and we would feel like such bad-asses for doing it. Turns out that we were not even being daring- everything we ate was edible and good for us.

Keep in mind that if you are the type of homeowner who has pristine grass (and only grass) growing on your lawn, then this article will not really apply to you. If you are someone like me, who cannot even grow real grass so your lawn is actually a field of all sorts of wild plants that resemble grass if they are mowed down, then this one is for you!

Joel and I were wandering the farmer's market in our neighborhood a few weeks before I gave birth to Noelle. There was a sweet vendor there who took an interest in my gigantic belly and shared some baby stories with us. She happened to also keep a small vegetable garden and sold her food to folks at the market. I noticed that she was making salves from chickweed and asked her why. She seemed surprised that I didn't know that chickweed can help sooth all sorts of ailments and is jammed packed with nutrients. She said that she grows all sorts of greens in her garden and she makes sure never to pull out the chickweed, because it has much more nutritional value than the greens in her garden. She even adds it to her salads. She then threw in that it is really good for women who breastfeed. 


I came home and started researching what she said. Turns out, it was all true. And not only that, there is a whole host of goodies, both flavorful and nutritious, growing on our lawn. You can add Clover, Chickweed, Purslane, Plantain, Lamb's Quarters, and several other yard plants to salads or cook them like collards or kale. You can also expect them to help with some ailments and add more daily nutrients to your diet.  Dandelion plants are a real gem because you can eat every part of them. Their roots are good for teas and help with detoxifying the liver. Their flowers can be added to salads or sauteed. Their leaves can be added to salads, cooked or made into tea. What is not to love? And, who doesn't have a thousand of these flowers in your yard right now?


If you use pesticides or weed killers in your lawn then you should not experiment with eating your naturally occurring greens. However, if you have a garden and these plants make their way into your raised beds, perhaps, consider not weeding them out. They might just be what your body is looking for. If you would like to read more about this amazing discovery, check out this article by Derek Markham at If you are interested in these lawn weeds for medicinal uses, then check out this article by Web Ecoist.

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