Just after it rains is the best time to pull out weeds. So when I awoke this morning, I rushed outside in my bare feet to take advantage of the wet ground. Out there pulling weeds, got me wondering if the neighbors ever think, "There goes that crazy weed lady with the disheveled hair."
Earth mother that I am, I like to go barefoot to feel the ground under my feet. So I pick all of the sticker weeds - like the dreaded goat heads - before they go to seed. (Especially seeking out those that disguise themselves with pretty yellow or purple flowers. They don't fool me!)
|sticker weed on neighbor's side
I'll admit I drive Dan crazy by stopping to pull out a weed in a neighbor's right of way on our walk to the store. There are two benefits for me: to catch the sticker plants before they take over their whole yard and get tracked into mine while (hopefully) discouraging them from using weed killer in our neighborhood.
You might recall I had some run-ins with a certain landscaper who insists on spraying Roundup in our neighborhood. Remember this photo on facebook?
|Poisoning by T.D.T.
|Found on Aug. 7, 2018
|chard we grew in Bermuda weed mulch
Speaking of crazy... I wonder what the neighbors thought of Dan out there in the heat of the day digging up Bermuda grass (a foot deep) to make a right of way catchment basin - and then purposely transplanting native grass into that basin! (This is actually a thing. The native grass works with the wood chip mulch as a sponge to keep the ground moist. Native plants also prevent erosion on the sides of the basin.)
Last year, Dan looked on in dismay as I picked the Bermuda grass in the easement behind our house... and the neighbors' house. But there was method to my madness! I was making room for the edible weeds to come up. And it worked! We had an alleyway buffet of amaranth and purslane!
Remember this sign?
|our alleyway buffet
So... I've had to resort to finding my purslane elsewhere. I've been known to pull out weeds in front of the neighborhood steakhouse, so they won't start spraying poison on them. There were three huge patches of purslane under the downspout from their giant roof. One day I grabbed a big bunch on the way to the bus stop and put it into my reusable grocery bag. (Caution: stinging ants under the weeds.) Of course, it's always a good idea to ask the owner if they use weed killer. If you're not sure, you can still liberate that purslane and replant the roots in your own yard. That's how I got a nice row of purslane in my garden last summer.
I have two pitchers full of purslane that I nibble on throughout the day. During purslane season, I like to throw it into everything: soups, salads, scrambles, and sauces. (Well, everything starting with "s.")
The other night, I used a big bunch to make one of my favorite purslane dishes: verdologas stew! YUM!
Scroll down the blogs on this link for more of my favorite purslane recipes.
So there are good weeds and bad weeds. I leave the good weeds where I want them and pull the bad.
I spent the better part of one summer trying to eradicate the Russian thistle from the alleyway and our garden.
|Russian thistle right next to our fenced in food garden...
I was successful at getting rid of the Russian thistle. Here's a picture of that same spot last November. The ground was so rich from the decomposing weeds and leaves that we grew a 3 Sisters garden without any fertilizer - just a thin layer of wood chip mulch.
|This patch was overgrown with Russian thistle.
Here I'm watering some cowpeas that survived the hot summer.
|That's odviously amaranth!
I'll bestow the virtues of edible weeds on anyone who will listen and even some who won't (much to the horror of my teenage son). Hey, they'll be glad to have that food security if we ever have an emergency where Mexico and California stop delivering us produce.
On the way home from the store yesterday, I noticed some amaranth growing in a neighbor's yard. I knocked on the door and asked if they were going to eat the edible weeds growing there. Because if they weren't, I could save them the effort of picking it by foraging it myself.
Yep, I'm the crazy weed lady. I own it. But - seriously - Dan started it!
What common weeds have to offer the organic gardener and how to keep them from taking over