If you can’t beat ‘em…

Weeds. Gardeners hate them.

But weeds are just plants. And the weeds in my garden here in New Zealand are almost identical to the weeds I had in my garden in Pennsylvania, and the one in Minnesota, and even my garden in Panama.

So what are these weeds? They’re the plants that European colonists couldn’t do without. Food, medicine, pest control—it’s all there in those common garden weeds. Back when my husband and I lived and worked at residential camps and couldn’t have a garden, we used to forage for weeds to supplement the nutritionally suspect camp food we were served. Dandelions were one of our favourite early spring salad greens. Picked at the right time (before the flowers emerge), they are nutty and pleasantly bitter.

I took a walk around my garden today, and found the makings of a lovely meal among the weeds.

You'll be happy to eat pernicious sheep sorrel, just so the @#$&* things don't resprout.

You’ll be happy to eat pernicious sheep sorrel, just so the @#$&* things don’t resprout.

Dandelion greens make a delicious, nutty early spring green. Pick them before they flower or they'll be bitter.

Dandelion greens make a delicious, nutty early spring green. Pick them before they flower or they’ll be bitter.

Lambs quarters, or henbit is a nice salad green all summer. The chickens love it, too.

Lambs quarters, or henbit is a nice salad green all summer. The chickens love it, too.

Cook up some dock greens as a side dish.

Cook up some dock greens as a side dish.

Even prickly sow thistle can be cooked and eaten.

Even prickly sow thistle can be cooked and eaten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So next time you pull out a handful of weeds, remember—if you can’t beat ‘em, just eat ‘em!