Maybe it's because we consider them unsightly. Or maybe we just don't know their value. Or..maybe we have a penchant toward 'pristine' lawns? I don't know about you, but in my world weeds are a given. When you live in rural America, there are gonna be weeds. No getting around it. So I thought it might be fun to find out what weeds can be of use to me and how to get the most benefit. Here are a few things I found:
Dandelions: Probably one of the most common in most every yard. My mom used to pick them and put them in salads or mix them in with scrambled eggs (one of my Dad's favorites). Yep. Dandelions are edible (both the leaves AND the flowers!) and even DELICIOUS if you pick them when they're small. They're also great companion plants to various grains and tomatoes. They attract honeybees (always a good thing!) and are used as a diuretic in herbal medicine. Oh...and Dandelion tea is terrific for congestion. No kidding.
Clover: It's actually a member of the legume family. Great companion plant to a host of veggies like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, cucumber, squash, melons and gourds. Also fertilizes the soil, and provides a humid micro-climate that benefits lots of plants by stabilizing their moisture. Who knew?
There are lots of others including Bashful Mimosa, Cocklebur, Crow Garlic, Goldenrod, Horse Nettle, Milkweed, Nasturtium, Nettle, Queen Anne's Lace (yep. it's a weed!), and Wild Mustard. I'm sure there are tons more..but you get the idea. WEEDS ARE NOT 'BAD' THINGS!
There's a reason why I'm writing about weeds today, and it isn't just to give you a gardening lesson. It's got everything to do with something I read a few days ago; and it's had me thinking ever since (uh-oh). About how some people are like weeds. You know the ones: they show up uninvited, mess up the whole pretty picture, suck the life outta your garden and no matter how many times you pull 'em out, they just keep showing up again. So what do you do about it? What can you do, short of drowning them in poison, and still keep your garden healthy?
Maybe, like the weeds just mentioned, you can find their hidden value. Maybe, instead of fighting with 'em, you can find a way to integrate them into your garden as useful remedies. Maybe, just maybe, once you stop resisting their annoying presence you will see just how beneficial they are. Like thorns on a rose. There for a reason. There for you to grow. There for you to see what you might otherwise miss about yourself or your own annoying habits. Things you want to cultivate. More patience. More compassion. More YOU. Often times it is our immutable belief(s) that keep us from growing our best garden. Those 'weeds' can push us past our rigid perspectives into a more flexible sway. Know what I mean?
Well, maybe it's a stretch. Or maybe there's something here that you hadn't thought about before. Hope so. What I know right now is that there is value in most everything. Even the weeds in our lives. I'm gonna start picking more and using them to nourish myself. Enough with the fighting already. Push comes to shove, I'll just let those weeds fade on their own. It's bound to happen...eventually.
Now...for some Dandelion Soup.