Next year I want to give most of my garden over to weeds, I'll just make sure they are edible ones. I'm tired of fighting nature and don't have much time and money to invest in the garden. I'm thinkin burdock, lambsquarters, mustard, chicory, chickweed, sorrel, bulb fennel, put some seeds in on purpose and hope they grow like weeds. Leave some portion to self seed for next year. Anybody else grow weeds to eat? I figure it could be more productive and nutrient dense than anything else, longer harvest season too.
I'm not very good about harvesting them, but I always let a few weeds stay in: lamb's quarters, dandelion, purslane, etc. I am also on the lookout for vegetables that self-sow in our climate-- kale, leeks (the sets self-sow, then you divide like usual), chard, parsley, even scarlet runner beans, carrots, etc. Edible, self-sown flowers get a place in the garden, calendula, johnnie jump-ups, borage, nasturtiums, all fill in. Fennel can be wild but can take over as well.
All these take over the borders and blank spaces of every garden bed, whether veggie/annula or flower beds. Dock is a favorite of the chickens, scotch thistle is just so damned cool looking! And, of course, we have native forest plants that want to take room for themselves, so we let them fill in the blanks.
Himalayan blackberries give us a huge harvest for jam, so we let them be unless we really want the space back.
I used to write a gardening column for the local rag. I titled it "The Welcome Garden", after the song "Welcome Table" where "all God's children gonna sit together...", but instead "all God's [earth's] creatures gonna sit together one of these days...." I wrote about everything, but always came back to welcoming all sorts of plants and bugs and, well, nature, into the garden instead of strictly battling X so I can exclusively grow Y, and not viewing the presence of a bug as problem. Hopefully, I influenced a lot of people during my 2 years.
Your post was right up my alley. I knew someone in Seattle that really did have a weed garden, and was the local expert on all things edible, and thankfully shared his expertise with others. Since he wrote books I can tell you his name: Arthur Lee Jacobson.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
Don't forget nettles! They are high in nutrition and come back year after year. For some reason the nettles love growing in my strawberries and raspberries. I don't purposely grow weeds, but do let some stay, like dandelions. I consider them emergency food!
Mom to two boys, ages 8 and 11, and one blessing due May 8th.
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