The most joyful message I take from my journey on the permaculture path is that the world is actually a very abundant place.
The more we stop doing stuff the more it takes over and does stuff for us.
If you stop weeding you get lots of plants. Oh but they’re just weeds! Well yes but all plants were once weeds.
In our garden there are over sixty species of plants edible in salads- and most of them are weeds. This year we’ve actually grown lettuce, so make that sixty-one.
Salad Burnet– native of chalk uplands (e.g. the North and South Downs in southern England), has a delicate cucumbery taste and is massively hardy- we were eating it last December. As we are at the latitude of Alaska.
Leaf Celery. Same plant as the stalky stuff but jest cropped for the leaves- equally hardy.
Land Cress (Barbarea praecox named for St Barbara on whose saint day it flowers mid-winter. Because she was the patron saint of miners and it’s a poultice for burn wounds- a regular risk in the old days of coal-mining). A nice spicy leaf that’s also hardy all year round.
Sweet Cicely– a touch of aniseed spring to summer and the seeds eaten green are like liquorice.
Lemon Sorrel– an amazing yummy surprise.
Ruby Sorrel– a more delicate taste but the red veined leaves are bonny in a salad.
French Sorrel– a bigger leaf with a sour twist (famous for making source for eating with fatty fish like Turbot).
There are lots of edible flowers:
Marigold (Calendula) great orange glories whose leaves are also rich in vitamin E; pansies and primulas early in the year, rose petals, borage (‘I borage give courage’ in the old saying- it’s a cordial, literally meaning good for the heart) not bad in Pimms either. Comfrey. Alkanet, Cowslip.
Dandelion (the French is Pis-en-Lit, reflected in the English folk name Wet-the-bed) diuretic- good for the kidneys. In small amounts will do no harm.
Yarrow, Ground Elder-an edible curse, gift of the Romans along with Rabbits, Dead nettles (three species in the garden) and heap of other ‘green weeds’ that are edible.
Chives, Garlic Chives (Jack by the Hedge), Garlic Mustard, Wild Garlics (we have about four different sorts including Ramsons), Welsh Onions, Walking Onions, and well Garlic and Onions… you can’t have too many Alliums.
Well you get the picture. Learn to love weeds.