Thursday, March 31, 2011

To Weed or Not?

I'm a hand weeder. I don't like to mess with the chemicals as I don't think it's worth the danger and they kill things I don't want them to kill (like the wildflowers that grace my yard). So, this is the time of year I start pulling stuff.

It's the best time to take a stab at weeds like this....



If you get to these before they bloom, you'll have a much easier time at it.  Last year at this time there were hundreds of these.  I couldn't get to them all before they bloomed but got to a lot.  This year there are relatively few, which tells me I'm making progress.

But, beware of pulling everything that isn't grass indiscriminately, or you might pull up the wildflowers with the weeds.  Like this one....


DON'T PULL THESE!!!!



THEY TURN INTO THESE!



Some  wild plants are not as pretty as the primroses above, but still useful, so you may want to thin them for aesthetic reasons, but leave a few in some corner of the yard for their other uses.

I let Plantain grow in my back yard but not my front....

Here's what Plantain looks like at this time of year:



 Later it will look like this...


The picture above is by Calindarabus, who not only has great photos of tons of plants on Flickr, but includes info about the plant with each picture!

If you dislike this plant in your yard you can blame the pilgrims.  They brought it with them for it's medicinal uses, and it was called "White Man's Foot" by the Native Americans because it cropped up wherever the Europeans settled.  The reason I keep some plantain in my back yard is because I've read you can crush a leaf and rub it on a bug bite and it will help, and you can eat the seed pods (I'm going to try them in salads).  Supposedly the young leaves are also edible...but in my yard they are fuzzy, so I'll pass on that.  But watch out, because these tend to spread.

Here's another useful weed people don't usually appreciate....


Dandelion leaves are great in salad, and the unopened dandelion buds can be fried in butter and eaten.  The dried roots can be a coffee substitute.  Plus, they have medicinal uses.  I've found that between my children picking the flowers and me using them for salads and such, the dandelions in our yard have thinned out without me having to pull any.  But if you are going to be pulling them up, why not collect the leaves, buds and roots and use them in the process?


To find out more about edible Texas plants, check out this Merriwether's Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Texas and the Southwest.


For more gardening blog posts try visiting the Gardeing Linky Party.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Gale, Thanks for visiting my blog!

    How funny that you have a post on your blog in honour of weeds! Well -- one person's weed is another person's flower, right?

    I've never used dandelions for anything edible or medicinal, but I should try it sometime! I've licked the bottom of the stem, but I don't really recommend that...

    Nice to meet you "officially"!

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  2. Thanks for sharing the dandelion love! We like to make dandelion fritters from the flowers, replace spinach in a lasagna with the leaves, and I always leave a spot in the garden for them to grow a nice, thick root. We harvest the root in the fall to dry and use it to help ward of the flu and colds all winter.

    I learned a little about plaintains today, though, so I have to thank you for that as well.

    Now I just have to figure out how to get primroses growing in my lawn...

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