Have you just weed in the garden?? Part 1


Pixabay Images

Doin The Dirt Eh Directory

Have you just weed in the garden??

Part 1

Now l happen to like weeds, not many people do, gardeners tend to not like them at all,  but l do, not just because l think some of them are very pretty and receive bad press, but because some weeds are just basically flowers in the wrong place, and you can either attack them and be rid of them or accept them into the folds of the garden.

My real passion for weeds began in 1999 when l used to keep huge herds of rabbits and guinea pigs and l used to love supplementing their diets with some lovely and lush foliage from around the countryside – but as l started to study them further and took a couple of foraging courses l not only learned more about their uses, but l also learned to love their quirkiness as well as found out that they could when armed with the right knowledge help other animal species as well and l used to when making my huge rodent mixes for the gerbils, mix in healthy quantities of dried herbs to supplement their diets with an organic twist.

Not all weeds are the invasive swine many make them out to be, but of course some are – we only have to think of nettles for that!

The beauty of weeds is that they have some marvelous uses, they can be eaten by humans and animal alike, they are superb for green manure and composting,, they can be dried, they can be used for medicinal purposes, some can be made into tea or wine, others can be turned into organic garden sprays and bug deterrants!




White Clover


Oxalis – Wood Sorrel


Stinging Nettle


Dock Leaves


Have you just weed in the garden?? Part 1


You can eat dandelions – you can eat the young leaves like a salad and they are similiar to that of a rocket type of spinach, or you can boil the young leaves and treat them exactly like spinach – they can be quite tangy.  The flower can be used to make dandelion wine. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, and bees loves them too. Also the root can be used as a substitute for coffee if you roast it. But also as a tea.. Dandelion Tea .

Also you can make a natural yellow dye out of this plant.

For gardeners you can make the notorious ‘Weed Tea

Many say you shouldn’t put them into the compost, but l do, l dehead them and toss them in, principally because l maintain a very hot compost heat, which kills off most things.

White Clover

This little beauty can be in salads raw, or you cansauté them. The flowers can make tea if dried, or decoratives in puddings and desserts and as l have discussed recently they can be used to form part of your lawn, as they are soft underfoot and the bees love them too. Just be aware that clover is quite invasive. you can grow some clover prior to turning your raised beds in for the winter months and dug into the soil and covered.  Clover also provides nitrogen to the soil and is great as a replacement fertlizer so no need for artificial fertilizers with clover growing. There is another beauty to clover and that is it can act as a form of ‘Living Mulch‘ which can prove beneficial to some gardeners.

Oxalis – Wood Sorrel

Quite often mistaken for clover, which it most assuredly is not. You can eat the leaves in smallish quantities in a salad, but not large quantities as it can make the consumer quite ill.

Stinging Nettle

I used to work a lot with Nettle and mostly because l hung it in huge bunches and served it dried  to the gerbils, it would be blended into their mixtures of grain anf flakes. Every month l used to prepare a 5 tonne mixture of food for 2200 gerbils, and towards the end just after l had added the mineral oils l would shred the nettles and have them mixed in as well.

You have to be careful with nettle for the obvious and that is both the rash and the sting. Now l used to harvest my plants when they were quite young and not when they were towering six foot giant.

But if you boil them and cook them for long enough, when you come to eat them, you’ll not feel any sting – but they can taste like spinach and they too like the dandelions are rich  in oron and vitamin C.

You can make Nettle Tea and Wine and you can even make a Nettle Pesto and yes there is still more, fancy some Nettle Soup

There is also a Nettle Garden fertilizer that can be created although beware, having made this it asbolutely reeks!

Now butterflies adore nettles because they are one of their main food sources – just bear that in mind folks. But ladybugs also love them, as they are great for laying eggs.

You can compost down nettles, thay are superb in the heap, but only add the roots if like me you have a hot compost which can kill off most things. Mix the nettles into the layers and mix well with other foliages. Believe it or not, they act as a marvelous activator to heap, and better still if shredded down.

Finally, believe it or not, nettles are pretty fussy about where they grow, so if they are growing this is a pretty good indicator that the soil is quite rich – bet you didn’t think of that eh? So if you have them, grow vegetables alongside that also love that kind of rich in nitrogen and phosphate type soil. Just remember to dig up the nettles at the end of the season and don’t forget their roots!

Dock As a child, l seemingly remember more Docks growing and they were always beside the nettles, these days it appears that we have to hunt down the docks! This is strangely enough a thing, as in the changing face of our woodlands where a lot of once companions, are not often in the same mutuality anymore.

New fresh young leaves are great in salads, or cooked into a soup, added to the pesto. – and so quite a few uses already. But of course they are mostly famous for their salve properties and the ability to soothe a sting and itch. Tear off some leaf, crush it between your fingers to a nice mulch and apply to the affected area.

So there we go folks, part 1 – and it may make you look at some of your weeds with a renewed approach, yes they can be troublesome, but they are NOT without their uses.

15 thoughts on “Have you just weed in the garden?? Part 1

    1. Hey Ribana, absolutely – on a side note l was looking into your parsley issue and have read that flat leaf parsleys is quite good in a number of differing soil types adn temperatures .. which is good unless this was the type you were growing, which means back to the drawing board 🙂

      1. It is indeed the flat leaf parsley. Until now 2 little plants are growing 🌱 😊 I really think it doesn’t like the hot. I’ll wait and see and in the meantime I’ll try to find the curly one 😉

  1. Oh I enjoyed this post, Rory! I am not a gardener although I have managed to grow tomatoes (from seed) in a little garden box for three summers now. We do have dandelions and LOTS of clover which I welcome, as they draw the bees. And something very pretty that I have allowed to grow in a corner because of its lovely flowers. No idea what it is, though. I was intrigued by your composting comments (‘hot’ compost?): we live in town and do not have a lot of space but for environmental reasons, I really want to start composting our kitchen waste. Have you written about this? I would love to hear more!

    1. Hey Patti, glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      i have part 2 coming out today, and surprisingly enough l have received a few emails on this series of Doin’ The Dirt with requests for information on composting as as the eseential 5, 10 and 15 essential herbs. So in the next few days l will be covering these topics.

      What space do you have available with regards composting/ 🙂

      1. Oh, so glad I asked! And… we only have a few square feet near the side of the house (probably not ideal to be so close? But WAY easier to get to when the snow piles up in the winter) or a few square feet over by our garage (impossible to get at in the winter). I was thinking of one of those off-the-ground ones that you can turn with a crank. But I know NOTHING about this and have not yet done any research.

Comments are closed.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: