Honouring the weeds

Herbal remedy by Odette Rowe Wairarapa Yoga teacher

A few years ago it dawned on me that I was spending more time weeding my driveway and garden paths than my actual garden. I had been a keen forager for years but never really thought about the weeds that were right under my nose. Julia Sich’s wonderful book about making green smoothies changed my whole garden attitude towards path weeding and even garden bed weeding. Most of these weeds actually had more nutrition than the the “proper plants” I was putting in their place. Suddenly I felt truly abundant and like a very successful farmer with a vast acreage of potential food. Sadly now my main “problem” weeds are still bindweed and buttercups which are not edible for humans but the rest are largely fabulous for me, the chooks and the ducks. Weeds are also important as ground cover, indicators of soil health and bring minerals from deep down to the surface to be accessible.

There is something magical about eating weeds – they are the wild edge, the untamed, the maligned and hated. I feel deliciously witchy sitting under a tree snacking on chickweed. During lockdown when the only place we could buy food was at supermarkets, weed eating felt like freedom from the social rules and the queues. This recent level 4 was a brilliant time for chickweed, cleavers and corn salad and I had many a happy hour foraging for our meals while clearing space to plant spring crops.

I really recommend the following titles to learn more about the uses of weeds both in your kitchen and in your garden. Julia’s guide to edible weeds and wild green smoothies available here , Working with Weeds by Kate Wall ( available from Almo’s bookshop) and The Forager’s treasury by Joanna Knox (updated edition available at Almo’s bookshop.)

The Pussy Power Lady Garden Academy has a practicum this Wednesday “Honouring the Weeds”. Come along if you wish to learn to forage, blend smoothies and weave Kundalini Yoga and New Moon Nidra into the mix. Details are here