A Love for Weeds: Garden Pest Appreciation

Good day all!

It has been a wonderfully sunny spring this year! With this fantastic weather comes the natural explosion of wide variety of weeds. This makes maintaining gardens and yards a lot more trouble than it needs to be. In this part of Colorado we see a great deal of leafy greens pop up such as Dandelions, Curly/Yellow Dock, Common Mallow, Prickly Lettuce, and so much more. The plants I’ve just listed are known to many gardeners as noxious weeds and consider them a pest. However, each one of these plants listed are completely edible; with some preparation in the kitchen. You should note that if you aren’t 100% familiar with the plant you’re looking at more research should be done before consumption or handling.

Armed with a short spade and a grocery bag you may remove the weeds by their roots. This is more effective for ensuring they do not grow back; also the roots of each plant I listed has fantastic properties. At this point it’s obviously your choice if you want to discard the plant or save it for a little at home botany fun. For discarding the plant make sure to place it somewhere the seeds won’t spread and potentially reach your garden again; in the woods or garbage should be suffice. For saving the plant and using it regard the following paragraph.

*It is highly advised to do extensive research on each plant you forage*

The amount of edible plants in the southwest is abundant but comes with a vast population of inedible ones too. What we think is one plant may very well be very dangerous. For example, we have wild onion growing in abundance in our lower wet areas; marked by a rich onion smell. The flower Death Camas has a root system that resembles that resembles onion but is highly poisonous.

If you’ve made it this far in the article I have a bit more to share regarding the plants you have positively identified. If the plants are to be used fresh they should almost always be washed first; in some cases boiled with salt to remove any oxalates. Fresh roots can be hard to chop up if it’s too woody in which case we recommend drying it or roasting it in the oven. Storing fresh plants in airtight containers can lead to mold growth which isn’t ideal typically. Drying plant material can be done in the sun if it isn’t photosensitive or indoors. If your plant matter is dried completely it is highly recommended to store it in an airtight container to keep its quality.

For more information about plants and foraging feel free to contact [email protected] | Collin Massad, Spagyric Alchemist

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