With some weeds, it’s not an issue. I just pull them. But with others, like purslane or wood sorrel, I wonder whether I should pull them or not.
I didn’t pay $40 to grow weeds at the community garden, but there is lots to consider:
- the edible varieties, like purslane, wood sorrel and dandelion, are full of nutrition (and taste delicious!)
- Their long taproots allow them to pull up nutrients from the soil and make them available to other plant
- some weeds are great trap crops, keeping pests off your cultivated crops. Lambs quarters trap aphids really well
- some are really great for the compost or to make fertilizing tea, like nettles
My concern now is that it’s mid-season and not much is growing or is growing really slowly. If I let weeds take off, then maybe that’s all I ‘ll be left by the end of the season so for now I’ve been pulling (I’m probably pulling up seeds I planted in an effort to stay on top of weeds but that’s another story). The purslane hasn’t been looking too succulent lately.
Incidentally, did you know that purslane, if left alone, will flower? I was reading about this on a Facebook gardening thread a few weeks ago and then I happened to see some selling at a flower shop in my neighbourhood. I couldn’t believe it! Do people really buy this?!
This incident reminded me of when I did community stewardship for the City a few years back. We spent a lot of time pulling garlic mustard at the Brickworks. Someone mentioned that there were stalls at the organic market that sold it. We felt pretty proud knowing that we could harvest it for free. In fact, I’m pretty sure some people used to take home handfuls that we weeded to make pesto.
Incidentally, I noticed garlic mustard growing at my relative’s place in Hamilton.
It’s a bit close to the ground and they have a dog, so I haven’t been harvesting it. Also I don’t really know when I harvest them and I’m not a great fan of pesto, which is the go-to recipe I hear about for garlic mustard.