Update on Edible ‘Weed’

After two physics articles with too much links I owe you an image-only link-free post. This is an update to my catalogue of edible wildflowers in our lawn meadow.

I amended the original list with one amazing wild vegetable: Meadow Goatsbeard. In past years I tried to eradicate it, now I don’t scythe certain patches but carefully use grass shears, avoiding to cut its signature yellow bloom:


It can be used as fake spinach and for salad – I vouch for both! Insiders say the roots are the real delicacy (tasting like salsifies), but this year I will not yet dig out the roots but rather let them flower and disperse their seeds. The most amazing feature is that it grows and grows new leaves, despite it had not rained in the past week and maximum temperatures were up to 30°C.

Here is the result of a single ‘harvesting session’ (left):


… side-by-side with a Yarrow leaves (right). We are self-sufficient on tea since April. thanks yarrow and Lemon Balm.

In the background of the first image: the tomato plants attached to the solar collector. So far they look good this year, blooming nicely:


We weren’t able to discard ‘spare’ tomato seedlings – so they grow near the compost pile. Clients visiting us to see the heat pump system may think we are in the tomato business (one strawberry plant in the middle):

even-more-tomatoesFinally my secret favorite has started growing – Portulaca / Purslane. Yes, I think it tastes like pepper!

The wild, creeping variety (… and even more ‘spare’ tomatoes in the background):


The more erect variety, from purchased seeds (the larger ones).


The plants in the background is for decoration and suppression of other weed, such as grass :-) Some variety of Sedum Reflexum (yellowish), and Phlox.

Speaking about Sedum: White Stonecrop was a main ingredient in the typical spring salad, together with Dandelions, and the absolutely amazingly tasty Fireweed.

Now White Stonecrop is nearly blooming (in the image below: in front of seed pods of Pasque Flowers / Prairie Crocus[*] Afterwards it will wither – then harvesting season is over.

[*] I am sure I picked the most uncommon common name often in this post, actually I am not even sure about German ones.


Fireweed – despite the temptation I keep a few for seeds:

fireweedAs for Dandelions, it seems I was unable to take a photo of the plants. Now I know how to feel sorry for having not enough weed anymore. The buds are even more delicious than the young leaves.


The photo of fireweed als shows one of my new favorite decorative weeds in the background, but the Poppy season is nearly over now.


Poppy’s seed capsules have some aesthetic value, but they cannot beat Nigella Sativa. Here is spice in the making – alien space probes inspecting the garden.


Those plants we finally picked for cultivating – weed or not – are also the ones that turned out maintenance-free, drought-resistant, and capable of taking care of themselves – suppressing other unwanted plants. The remaining ‘work’ – if you want to call it like that – is truly enjoyable and like the proverbial raking the Zen garden.

We have never used weed killers nor fertilizer except the soil from compost. We only water tomato plants and mediterranean herbs a bit, so scything is due only once every two or three weeks. I don’t care if the meadow is burnt down to straw in summer.

These are my favorite drought-tolerant alien periscopes –  Hen and Chicks, used as a medicinal herb, otherwise too bitter even for me.


We don’t fight pests, and I live in fear what will happen to eggplants’ fruits. I have learned that those are (in our climate) slugs’ favorite diet in summer. In this case the, last resort is my office gardening experiments. To  my surprise, this spare plant has some flower buds already.


… maybe due to the wooden ‘table’: original Art from the Scrapyard – from the remainders of our two large spruces – by the Carpenter-Artist-Engineer-Physicist working in that office with me.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Around where I live there’s a fascination with lawns and it always strikes me as so very odd that we wish to cultivate a single crop year after year. What utter nonsense from a crop rotation perspective! To “maintain” your lawn you must DUMP all sorts of fertilizer on the thing at least three times a year and obsess about keeping dandelions, clover, thistle and whatever off of it, generally by digging up the roots…
    …or spraying it with AWFUL poisons (the thing most people elect to do).
    Fortunately for me I live at the top of a hill, the highest point in St. John’s, as it turns out (Google earth Canada A1N4N8, 15 Elmcliffe and you’ll find me) and the wind is always blowing so I get everyone’s seed. Everything already mentioned plus more. I’ve long since given up on a grass mono crop.
    And besides, I love clover. It smells great and really never needs mowing.
    So here’s finally the point. One of these days when i get some time on my hands…
    I’ve not been posting to my blog much because I’ve been VERY busy doing VERY interesting things and if I ever get a few spare hours I will start blogging about them.
    …I plan to figure out a nice seed blend and garden configuration that just works for here. Right now I know it needs to contain a few grass varieties, clover (of course) buttercup, Dandelion, thistle, timothy and a bunch of other things but it also needs to be done in a way that works aesthetically and with our rocky, acidic soil (which LOVES evergreens and bog but not much else). One of these days I will get on it, but not today.
    Been too busy scrapping old metal trying to clean the place up, bringing back the used beverage containers, installing a new washer/dryer/windows, etc, helping Lesley with her HS Chemistry provincial final (Equilibrium, Acids & Bases, Thermo and Redox/Electro are this year’s topics).
    And, of course, the work I’m paid for.
    Talk soon :-) Hi Dave and Michelle :-) too bad you can’t tag people with wordpress…

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks for visiting my virtual garden and sharing your stories, Maurice :-)
      Yes, I never got the fascination of the perfect lawn, too. We have a lot of clover, too – different varieties. Grass is in the minority, and it is not the typical grass I see in other lawns, but more like the grass that grows on verges. Actually, most of our plants are as we don’t water them.
      Looking forward to your upcoming post :-)

  2. Michelle H says:

    I have half a gallon of portulaca carefully pulled from the garden in an attempt to eradicate it (I can’t belive you need to cultivate it!); it is very invasive here. I wish I could give it to you for you culinary enjoyment. :)

    1. elkement says:

      Cultivating = leaving some space empty, and the wild variety will grow there. I planted out the other variety too early (I think), so it was indeed not easy to keep this one alive. But I think this will not be a problem next year when the seeds are everywhere :-)
      Years ago, before I checked it as edible, I ‘grew’ the wild ones (let them grow) in one flower bed for aesthetic reasons :-)

      1. Michelle H says:

        That stuff comes in later here. It has only started just this past week or so. I tried eating some of it today. It isn’t to my tastes ( at least, not in the way this dirt affects its flavour 😝)

        1. elkement says:

          My preference for bitter might be a bit out of the ordinary :-) I should add disclaimers to me articles about edible wild flowers.

          1. Michelle H says:

            The bitterness was okay. It was the rest of the flavour I didn’t like as much. I tried convincing my husband to try some too. I thought that if one of us could develop a taste for the stuff it would promptly cease to grow. ;) or so the old farmer’s tale goes.

  3. Quax says:

    Wish I could do this in my yard, all I get is dandelions and some prickly nasty things that grow to man’s height if not pulled early on.

    1. elkement says:

      Another weed eater told me that it takes some time without mowering until the good stuff will grow again :-) I am not sure as we had changed too many parameters at once in this non-scientific experiments. When we tried to ‘repair’ some patches of the lawn of by seeding grass it really took a while until yarrow, daisies etc. took over again.

  4. Don’t eat all of it, you’ll spoil your appetite for the other consumers of those weeds about to be grilled ;-)

    1. elkement says:

      I know – the steak lovers tell me all the time that I am taking photos of the food of their food :-)

      1. I love steak, but even I need a change of diet every once in a while, and some of those weeds are quite appealing

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