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Weeds - We Need 'Em!
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Weeds - We Need 'Em!
by Linda Gray
Allow a small patch of your garden to grow daisies, nettles, dandelions and even a bramble or two. The secret to containing your weeds in a small patch is not to let them seed and spread their wings! Pick them at the flower stage and they don't get a chance to spread themselves over the rest of the garden.
Why have a weed patch?
Well, it's always nice to see a bit of 'wild' in an otherwise neat and tidy garden. But there are other more practical reasons...
Flowering weeds will encourage bees to your garden and they in turn will pollinate your other plants. Weeds are simply wild flowers and they hold a huge range of medicinal and nutritional properties just waiting to be taken advantage of...
Collect some of these regular garden weeds, in any combination for a super bath tonic to relax with...
- lawn daisies (flowers)
- dandelions (flowers and leaves)
- nettles (young leaves)
- blackberry/bramble (leaves)
Crush the flowers and leaves together and place in a 20cm. square of muslin. Bring up the edges to form a bag and tie securely. Add a loop of string to hang over the hot tap / fawcett and let the hot water run through the herb bag. Lie back and enjoy!
And if you still have a few young nettles lurking, they are full of vitamins and minerals and can be eaten in salads, steamed as a green vegetable or drunk as a tisane. The whole plant can be used to produce a greenish dye for wool.
Young brambles are high in vitamin C content and have natural diuretic properties. Make a fragrant tisane for a great alternative to regular tea. Bramble tea is also helpful in fighting off colds and flu.
Dandelions are very versatile and most of the plant can be used in one form or another! Young leaves are good in salads and the sap from the stalk is reputed to cure warts and verucas. I have tried this on one of my guinea pigs (children!) and it definitely worked. Simply dab on the sticky sap a couple of times a day when the veruca or wart is just beginning to show.
A traditional French country recipe is made every year on the first day you see miles of dandelions in the open fields! The idea is you collect 365 flowers only. Then you use the dandelion flowers in place of fruit in your favourite jam recipe. Add lemon and orange juice. If you want to make more, make in batches of 365 flowers - don't try and double the recipe. There doesn't seem to be a logical reason for this but I have tried it doubling up and it doesn't work??!! The resulting jam, though, is very good for you and absolutely delicious!
So before you drag all those weeds out of the garden, STOP - Can you think of a good use for them?