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But they’re weeds!

Written by Herb Society Member – Hilary Knowles

Such was the remark made by a friend walking around my herb garden!

She saw a patch of nettles nestling in a hidden corner. Dandelions were raising their sunny yellow heads in a wild patch of garden. Then there was Comfrey, all manner of plants from the Carrot family … the Umbelliferae – and then … she suddenly spied two tenacious ‘weeds’ lurking in a large pot …. Purslane and Chickweed.

I asked her what she thought a weed was! Her answer, “Well it’s plants like THAT,” she said pointing at the Chickweed, “I’m always pulling it out of my flower beds!”

Smiling, I asked her if she had ever tasted Chickweed! You can guess the nature of her response ……And then she spotted some Dandelions!


To me, “weeds” are simply plants growing in places that us humans don’t want them to grow. But they were here on this planet a long time before any of us. We have lost sight of the fact that so many of those so called “weeds” were the herbs used for centuries as simple fresh nutritious food and supplied in so many cases the only source of ‘medicine’.

People invest millions of pounds on weedkillers and chemicals to get rid of these plant “pests” – after all, who wants their beautiful lawn ruined by these uninvited invaders? But there might just be a better way to cope with the problem which benefits your garden and you too!

Eat them ….. although if you’ve been using chemical controls, that’s not a good idea! Not at all.

Actually eating those weeds is a bit like reinventing the wheel, so why not reinvent the wheel and grow your so called weeds as crops?

The lack of human interference in the reproduction of herb plants is what contributes to making the weeds so nutritious. They are the survivors in the wild in places where more delicate plants cannot survive. Many of them have considerable stores of minerals and vitamins in their root, stems, leaves and seeds. These nutrients are there for the benefit of the plant itself not us.


All photos taken and provided by Hilary Knowles