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10 Weeds Worth Growing

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Purslane is enjoyed in a number of countries as a salad or stir-fry green. It is not only pretty to look at, but an excellent source of essential nutrients.

Purslane [Portulaca oleracea]:

Companion plant for: Corn, solanums (like tomatoes and peppers).

Attracts/hosts: Unknown.

Edibility: Purslane contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable. It is also high in antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E, and essential minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium. You can enjoy it in a salad, stir-fried, or cooked like spinach (the berries are also eaten like capers.) It has also been used to treat gastrula intentional gastro-intestinal disorders, as well as to relieve sores and insect or snake bites on the skin.

Advisory: In the Gentle World garden, I have noticed that purslane does seem to crowd out young shoots, but does not seem to affect established plants. For this reason, I think it is best to harvest purslane growing near young shoots until they mature.


Sheep sorrel has a tangy flavor and many wonderful medicinal properties.

Sheep’s Sorrel [Rumex acetosella] :

Companion plant for: Sheep’s sorrel is a weed worth growing in your garden, so if you find it thriving there, naturally leave as much as you can without overcrowding other plants.

Attracts/hosts: Unknown.

Edibility: This weed has wonderful health benefits. It is one of the plants in the Essiac formula (a recipe purported to aid cancer sufferers) and Native American Camas Prairie tea. Sorrel is great in soups, salads and sauces as its tangy sour flavor works well in most meals.

Advisory: Experiment with allowing sheep’s sorrel to grow underneath taller plants.


Next: Ground Ivy and Wild Vetch!

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Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


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12:53AM PST on Nov 30, 2014

Thank you!

3:12AM PDT on Sep 19, 2014

Thank you :)

2:48AM PDT on Sep 3, 2014


5:13AM PDT on Sep 1, 2014

Just skimmed through all 368 comments and fascinated that only one (other) person called you on the uses of purslane.

What did you MEAN to write where the computer printed "gastrula intentional gastro-intestinal disorders"?

2:58AM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

This was a 'hit & miss' of an article, as only a few of these are tasty and common. The inclusion of vetch was really weird, as it's considered a cover crop only.

I LOVE purslane and the even better lamb's quarters, which wasn't mentioned, is widely dispersed, and very easy to distinguish. These are among Spring's earliest and most beneficial pot herbs.

Pull lamb's quarters when no more than 12" high, long before it sets flower buds. Rinse it well, chop into 2" to 3" long pieces, and STEAM it very gently. When it turns from greyish-green to a distinctly green hue, it's likely done. Lavish it w/unsalted butter w/a light sprinkle of sea salt and oink out! It's FAR better than spinach, and has NO oxalic acid!

Go to for a good overview w/photos.

5:46AM PDT on Sep 7, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

5:39AM PDT on Sep 7, 2013

Rabbits are not the only pet that enjoys dandelion, tortoises do too :) I've always known ground ivy as creeping Charlie, and I also did not know it had medicinal uses. Thanks!

1:42AM PDT on Aug 9, 2013

None of these weeds really grow in my suburb but I do have a lot of ground Ivy, native violets (also edible), dandelion and clover growing as weeds!

There are others, including cobbler's pegs/farmer's friends (their seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids), nasturtiums (leaves and flowers can be eaten), sowthistle (flowers look similar to dandelion), and wood sorrel. Try google images!

3:57PM PDT on Jun 22, 2013

Thanks for the info!

4:08AM PDT on Jun 9, 2013

Thank you Alisa, for Sharing this!

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