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).
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.
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!