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10 Weeds Worth Growing

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“A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.”

~Doug Larson

I still remember the joy of picking dandelion puffballs and blowing their soft seeds into the air. While those that dream of a weed-free lawn or garden might shudder at the idea, dandelions have much more to offer than amusement to a child.

Dandelion [Taraxacum]:

Companion plant for: Various grains and tomato plants. Dandelion tap roots break up hardened soil and bring up nutrients from deep down, benefiting plants with weaker or shallower roots without competing with them.

Attracts/hosts: Honeybees.

Repels: Armyworms.

Edibility: Young leaves and flowers are edible and delicious fresh in a salad, while older greens are better steamed or stir-fried. Dandelions are high in iron, potassium, beta-carotene and vitamins A, C and D. Both the leaves and root can also be made into a wonderful detox tea. If you happen to live with a rescued rabbit, they will also love this nutritious addition to their usual diet.


The plantain family is an important group of weeds for anyone interested in natural medicine to know about.

Plantain [Plantaginaceae]:

Companion plant for: Unknown.

Attracts/hosts: Unknown.

Edibility: Remove the ribs and eat leaves steamed or fresh in a salad (the seeds are also edible.) Plantain leaves have been used medicinally both internally and externally for thousands of years. Internal usage: cholesterol, constipation, diabetes, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, indigestion, irritable bowel, kidney/bladder inflammation, liver problems, mouth ulcers/canker sores, liver problems, uterine tonic. External usage: bites/stings, eczema/psoriasis, cuts/bleeding wounds, leucorrhea/yeast, rashes/contact dermatitis, toothaches, ulcers/cold sores, varicose veins.

Advisory: Do to plantain’s medicinal nature and edibility it is worth growing somewhere in your garden whether it volunteers itself or not.


Common Chickweed [Stellaria media]:

Companion plant for: I have found that chickweed is best pulled out of the garden or grown in a patch of its own (see “Advisory” section).

Attracts/hosts: Unknown.

Edibility: Chickweed is nutritious and a wonderful addition to a fresh salad. This creeping annual is high in vitamins A, D and B, as well as  minerals like iron, calcium and potassium. Chickweed is used as a diuretic, an appetite suppressant and to help treat asthma, allergies and bronchitis.

Advisory: Chickweed can overtake other plants very quickly, so keep on top of harvesting this fast growing plant.

Next: Purslane, Sheep shorrel and more!

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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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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!

9:42PM PDT on Jun 7, 2013


7:46AM PDT on May 29, 2013

Thanks for the info.

2:22AM PDT on May 27, 2013

Thanks for he information, I wish in the heat of summer in south Arizona it wasn't so hard to grow plants.

6:57PM PDT on May 6, 2013

Thanks for the information! Righteous!

3:42AM PDT on Apr 15, 2013


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Good tips for getting out of a routine in cooking. Thanks!


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What variety of trees are they planting? India has many smart nuts; whereas, DC...the opposite.

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