The meeting of the weed-masters minds: a different worldview (Part I)
How true "Master Gardeners" look at Weeds?
Technically, a weed is plant that is growing in a location where you do not want it to be growing. For example, if you are growing corn plants and you have unwanted plants growing around, or up against your corn plants, you have a weed problem. The unwanted plants, in this case, is draining away, or robbing, energy and water and nutrients, away from your corn plants. This is a problem because you are trying to grow corn in this location and not "weeds."
There are weeds (and we will go ahead and just call the unwanted plants weeds, although you can probably tell by now, I don't like the word (weed)) that are very worthy plants. There are weeds, such as pokeweed (be careful with pokeweed because it is toxic, you must know what you are doing to prepare it correctly for eating purposes), plantain, dandelion, and many other plants, that human-kind have eaten for many centuries (for ages, actually). There were times, for example, during the Great Depression, when weeds made up a major part of humans diets.
Even now, many of us, eat plants that unenlightened people, would not dare eat, because of their "lack of knowledge" concerning the value of these plants. Many weeds are far more nutritious than some of the plants (so called vegetables) that we get off the supermarket shelves. This hub is not designed to teach you how to find, classify, prepare and eat these valuable weeds. Maybe sometime in the future, I will get into these details a bit more, and even now, there are probably other hubs, if you hunt for them, that well elaborate upon the details.
My goal, and I hope that I accomplish it, is simply to increase awareness of the existence of these wonderful, edible plants, that we call weeds.
Be aware, however, not all plants are edible. Some plants, if eaten, will kill you! Just like some mushrooms, if you eat them, will kill you! You have got to know what you are doing when you go out into Nature, looking for something to eat. Educate yourself before you get all excited about eating weeds and go about collecting plants that could do you harm.
Centuries ago, even long ago beyond centuries, thousands of years ago, even, when humans were eating animals and learning from animals, what plants to eat, they were really smart. If they saw an ape, or other animal eating some plants that looked good, they would gather some of it themselves. If it smelled good, tasted good (I have already said that it probably had to "look good") and otherwise, "went down good" they would continue to eat it.
Therefore, at one point in the history of human-kind, every plant was a "weed," no exception. There are plants out there, very wonderful plants, off in remote locations in the jungles of our globe, that are good to eat and have never been discovered by humans. Of course, there are animals enjoying these prized edibles daily. Maybe even, deep down in the far reaches of the oceans, there are equally wonderful plants (and of course fish and animals) that humans could eat.
Consider this. In Nature, just beyond our reach and beyond our knowledge of them, there are herbs, that is, plants, that can cure diseases, even cancers, very deadly cancers, even, but we have not found them yet. This is why we have to be so careful about how we look at weeds. We can't get crazy with herbicides, and using fires to burn forests, woods, and fields. We must stop the senseless destruction of vast stretches of (what we call, "waste-lands), for no good reasons. It is a shameful thing that we may have already destroyed many cures for cancers because we were so careless in or efforts to control weeds.
Okay, enough is enough. I hope that you have a new awareness of weeds from reading this discourse. Weeds have their places in Nature, that is all I am saying. I realize that some people are allergic to certain weeds. It takes care and a balanced approached to Nature to make this thing that I call "A Love for Nature" work. Regards, Dr. Haddox