Let 'em Grow: Chickweed: WANTED - chickweed

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Let 'em Grow:  Chickweed

By Sharon
June 5, 2012

This is one in a series of very short articles that will hopefully change your mind about some surprisingly good weeds. And even if your mind isn't changed, you'll still be well informed.

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Name: Terri
Lucketts, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Hellebores Ferns Ponds
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aspenhill
Jun 4, 2012 7:34 PM CST
Sharon,
What timing on this article. Folks from the mid atlantic region recently got together for a plant swap at Ric and Holly's place. On the pre-swap threads, one of our beloved gardeners requested chickweed in her WANTS posts. Well, needless to say, a lot of good natured joking went back and forth about her request. How is it that her garden has escaped chickweed? One poster exclaimed that he knew our on-line community was international, but not interplanetary LOL!!! Well, there was no problem fulfilling that chickweed request. Seems she had read about the chickweed pesto and wanted to try it out. Now that you've confirmed it, I'm not so skeptical HA HA HA... Terri
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Jun 4, 2012 7:43 PM CST
Hi Terri,
Next to dandelions, chickweed is probably one of the most vital of all the weeds that most folks laugh at. Hard to say how your friend missed having it, maybe it got eradicated along with a lot of other things over the years. Most people don't know its value.

Nope, if I grew up on it, you can bet it's pretty safe! No need to be skeptical about chickweed.
Just enjoy it; it's a good thing. Smiling
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Jun 4, 2012 9:35 PM CST
This is one I have not tried. Looks like the leaves are shiny, not hairy? How tall does the plant get? What time of year does it usually appear?
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Jun 4, 2012 9:55 PM CST
You mean, that obnoxious stuff that is trying to take over ALL my planters is good to eat!? Nasty, invasive impossible to get rid of? I can take revenge on it by eating it? Hee hee hee hee hee hee........
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Jun 4, 2012 10:07 PM CST
Go for it woofie.
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Jun 4, 2012 10:27 PM CST
I look for it in late winter, early spring here. And there's the problem locally...afterward, it blooms and goes to seed, then it's gone when the heat gets here. Best time to harvest is before it blooms or when the early blooms are here, I think.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
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Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Jun 4, 2012 10:41 PM CST
We just had a much needed thunderstorm here, more noise than rain, though. I thought it best to exit the computer for awhile.

Linda's right, here it's best to gather it in early to late spring for eating, once it blooms seeds start setting, it isn't as good and gets a little tough. Tastes a lot like spinach when cooked.

It's low growing, Lynn, though its stems can be long. It acts more as a ground cover than upright, but it does form a sort of thick mat. Chickens love it!

Woofie, I'm not sure what you have. You better be very sure before you start eating it!!
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Name: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
Jun 5, 2012 4:38 AM CST
We're getting your rain this morning Sharon - I'm so thankful Lovey dubby

We have tons of chickweed in the springtime!

Thank you for this newsy article - I love learning my weeds are a good thing Hurray! Thumbs up
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
Jun 5, 2012 6:16 AM CST
You are a treasure Sharon, I love these articles about wild herbs that you are doing, keep up the good work. Smiling
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Jun 5, 2012 8:29 AM CST
I agree
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Jun 5, 2012 8:33 AM CST
You get rain, Vic, and I mostly get thunder. Why does that always happen?

Josephine, thank you. When I was growing up these wild herbs were part of most every meal I ate, a big part of my life. I just think they have a good reason to be here. It's up to us to keep a few of them around so they can continue to do what they were meant to do.

I like to call them my 'heirloom' herbs. Smiling
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Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Jun 5, 2012 8:35 AM CST
Morning, Lynn!!
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Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
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Trish
Jun 5, 2012 8:46 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Our chickweed comes out in the very early spring. We eat it in salads, and I also put it in the stockpot when I'm making chicken broth.

We don't care for the stems, so we pull the leaves off. Tip with that- it is soooo much easier to pull the leaves off *before* you wash them! They stick when they are wet.

We also feed extras to the chickens, who love it. I purposely let it go to seed, and shake it all around certain patches for the next year's crop, then throw those greens to the chickens.
The younger ones (before the seed) are yummier.

NGA COO, Wife, Mom, and caretaker of 90 acres and all that dwell there.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Jun 5, 2012 8:56 AM CST
It doesn't dry or freeze very well, but I usually manage to freeze a little of the tender leaves because I like it in soups during winter. I love it in tomato soup.
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Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Jun 5, 2012 8:59 AM CST
Can't get rid of them, Glare so I may as well try eating them!! Big Grin

Thank you Sharon for another very informative article. Thumbs up

Trish, thanks for the added tips! Thumbs up
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Jun 5, 2012 9:02 AM CST
Great attitude, Margaret!
May as well eat them. (Which is why they were put here in the first place. Smiling )
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Jun 5, 2012 11:24 AM CST
Sure wish I could identify them out in my yard. Sad
I would love to eat them. Smiling
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Ferns Daylilies Irises Cat Lover
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Sharon
Jun 5, 2012 11:44 AM CST
There are a lot of plants commonly called 'chickweed' but the one I'm talking about is Stellaria media, common chickweed. If you search in our database you'll find lots of images that will help you identify it.

It might be too early in your climate for blooms, but the blooms will give you a better idea. They are tiny. I notice one image in the DB (Horntoad) that shows the bloom in relation to a hand. Tiny little white blooms. The leaves are tiny too, but if you look at the images I think you should be able to tell if it's growing in your garden, Lynn.

Chickweed (Stellaria media)
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Jun 5, 2012 11:49 AM CST
Okay, now I will be on the hunt. Don't remember seeing them before.
Name: Renée
Northern KY
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KyWoods
Jun 5, 2012 12:08 PM CST
Ours went to seed early this year, with the early spring we had, so it's long gone now. I had to pull it 'cause the kitties were hiding in it to ambush the birds! Grumbling
Guess I'll have to wait 'till next year to try it. Thanks for the info, Sharon!

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