weeds

Chickweed makes chickens happy

Chickweed is one of those weeds that lightly but persistently invades garden beds. Even the carefully placed layer of straw that we laid down around the newly planted seedlings was unable to stop it. Chickweed managed to spring up in each of the communal beds! Fortunately, it tends to be easy to remove and can be torn off without using tools. However, even just a little bit of root left in the ground seems to be sufficient for the plant to regrow; so continuous weeding is necessary to slowly but surely get rid of it.

Chickweed is easy to identify:

  • It has small, rather fresh-looking light green leaves. They are reminiscent of Oregano leaves, but not as dark green and they lack the silvery shine. Look out for fine hairs around the small white flowers and along the stem.
  Image credits: Dawn Endico via Flickr.   Original photo on https://www.flickr.com/photos/candiedwomanire/93226243

Image credits: Dawn Endico via Flickr. Original photo on https://www.flickr.com/photos/candiedwomanire/93226243

  • If there is space/free soil, it tends to send out shoots radially, as a ground creeper. But you will find the stalks lifting off the ground if there are other plants in the vicinity. 
  • There tends to be a lot of it ;-)

As the name suggests, chickens love chickweed! See for yourself how excited our girls were to receive a bucket full of freshly weeded chickweed... 

So next time you're in the garden, why not see for yourself what a chicken fanclub you will gather from simply picking some chickweed and throwing it to the girls? 

You might even want to keep some for yourself: Chickweed is high in vitamin C and can be eaten raw, e.g. added to salads. Just don't use too much of it - both for the sake of happy chicken and because the plant contains so-called 'saponins' that are toxic when consumed in large quantities. 

Onion Weed - Delicious!

Out on the banks of our adjoining carpark (affectionately called 'the orchard'), we have a bit of an overgrowth of weeds. You will find all of the usual suspects, Wandering Dew, Ashma Weed, Chickweed, various types of grasses, and of course, everyone's least favourite...  ONION WEED.

That incredibly-hard-to-remove bulb multiplies underground, and also has exploding seed heads that broadcast it's pervasive evilness far and wide. They are so hard to remove that I notice many gardeners throw up their white flag and just give in, letting them take over.

Well, the news is that it's not all bad news! I knew the chickens loved it, as they do Wandering Dew and a multitude of other pesky weeds, but what I didn't know is that humans can eat it too! This was brought to my attention by our members Lian-Choo and Gary, who sent me this handy webpage that has a lot of info on the plant.

http://www.podgardening.co.nz/onion-weed.html

Another thing, I have admired the really lovely scent of Onion Weed flowers (a heady perfume, akin to jasmine), and if you pick the flowers while they are in bloom, they not only can make a delightful posy but you are also stopping them from seeding. A win win!