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Dandelion, purslane and thistles: From weeds to nutritious crops

Dandelion, purslane and thistles: From weeds to nutritious crops

These plants, known as weeds or weeds, can cause extensive damage to agriculture when grown in the middle of a commercial crop. In addition, they also develop unexpectedly in gardens or vacant lots.

Although they are attributed a derogatory connotation, lately they are beginning to be valued for their high nutritional values ​​and are gradually gaining market in the "gourmet world".

Likewise, producers are also encouraging themselves to cultivate them commercially, while people from their homes are doing it in their patio or orchard, becoming interested in how to learn to use them.

Although it seems a novelty, the consumption of these herbs vindicates the ancestral knowledge of native peoples.

Edible Weeds: Weeds or Good Weeds?

There are different edible weeds that, when they start to be cultivated commercially, diversify the production of crops. They also grow very quickly and are not very demanding.

Some examples of these types of herbs are: dandelion, sorrel, locksmith, clovers, capiquí, brad, calendula flowers, purslane, nettles, watercress, thistles and mallow.

These plants can be used in salads, to add to your meals and also as an infusion. The most emblematic case is that of arugula, which for a long time was considered a weed and today is a widely consumed vegetable in the world.

“Each one has its own particularities and nutraceutical properties, flavors and textures. Some have very strong tastes, others don't. The important thing is to try them a little and get to know them to know if we do not like them and if we want to add them to the kitchen ", expressed the agronomist Marcela Harris, researcher at the Faculty of Agronomy of the UBA to the site specialized in Agronomy and Environment" Sobre la Tierra ”(SLT), regarding these nutritious specimens.

In the same way, he highlighted that we only consume 1% of the 17,000 edible species that exist on the planet.

The Neuquén doctor Adriana Marcus also made an important contribution in the matter, based on the knowledge she acquired together with the Mapuche communities of Patagonia.

Among other books of his authorship, in "De weeds and goodies" he names as "goodness" nine plants considered weeds but that have medicinal uses and that until then had been ignored by diners, producers and greengrocers.

How to grow dandelions at home


The dandelion (or bitter chicory) plant grows wild around roadsides and in yards. Its yellow flower is the one that later becomes the “baker” to whom every child makes a wish and blows to make it fly with the wind.

These are usually removed by gardeners and products are often placed to prevent hatching. However, there are people who choose to cultivate them since - far from being bad - they bring many benefits to our body and are perfectly edible.

This plant contains potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and copper so it is very nutritious for the body and helps in the prevention of diseases such as anemia, osteoporosis, circulation problems, etc.

Its leaves and flowers can be included in salads and other cold dishes. Its root can also be used to make coffee. And, of course, the most common way to take advantage of the medicinal properties is by making dandelion infusion.

Although it is a wild plant that grows spontaneously in cold and temperate climates, we can also grow it at home.

Step by Step

Prepare the seedbeds: simply bury the seeds about 3mm and cover them with soil, leaving about 4cm square between one and the other. The seedbeds can be composed of compost and sand.

Water well.

When the seedling measures 10 to 15 cm we can transplant it to its final place.

During the summer we must pay special attention to watering, not allowing more than 3 days to pass without watering it. It can be adapted both to areas with direct light and to semi-shade.

Feeding lightly twice a year will be enough to cover its needs and keep it healthy. It is also advisable to exfoliate your leaves once a week with liquid humus so that it looks colorful, healthy and free of pests.

Once again, the traditional knowledge of the ancients leads us to the conclusion that it contained a lot of wisdom, which is why it is currently being recovered and revalued.

Your grandparents probably told you stories where they went to collect watercress in the streams, thistles in the roads or dandelions in the yard. Those "weeds" turned out to be good, and in fact they are good today.

If we look carefully at our garden we can probably find some of these nutritious vegetables that can make our diet more varied and healthy.

Worms Argentina

Video: EatTheWeeds: Episode 62: Dandelions (October 2020).