Hello Everyone, I had this idea to interview someone who has taken my Edible Weed course and ask how their journey has been since the course. I invited my friend Sharon Watt to answer the following questions and found out how her views of weeds have changed, what her favourite ‘weed’ is, and what she does with it.
1) When did you take the edible weeds workshop? I took the workshop in March 2012. It was part of the Sustainable Backyards month in Tauranga.
2) How did it change the way you view ‘weeds’? My parents are conventional farmers and gardeners and I had grown up with the ingrained belief that weeds were the enemy and had to be destroyed. During Julia’s workshop I learned they are a highly nutritious source of free food, as well as being important pioneer species and dynamic accumulators in the garden. So now I view them as useful plants and have added them to my diet in the form of smoothies, salads, soups, pestos and pickles. Many of them are also very beautiful, adding colour to the garden with pretty flowers (and leaves in the case of Magenta spreen).
3) Did it change the way you garden? I like to tell people I “cultivate” my weeds now. They don’t need much cultivation because they appear anyway and are so hardy. I do shift some around if they’re not in the right place and I collect seeds of some of my favourite ones, like purslane and magenta spreen, to make sure I’ll have plenty the next year. I also grow microgreens with magenta spreen and amaranth seeds. Now I know that some of the “weeds” like dandelion and plantain are good at mining minerals from the earth I let them grow with my vegetables and fruit trees. My garden is now wonderfully wild with an amazing diversity of species – just how Nature intended.
4) Do you have a favourite ‘weed’ and if so what is it about that plant you like? My favourite is magenta spreen. It is stunning to look at with it’s deep pink leaves, it’s one of the most nutrient dense plants you can have in your garden, it can be used just like spinach in smoothies and many other dishes, and it’s long stalks are great as a carbon addition to the compost heap. Very useful plant!
5) How do you use your edible weeds? I forage in my garden every morning for edible weeds and other leafy greens for my morning smoothies. I have used them in pestos (I once made a pesto with at least 16 different plants from my garden!), salads, soups, stews, pickles, sauerkraut and wraps. I also grow microgreens with the seeds of some of them.
6) Have they had an impact on your life and or health? I’m fortunate to be quite healthy and slim and I think including a wide variety of plants, including wild edibles, in my diet helps to maintain that.
7) What is your passion in life? My passion is growing food and experimenting in the kitchen with what I have in the garden.
7) What do you do to earn a living? I’m a web designer and photographer. I also help people self-publish books. (Sharon designed my beautiful website. Her website is www.ecoimages.co.nz and you can email her email@example.com
Thank you so much Sharon for sharing your experience of my workshop and all about your changed philosophy in your garden and your favourite weed!