Monday, March 23, 2015

How I use herbs - chickweed

Chickweed, Stellaria media,grows very happily in my garden, but its one plant that I never actively planted from seed or a cutting, it just appears.  Ostensibly you would expect chickens to eat it, but not my chickens, they prefer lettuce.  Fortunately it has other uses, so I don't mind letting it take over a few corners of the garden.

How to grow chickweed
If you're unlucky enough to not be naturally endowed with chickweed in your garden, a quick google search reveals that you can buy seeds.  I have no idea where my chickweed came from, it seems to be a common weed in our area, possibly seeds came in soil or were blown here in the wind.  Chickweed tends to die back in our hot dry summer, and appears again in winter and after any rain.  It spreads quickly and produces teeny tiny flowers (and presumable plenty of seeds).  I don't do anything in particular to encourage it, but I can usually find some when I need it.


eight acres: how to grow and use chickweed

How to use chickweed
  • Feed it to your chickens (if they are less picky than mine)
  • Use it as a wonderful nitrogen-rich compost material
  • Use it to soothe skin - in a salve or cold tea, it is known to be cooling and soothing for minor burns, skin irritations, and rashes.
  • Add it to salads - chickweed is said to also soothe the digestive tract, it doesn't have a strong taste, kind of like lettuce, but slightly sour.

eight acres: how to grow and use chickweed

eight acres: how to grow and use chickweed
maybe a little too much chickweed!

Chickweed, like purslane, is one of those plants that you probably have in your garden, but didn't realise was useful and edible for both yourself and your livestock (if they are not too picky).

5 comments:

  1. We used to use the 'milk' that came out of the stalks for warts (as kids) - it worked great

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  2. Ours dies off in summer, but comes back around winter. It replaces the grass that cannot grow in the shade of trees in winter. I love to just pick and eat it when I'm walking in the garden, along with the purslane. I also feed both to my guinea-pigs. The chickens will get some because the grass isn't growing by then, and they'll take what green they can get.

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  3. I'll be featuring your post at Thursday's HomeAcre Hop. Thank you for sharing!
    Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead

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  4. I feed chickweed to my chickens all the time. They love it!

    Thanks for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday! I hope you'll join us again this week!

    ~Lisa

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  5. I enjoyed this post. I'm happy to see more and more people talking about wild edibles and their medicinal properties. It gets tiring around here of people always looking dumbfounded when we talk about it. Not that we ever cared, lol. But yes, we have the it everywhere. It seems to like the shade best. That and my raised rows. My 5 yo just gave me some huge sloppy sugars when I told him we could have chickweed tonight. The boys like it best as sort of a spinach type dish. Just add coconut oil, salt, and pepper and they say it tastes the same, I agree. They enjoy munching on it and lounging in the shade on warm to mild days. The 5 yo says it's his "enenergy food". So cute. BTW, I've really been enjoying the site! Thanks for taking the time putting all this info together!

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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