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Date:10/20/2014 11:03:18 AM
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Culling, Part III, Types of Weeds
We had been talking about the selective removal of what is not desirable in our gardens and on our land.
Tonight I'm talking about weeds. At La Ferme Sabloneuse, we have quack grass, nut grass, lamb's quarter, pig-weed, and what we called creeping jenny. There are others, to be sure, ragweed and white campion, for example, but all of these varieties I have hoed, chopped, and hand-weeded since I was a small boy. I should hate them, I suppose, but I have a grudging respect for these plants, as they grow better at The Sandy Farm than our crops do.

As for pig-weed and lamb's quarter, they are leafy weeds, and as such, are good for livestock. I had already mentioned that some legume-like weeds such as vetch, are bad for horses, but the afore-mentioned plants are fine for pigs and cattle. I would pick pail-fulls of pig-weed and lamb's quarter for our pigs when I was a boy. They took to it like it were a salad bar. As described in earlier blogs, I would find delight in dumping these juicy delectables in the pigpen and watching the pig/pets enjoy them. As many of my fellow Countrymen and Countrywomen can attest, a lamb's quarter left to its own devices will grow to shrub-like proportions. I remember in the Summer of '68 that my Pa had to take an axe to a lamb's quarter on the edge of the pickle field that we had left on its own. Even back then, at the age of nine, I was amazed at how big a weed could grow.

Now creeping jenny is another matter. Actually, it is not really creeping jenny, it seems we just called it that out of sheer ignorance. In researching this blog I just now discovered that this weed that we'd thought was creeping jenny is actually purslane. (Thank God for the Internet!) They are plump plants, both in vine and in leaf. Once you hoe them, they possess enough moisture to maintain life until they can set their roots again or better still, do so after a rain shower. As mentioned last week, I was forced for the first time this year to actually remove the weeds in a wheelbarrow after hoeing them. I don't remember ever feeding creeping jenny, that is purslane, to the pigs, probably because there were so much pigweed and lamb's quarter available, but I think they would've liked it. As a matter of fact I found that purslane is eaten by many cultures, especially along the Mediterranean. Purslane has more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable. (Wikipedia).

I don't think that I can convince my Ruthie to use purslane in salads or to sautee it in olive oil. Still, it is good to have it re-affirmed that what we call weeds have their place in our country world and that we should always find ways to make use of them. --Gary
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