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The Purpose of Weeds

August 5, 2011

Market Update

  • Tomatoes! (Cherry tomatoes and big heirloom tomatoes!)
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Okra
  • Salad Mix (Spicy Arugula, Mizuna and Parsley)
  • Swiss Chard
  • Zucchini (Featured in our recipe of the week.)
  • Herbs: Basil, Parsley, Mint
  • Garden Flower Bouquets

Field Notes

It’s August, and so many things are in season. We enjoyed our first tomato sandwiches today. We’ve got a fantastic salad mix with arugula and mizuna which is peppery and delicious. And this week, we have a recipe for Zucchini-Crusted Pizza- a delicious pizza crust that is primarily made of zucchini. Yes, there is a chance of rain tomorrow morning, but bring your umbrella and come to the Farmer’s Market anyway. (9am-1pm) It will be worth it.

We’ve spent the entire week weeding. We think of farmers as growers of crops, but we are also responsible for uprooting quite a number of edible plants. That’s right, some weeds are edible. Lamb’s quarters and purslane are two common weeds that are quite tasty and nutritious. You’ve probably got some in your yard.

Most gardeners would say that a weed is an unwanted plant, but sometimes it is hard to decide if we want a plant or not. For example, we have a tomato plant that grew all by itself in our corn patch. We’re allowing it to grow, because we really like tomatoes. However, we didn’t intend for tomatoes to grow there, so technically it is a weed. I have no mercy for thistles though. We’ve been pulling up thistles as they pop up everywhere. When I see them growing, all I can think about it how much water they are sucking out of the ground, leaving our crops thirsty. And yet, even thistles serve a purpose. I’ve seen lots of ladybugs on them. Ladybugs are beneficial insects, because they eat the leaf-eating aphids that threaten many of our crops. I don’t know if the ladybugs take shelter in the prickly thistle leaves, or whether they are finding some delicious aphids to eat there. No matter the reason, ladybugs like thistles.

This makes us wonder about the goodness of pulling thistles. We’re still pulling them, but now we’re opening our eyes a little wider to learn more about the complex relationships between all the various plants, insects and animals in our garden. This week we encourage you to take a moment to stop and smell the… thistles.

See you Saturday. If you have any questions please email us at Also, you can connect with us on our Facebook page.

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