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Are Weeds Bad?

Perspectives on Desirable and Undesirable Plants

By Emily Marie ConcannonPublished 11 months ago 3 min read
Are Weeds Bad?
Photo by Jason Long on Unsplash

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted...

Ecclesiastes

We often see weeds and find them disturbing. They disrupt our perfectly manicured lawns and choke out our beautiful flower beds. But the modern perception of "weeds" and wildflowers is slowly shifting to see weeds as beautiful plants that feed rabbits and honeybees.

In fact, common weeds like dandelion flowers were once held as a miracle plant. Ancient Greek legends say that Theseus ate dandelions for thirty days before slaying the monstrous minotaur.

I think it's terrific that people are starting to change their perception of nature and celebrate even those aspects that disrupt our "perfect" little suburban world. However, this isn't to say I think all "weeds" should be left alone to take over your garden.

As I pointed out in my most recent gardening article on Medium, weeds are really just plants that grow in the wrong spot. But they can damage your crops and ruin your garden's productivity. So, how do we decide when to keep a weed and when to throw it away?

How Can I Love the Wild and Weed My Garden?

Is this a question you find yourself asking a lot? Well, you're probably a tree-hugger like me who smiles when they see chickory flowers growing between the sidewalk cracks. But I still find myself weeding my garden.

Because while I don't really believe any plant is bad (except poison ivy, curse you!) I know they can harm my crops. Think of it this way, your garden has limited space and vitamins and minerals with which to feed your crops. If chickory, dandelions, and crabgrass were growing around your tomatoes, there's no space for them to grow and reach their full potential. Tomatoes also can't outgrow most "weeds," so they'll probably be choked out and die long before they could ever outcompete crabgrass.

What is a plant lover to do, then?

Let the weeds grow elsewhere. I never believed in or liked perfectly manicured lawns. I loved seeing the little white flowers pop up out of the ground in March as soon as the soil thawed. I love watching dandelions scattered across a lawn of green during the summer months. It adds diversity and beauty.

I sometimes wonder if our desire to keep things uniform stems from our dislike of anything (or anyone) who doesn't fit our idea of "ideal." I run away from those thoughts, full speed ahead. I don't have an "ideal" for anything. I find beauty everywhere and in everything.

Do I still HAVE to weed my gardens? Yes, because if I didn't, they'd kill my crops, and my family would be hungry. But I don't do it because I need my lawn to appease my neighbors. So make space, if you can, for these gorgeous little lives to take root and blossom!

By Josie Weiss on Unsplash

Make a Wild Edible Garden

Another way you can make space (and utilize) the diverse wild edibles in your lawn and gardens is to create a wild edible garden! This was actually my sister's idea, and I have to say, I loved it. In this garden, rogue lettuce plants are weeds!

Many of the things we consider weeds are nutritional powerhouses! Burdock grows all over the East Coast United States and is WAY healthier than lettuce and spinach. You can dry these leaves, make a powder, and save yourself a ton of money on "green" supplements.

Or, what about purslane? These juicy, leafy plants blossom as little yellow flowers in the summer and taste amazing when added to a salad. Chickory grows into vibrant purple flowers in July. The roots can be dried and made into a coffee-like drink that's actually healthy for your liver!

Don't throw those gems away!

By Tawhidur R on Unsplash

Closing Thoughts

I hope you liked these little musings about gardening and "weeds." I recently wrote a piece about maintaining your garden's soil on Medium and couldn't help but think about why we consider some plants a weed and others a crop. It's mostly arbitrary, in my opinion.

Thank you so much for reading, and if you'd like to check out my gardening page on Medium, please click my link here!

Much love to you! :)

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

Ecclesiastes

By Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

Nature

About the Creator

Emily Marie Concannon

I am a world nomad with a passion for vegan food, history, coffee, and equality.

You can find my first novel on Kindle Vella here: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09V4S7T4N :) I appreciate all your support and engagement! :)

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Comments (7)

  • Hannah Moore10 months ago

    I sometimes think weeds is a matter of fashion. Though some things just never come into fashion.

  • Not me thinking this was gonna be about a whole different kinda weed, lol! I didn't know dandelions were considered a weed or that they were considered a miracle plant in Greek Mythology. A wild edible garden is very economic. Thank you so much for sharing this Emily!

  • Babs Iverson11 months ago

    Fabulous & informative!!! Love this, Emily!!!❤️❤️💕

  • Mark Gagnon11 months ago

    I'm curious, who determines what is a weed and what isn't? Some weeds have really pretty flowers, but their weeds.

  • Test11 months ago

    A really interesting read. TBF I spend a lot of time nurturing plants on my balcony only to figure out that the giant beanstalk I have so painstakingly watered is infarct a weed! 🤍

  • Great Article 🤩🫶🏾💯📝

  • Kristen Balyeat11 months ago

    Love this! I'm always trying to let the weeds grow, except in my garden. My HOA is not happy with our grass and dandelion front yard:) lol! This was a great article and I'm looking forward to reading your other gardening articles! From one (literal) tree hugger to another, great job!

Emily Marie ConcannonWritten by Emily Marie Concannon

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