For the neglectful gardener: sow thistles

Friday, August 26, 2016 2:40 pm
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Grace Utting | 98five blogger

Homegrown sow thistles are edible weeds. I am not an expert, I just like sharing what I’ve learnt and experimented with.

The best thing about this plant is that it grows in poor, sandy and dry soil and seem to thrive on neglect.

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Just make sure you don’t use weed poison in your garden or anything you don’t want to be eating.

We use organic solutions for our pest and manually pull the weeds in our garden so from the garden to the plate…

If you don’t like bitterness in your veggies, I suggest you harvest it when it is young before the plant bolts and goes to flower, though there is not much to eat.

However, if you like the bitterness of kale then harvest the leaves and flower from the older plant.

The older plant has the texture of spinach and taste like kale when cooked.

I found that if I use my fingers to pinch off the leaves easily, it shouldn’t be too tough to chew.

Ideally you wouldn’t let it get to the fluffy seed heads unless you want more than you can eat. It is really hard to deadhead them when they are at this stage.

The best you can do is hold the stem below the fluffy seed head very firmly and snip under where you hold with as little movement to the seed head as possible.

It also helps to have a bucket nearby to put it into for the green bin.

I used to not want to waste any of them and just went around the whole garden and deadheaded them all…only to find they re-flowered the next week.

So we are now pulling them out and leaving them to grow in only one area and we’ll deadhead those if we can’t eat them fast enough.

Per 100g, sow thistles contain:

  • 30 mg of vitamin C
  • 1500 mg of calcium
  • 45 mg of iron

The dried leaves contain up to 28g of protein — a great nutritional supplement.

ONLINE USE_Grace Utting profile photoGrace specialises in web, print and photography, and is a singer-songwriter and guitarist. She strives to bring hope to the broken, be it through her music or designs and loves all things creative — music, photography, gardening, cooking, baking and sewing. Grace loves inspiring people to live a more sustainable life by growing their own fruit and vegetables; re-ducing before re-using and mending things which are broken instead of buying new ones. In short, inspiring people to be all that God has made them to be. Follow Grace on Instagram | Twitter

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