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Wally Richards
Wally Richardshttp://www.gardenews.co.nz
Wally Richards has been a gardening columnist for over 30 years. Check his websites - for gardening news and tips visit www.gardenews.co.nz. For mail order products visit www.0800466464.co.nz. Wally also has a gardening problem help line on 0800 466 464.

Gardening with Wally Richards: Weeds (a new way to deal with them)

Weeds news

This week I received a book from an old friend of mine, Julia Sich which she has written and called ‘Julia’s Guide to Edible weeds and Wild Green Smoothies’.

Many of you will know the ‘Weed Lady’ through her previous book and workshops.

In your gardens you will likely have a number of plants we call ‘weeds’ which are of benefit to your diet and health.

The definition of a ‘weed’ is simply ‘a plant that is growing where we do not want it to grow’.

Many of the plants we grow for food or for their flowers; when allowed to self seed they become weeds.

I recommend that you obtain a copy of Julia’s book and learn to your benefit, many of the plants you pull out, kill and compost which could be better off been cultivated and consumed.

The book is available in two formats as a down load E Book or as a printed publication.

The web site is here. The book is available for NZ$19.95 for the Ebook OR $34.95 plus postage for the printed version.

The book gives you both the common names and the Botanical names as well as coloured pictures to assist in identification.

Each weed has a written description along with its nutritional values and how to use them for your benefit.

Mind you if the Government had its way it would ban the use of these natural plants and their ancient uses if favour of Big Pharma’s bottom line. (Therapeutic Products Bill)

Pharmaceutical companies hate natural remedies even though many of their concoctions were originally derived from plant’s properties.

If you have the knowledge such as given in Julia’s book then you can look after your own well being as our fore fathers did from all races on the planet. (And at no expense if out of the weeds in your gardens)

We have to read and learn about the advantages of these plants but in Nature animals know what is best for them as far as their well being is concerned.

For instance if you place cattle into a paddock that has a wide range of plants including weeds, the cattle will consume the ones that they need for better health beside eating a lot of grass.

Which is an interesting point in so much as grass is also very good for your health and in particular, wheat grass and barley grass.

That is if you apply all the known minerals and element to the growing medium.

Reason is that grasses will take up all the minerals available where other plants such as tomatoes only require 56 of the known 114 mineral and elements.

That is why some farmers will apply what we sell as Ocean Solids to their paddocks to the great benefit of their stock’s health.

I remember a farmer telling me one time about his practice of spraying diluted sea water over his paddocks which was much to the annoyance of his farming neighbour, because a certain amount of the sea spray would fall onto the neighbors side of the fence and when the neighbour let his stock into that paddock they would rush over to the area by the fence line and demolish the mineral rich grasses growing there.

Julia mentions ‘your’s truly’ in her book and in particular in regards to ‘Smoothies’.

I presume many of you have or still do on occasions, if not regularly, go out and pick a range of greens and put them into a high speed blender with a banana and wizz up a very beneficial brew.

The banana addition takes away some of the unpleasant taste of some plants and makes your drink very palatable.

Julia tells the story of how smoothies solved health issues that she once had as I found the same many years ago when I first started making smoothies from as many different plants as I could get my hands on.

Some plants are nice to eat raw and have flavours that make them appealing such as salad crops.

The rest including grasses are better taken raw in a smoothie.

Besides being of great benefit to your health another very good reason to find out what weeds you can eat is the unusual weather that has affected New Zealand recently.

Here is a update from a Food Producer in the Hawkes Bay: ‘Hi everyone, food producer here. Just wanted to write an easily digestible post so people can understand how severe the destruction in H.B is for the whole of N.Z

The media aren’t really discussing it fully and people I speak to can’t seem to wrap their heads around how serious this is for us as a country.

What’s been lost: It’s called the fruit bowl for a reason, not just grapes and apples but also pears, onions, corn, carrots, blueberries, strawberries, honey, dairy, beef, sheep products including wool and also apiaries, nurseries and seedbanks.

Wineries and orchards have had heritage trees and vines utterly wiped out. We’re talking 30-40-year-old plants gone. Countless bee hives and fields of crops buried under a metre of silt.

These aren’t just for fresh produce but also wine, vinegar, honey, bread and processed fruit and vegetables for things from muesli bars to ice cream and condiments.

The layer of silt now covering the once fertile land has been completely smothered. There’s so much cleaning up to be done before people can replant and fertilise it will take years to get back even close to normal.

In that time we’ll see massive shortages of all the above, affecting almost all food items you can think of.

A very apt warning and not only in NZ but also in many major food producing areas of the world, either through Floods or Droughts millions of acres of crops have been lost.

Think about that. You might want to start cultivating a few weeds for a ‘Rainy Day’.

Of course as we have seen this spring and summer a lack of blue skies with nice fluffy white clouds which has also greatly affected us home gardens as well as commercial growers.

Direct sun shine is what all plants use to create carbohydrates which is the energy that makes them grow, flower and produce seeds.

Hazy skies and cloud cover that prevents direct sunlight being available for plants and solar panels is a very big concern.

In 2006 this matter was brought up at the United Nations and the speech about it can be heard here:

Well worth 18 minutes of your time to be better informed. (Now days they talk about ‘Planet Shading’ which would be a bit like a ‘Nuclear Winter’ no sun plants dont grow.)

Playing with weather or the ability to produce or prevent weather patterns is a fact and now days it is harder to determine what is natural and what is man made.

If severe weather events we have experienced are not natural then a lot of people that have been badly affected would not be very happy for sure.

Image credit: Karol D

Products mentioned are from Wallys Range of products and can be found in some garden shops or by Mail Order on www.0800466464.co.nz

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  1. Very interesting. We don’t seem to have had many clear blue sky days this summer in the Bay of Plenty. Some very strange dull hazy days almost like its bushfire smoke drifted over from Australia. Very odd.

    • Thanks Wally,
      I enjoy reading your sound advice each time something different, insightful and useful knowledge,

      We had an extensive garden in New Zealand. Stone Fruit and pip around the perimeter citrus down one side, guavas down the other vegetable plots and an old glasshouse with netting around it to keep the birds out for bramble.
      Herbs around in borders around the clothesline three fig trees in an old spa pool dug into the ground.

      The front garden was similar but more flowers like galangal and ornamental as well.

      We are growing Habanero chilis, beans, tomatoes, and corn now, but no pumpkin or squash. Maybe they would look nice growing over the eves. These are essential crop here for Yucatecan food and it is called the ‘Milpa’ and is the ancient Mayan way to grow sustainably as these plants all co-exist and crops are normally rotated. However our garden is small. But we have a coconut palm as well.😇


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