>Purslane

>I’m pretty new to gardening. Last year was our first year with a plot but I’m already familiar with some of the struggles of gardening. Some are specific to urban gardens: invasive squirrels, no sprinklers to water your crops, broken glass from the adjacent parking lot making its way into your plot. Other things are more common amongst all gardeners. Weeds. Rodents. Slugs and grubs. Over bearing daytime heat, causing beans to wilt. These are all things we deal with as we try to get our gardens to produce our food, at least for a little while.

This morning when I opened my email I saw a newsletter from Kitchen Gardner’s International. If you don’t know who they are, they’re the group who petitioned President Obama when he was a candidate to turn the White House lawn into an organic kitchen garden. KGI is an awesome group and I love getting their newsletter. Imagine my surprise when I opened this one and saw the exact WEED that has covered all available space in Wee garden since day one. We always thought that this weed was actually little trees that were growing thanks to the several trees that overlook and drop seeds on our plot. No matter how pristine the ground is when we plant, we always end up with these weeds and we pull them out all summer long.

Photo by Frank Mangan

Now it turns out, this weed is a problem for gardners and farmers all over the country. It’s not just me!! Even more surprising, this weed is considered a delicacy in areas of Europe, Latin America and India. What?! Apparently this little troublemaker known as Purslane was one of Gandhi’s favorite foods and is used in everything from salsas to stews.

I’m not sure I’m ready to declassify this pesky plant as a weed but perhaps we’ll pull it up and try eating it. It might be delicious, who knows? More importantly, it’s nice to start out your day with an affirmation that you’re a ‘real’ gardener even if your plot is tiny and trash from the bus stop sometimes ends up on your chives. Even farmers have to deal with this stupid weed, I’ve made it to the big time now.

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