Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chickweed as Soil Fertility Indicator and Poultry Food

This pervasive, low-growing annual weed was brought here by European immigrants who treasured it as a vegetable, but even though I am wild foods forager I find the taste and texture too weedy raw....I will try it chopped into stir fry and omelets and soups as it is VERY nutritious. Known botanically as Stellaria media, it is a classic weed indicator of soil fertile, pH-balanced, nutrient rich soil high in nitrogen it grows lushly, as it does in untended areas of my yard.
If one grabs the plant at the base, it pulls up VERY easily. I let it grow in various beds as meeting my chickens' and quails' needs for raw green plant matter daily is a challenge......chickweed helps to fill the void when I don't have other weeds that chickens like or spare greens from my garden.

You may recognize it from the photos as it is very widespread, absent generally only in dry, alkaline soil regions. The tiny leaves are perfect for the small bills of poultry. I hear that ducks love it too. John

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