Plant Description and Growing Tips:
Chickweed is a common annual that people usually want to round up (with Round-Up weed killers). But chickweed has loads of health benefits and uses for your garden, livestock, and kitchen. Since it is considered a ‘weed’, it is relatively easy to grow, emerging in the early summer in nutrient and nitrogen-dense soils.
The plant itself is characterized by small white flowers and pear-shaped leaves edged with fuzzy fibers. It will grow low to the ground, perfect for under trees or tall shrubbery since it will grow in shady and moist conditions, which are unfavorable to many plants. This makes it a wonderful cover crop and alternative to grass. Read more about the importance of edible lawns!
For planting, sow seeds no more than half an inch deep and put no more than three seeds every inch. Don’t worry much about making rows since chickweed self-seeds in haphazard ways for successive years. Once the seeds are sown, cover them with a thin layer of topsoil and mist to moisten the area. Then just leave the seedlings undisturbed until they grow four to six inches, then begin thinning out. To conserve the thinned plants, you can limit initial planning to a fraction of the entire area you want to be planted and transplant the chickweed sprouts, so spacing is between four and six inches. When harvesting, leave the roots in the ground to give them a chance to grow back since they are partially perennial.
Chickweed is chockfull of vitamins, including C, B6, B12, D, It also contains supplements such as iron, calcium, and magnesium to list a few. Making the chickweed into a tincture or tea can alleviate bloating and indigestion, while infusing oil with chopped leaves will soothe eczema and soften dry skin.
The leaves go well in green soups as a puree and are also an excellent complement to salads and buddha bowls. Their leaves taste similar to spinach but have a flavor that resembles how corn smells.
Dangers and Companion Planting
Chickweed is called a weed for a reason and, if left unattended, can propagate and outcompete other plants. Therefore, make sure your planting is intentional, and steer clear of planting it near nitrogen-dependent plants since it quickly depletes the soil of nitrogen.