Stellaria media or common chickweed is a cool season annual “weed.” This plant will germinate in the fall or late winter and forms ground covering mats in the early spring. The plant starts to retreat in the middle of the spring and by early summer, it’s gone entirely.
Of all the edible “weeds” I’ve tried, common chickweed is my favorite. Denise and I pick common chickweed in the early spring and even sometimes late winter, before our salad greens are ready. Common chickweed is an excellent salad green substitute. It is mild, never bitter. We do chop the stems up, but the stems are soft and tasty as well. My chickens do in fact love the plant as well, but they don’t get much of it, because it is a valuable food crop.
Benefits of Common Chickweed
1. This plant gives us salad three weeks earlier in the season.
2. Mild, excellent food quality green.
3. Provides a groundcover to your garden at a time of the year when nothing is growing.
4. Goes away with the warm weather when annual garden crops are taking over.
5. Great chicken forage.
6. Chickweed is nutritious. It’s an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C, D and iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, sodium, copper, and silica.
~ Phil Williams
Phil Williams is a permaculture consultant and designer and creator of the website foodproduction101.com. He is also the author of numerous books, most recently, Fire the Landscaper and Farmer Phil's Permaculture. His website provides useful, timely information for the experienced or beginning gardener, landscaper, or permaculturalist. Phil's personal goals are to build soil, restore and regenerate degraded landscapes, grow and raise an abundance of healthy food of great variety, design and install resilient permaculture gardens in the most efficient manner possible, and teach others along the way.