When you hear the term “super greens”, my guess is that your thoughts immediately turn to Kale. That expensive, beautifully green plant we see in neatly stacked rows upon Supermarket shelves. Kale is indeed a very healthy and nutritious food. But what if I told you that there are other super greens that will cost you nothing, are completely organic, grow just about anywhere, are prolific in regeneration, and are nutritious for companion parrots and humans alike? I am talking about the humble Sow Thistle (Sonchus Oleraceus).
A “weed” is defined as “any undesirable or troublesome plant, especially one that grows profusely where it is not wanted” . The issue is that these maligned weeds are actually of the herb family and despite our cultured, manicured garden mentality, is highly nutritious. The Sow Thistle is high in vitamin A, Bs, and C along with Calcium and Iron. Side by side with Kale, it is pretty comparable with the exception of B6.
There are other herbs and plants that I pick daily from my garden and all provide a nutritious and important part of the diet for my two Eclectus. They also provide an invaluable employment and foraging opportunity.
Other herbs and plants that I provide daily are bitter lettuce, varieties of sow thistle, dandelion and common mallow. All of these grow prolifically in my own back yard, providing a renewable, organic and amazing supply of companion parrot, friendly food.
It must be noted though, that one should not use plants that have been sprayed with any kind of weed killer and I would be reluctant to use any natural plants as these, if the area in which they grow has been sprayed in the past year. Additionally, one should also be cautious of picking these from roadsides or other common areas, due to pollution and/or council spraying of these areas.
It is one thing to have a beautifully manicured garden that is pretty to look upon. However if we can adjust our mentality from seeing these as a worthless nuisance to our manicured garden, we will be able to appreciate and grow to love our “weeds”. I am thankful for my crop of beautiful “weeds”.