Last February my friend Carla wrote a post on her blog Local Forage about the amazing nutritional benefits of purslane. I love to forage for wild edibles like this but I also like growing new things in the garden. So last spring I ordered purslane seeds online (I found them at Sand Mountain Herbs and Territorial Seed) and planted them in my lettuce beds. I ended up with a vigorous crop for most of the summer and was happy to share a big bag of it with Carla (which we ended up eating as an impromptu picnic salad during a show at the Greek Theater in Berkeley.)
Since then I've learned why this plant grows wild; it's really a very hardy weed. This year I didn't sow a single seed and it's now growing vigorously all over my yard. At this point I have so much I haven't quite known what to do with it all. Even though purslane is a tasty (and very nutritious) plant, there's only so much I can eat or share with friends. But today (in an incredibly delayed thought process) it finally dawned on me that I should feed it to the chickens. Doh!
A couple months ago I wrote about starting my "poultry garden" with several plants that would be beneficial for the chickens. I followed this up a few weeks later by also planting rue. I'm not sure why the purslane never crossed my mind. It will be a healthy treat for the pullets now but once they start laying it should be even more beneficial. It's not only the richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids of any green,
leafy vegetable but it's also high in magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and iron. That's got to result in better tasting eggs!
I tossed an armfull in the run this morning and the girls devoured it. They've been decimating my chard so this is good news all the way around. Hooray! Apparently purslane was Gandhi's favorite food, and now that it's performing so many useful functions in my garden I'm really starting to understand why.