Yarrow Virtues

Most of the plants I grow are plants I eat. One exception is yarrow. It supports the edible plants and it survives with little care. Sometimes it survives to the point of being invasive, but it’s valuable enough to be given space.

Historically, it was known as the soldier’s herb because it can be boiled and used to stop bleeding. It is still used medicinally, but that’s not the main reason I give it space. Its ability to attract beneficial insects makes it worth having. Ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and hover flies are among the beneficials yarrow attracts. Growing yarrow attracts predator bugs that can keep the plant eating insects from consuming garden plants.

Yarrow also is used in a biodynamic blend. I don’t use biodynamic methods, but am intrigued by their ideas and would happily eat food they produce. Biodynamic growers don’t use chemicals and try to use as little as possible from off the farm. They strive for self-sufficiency by producing their own fertilizers and caring for soil.

A recent article I read included yarrow as a dynamic accumulator. This was a new term to me. As I read the article it described dynamic accumulators as plants that take nutrients from the soil and then are put back into the soil or composted to feed other plants. Basically, dynamic accumulators are cover crops with good PR. So after yarrow attracts beneficial insects, it is a good addition to the compost pile.

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