Yep. Weeds come in and heal damaged soil. Many have deep taproots and bring nutrients up from deep below the surface and hold them in their leaves. As each plant dies it enriches the soil for more delicate plants like your vegetable garden that cannot perform on depleted soil.
So for all nongardeners out there, try weeds for dinner. They will cure you of needing thousands of dollars in food supplements, and cut your vegetable bill in half.
Stop pouring poisons on that pristine lawn, get down on your non gardener’s knees and carefully lift those violas, plop them into a basket, and haul them to the kitchen for the tastiest and most nutricious salad greens ever. I never shut up about violas because they are nutrient dense and my favorite tasting salad greens. They grow great in shade and I plant them under my trees, shrubs, and in North shade. It is an expansion of vegetable gardening into unused spaces.
Quit spraying Roundup on dandelions and eat them in the early spring before they get bitter. Dig them up and dry the roots for pseudo coffee. Leave them to bloom and make dandelion wine. Wine will make your head spin but it can add needed calories. Wines preserve some of the antioxidants from their parent plants. Use in moderation, eh?
Never forget that the entire Poaceae family has edible seeds. Millions of square miles of grass, all with edible seeds. Boil them and have hot cereal. Some have bigger seeds than others, but all make nutritious additions to a pot of soup (I am less attached to gruel without sugar).
On my 14 acres in Texas I collected a lot of grass seed for eating. I started with over-collecting seed of invasive species just to slow them down and let my native prairie grasses come back. If you collect too soon they will put out another, shorter seed stalk. If you wait until they are mature, place your basket under the seed head before you cut it off, saving lost seeds. I have known for years that grass seeds are edible and nutricious. To save the seed, put them in a paper bag and leave alone. In good time the seeds drop to the bottom and the chaff stays at the stop. A light breeze will blow the chaff, leaving clean seed.
On the prairie I was collecting seed to discourage invaders… and did not like throwing them away. So I ate them. Break them up in a stone mortar and they cook faster. Run them through a grinder and add to flour for baking. I have added them to bread and biscuits both. Sprout them before cooking and double their nutrient boost. Save them for a rainy day.
I know that corporate monoculture will crash. It is too unhealthy to make it. I know the global economy stinks and even the Bigs are now saying we have a worse crash coming. Chase Bank drafted their own banker bailout fantasy and it was added to the last big budget bill by the Republicans and passed! Obama signed it into law. I know we are thrilled about that. If you expect looting of your carefully-stored high sodium cans of nonnutricious food… then let your lawn grow into a weedy jungle and eat the jungle.
A friend of mine had hip surgery and her garden got weedy. I was over there and we practised eating her weeds. She had lambs quarters! I talked her out of seed and now I have lambs quarters. Free to me because once I put out seed they will reproduce and multiply. She still lets the weeds grow in that corner of her yard. Tree shade is reducing it’s effectiveness for tomatoes, but it will grow 4 ft tall salad greens. We chopped up the lamb’s quarters and cooked them with other good things. Of course I’ve been eating weeds for decades. Keeps me healthy.
There are many lawn and garden weed books to help you identify common weeds. Once you have them identified, go to http://www.pfaf.org and find out the edible and medicinal uses for your weeds. I have used their site for years to check out various new species (especially New Mexico, where I did not grow up). They do good research and are a trustworthy source. Daniel Mohrman has several phenomenal books out that lists Native American plants and their uses. Botany in a Day by Thomas J. Elpel is the best plant ID book I have ever seen.
Starting as a child in the Pacific Northwest I learned about wild foods. Over the years I have learned more from many sources. These are excellent current sources.
I only write about my personal experience with plants. Too many Internet writers quote unverified sources. Some errors get repeated thousands of times for pseudo-truth. Try new foods carefully, and make your own list. Best done before absolutely necessary.
Plant a garden! Too much work? Allow a weed bed!