This page talks about growing dandelion and its benefits.
When you think of dandelions, chances are your memories of them, like mine, include picking up a dandelion stem chock full of seeds, making a wish and blowing them all over your parents’ yard. While some people think of dandelion as a nothing more than a weed, dandelions are actually pretty useful.
Native American used to use dandelion leaves and roots to treat all kinds of things from kidney disease to heartburn. Dandelions contain vitamins A, B, C and D, in addition to iron potassium, zinc and fiber. Every part of the plant, from the leaves to the roots can be used for something.
Start by selecting a sunny part of your garden (partial sun is also okay, see harvesting information below). The dandelion is a hardy plant that will grow well in a variety of soil conditions, but it prefers rich, moist soil. Plant the seeds only ¼ inch into the soil. Space plants about 8 inches apart. If you plan to harvest the leaves as baby greens, you can plant the seeds as close as 2 to 3 inches apart.
Dandelions can also be grown in pots indoors. The instructions is much the same: plant your seeds ¼ inch into the soil. Keep the soil moist and in an area with plenty of natural light. Dandelions should be ready for harvesting within 85 to 95 days of planting, or much sooner if you wish to harvest younger leaves.
It’s harvest time! Dandelion leaves can be a little bitter. There are a couple of ways to reduce bitterness. One way is to harvest the dandelion leaves early. Younger leaves are less bitter. Another way is to either plant the dandelion leaves in a shady spot or manually cover them a few days before you harvest them. Be sure to harvest the leaves before the plant flowers for a better flavor.
Dandelions can be harvested one of two ways: you can either remove the whole plant like you would a head of lettuce or you can remove a few leaves here and there and leave the plant intact. Since dandelions are perennials, even if you decide to harvest the whole plant at once, it will return next season for another harvest. To harvest the roots, wait until at least the second year and then dig up the entire plant. Be careful to avoid breaking the roots.
To keep dandelions from becoming invasive, you can begin by selecting a less invasive variety. But ultimately, if you keep the plant from going to seed, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Every part of the dandelion plant is useful. Enjoy dandelion greens in teas, salads and sandwiches. The roots can be used in coffee substitutes, and the flowers can be used in making wine.
Try this wonderful dandelion green salad:
½ pound dandelion leaves
½ red onion, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 tsp fresh basil
salt and pepper
In a bowl, mix ingredients well. Salt and pepper to taste, or drizzle with your favorite salad dressing.
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