So, you really want to be a Dandelion grower, huh!?! C’mon get real!! Dandelions!?!
All kidding aside, Dandelions are in fact big business. Dandelion salads are a hot item in many parts of Europe. Dandelions are a vegetable!?! That’s right they are! To your youngster, they are beautiful flowers to collect and give to “mom”. However, homeowners see this plant as a weed, that persistently invades the perfect lawn. But, to a gardener, dandelions are truly a vegetable. Naturalists and survivalists know this full well. Even scout troops will occasionally serve up dandelions as part of survival skills training. Note: most Boy Scouts turn up their noses to dandelions. In all fairness, they also turn their nose to almost any leafy vegetable.
Dandelion greens are a leaf crop. They are highly nutritious, high in vitamins A, B, C, D, and iron, as well as many other vitamins and minerals. They are perhaps one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat….. or drink. Speaking of drink, Dandelion tea or “coffee” is a beverage enjoyed by many. Dandelion wine is a popular use for dandelions, too.
The list of medicinal uses for Dandelions is rather large and broad. They include: fighting kidney disease, as a diuretic, to reduce swelling, and skin problems.
Some people really love their Dandelions. The town of Dover, Ohio holds an annual Dandelion Festival, complete with a Dandelion Cook-off! There is an amazing number of sites on the Internet for Dandelions, more so than many other vegetables. And, the range of sites includes information on growing, recipes, humor, and more!
Other Names: Sun Daisies. Wee-the-Bed, as touching it can cause urination.
The word dandelion comes from the French word meaning “lion’s tooth”, for the jagged-edged leaves.
As far as we know, there is only one variety. If you know of any, please email us!
Commercial seed is available, but difficult to find in the U.S.
You can literally harvest dandelions in a field, in your yard, or in the garden. But, they grow best in your garden with a little care and attention.
Sow seeds outdoors four to six weeks before the last frost.
Space the plants in rows twelve inches apart. Thin seedlings to six to eight inches apart. Dandelions don’t mind being a little crowded.
Dandelions take little care to grow. As you probably already know, they will grow just about anywhere. But, like any other plant, they will grow best in rich soil in a weeded garden, with sufficient moisture.
Like other greens, they will taste best, if grown quickly in cool weather, with plenty of moisture and fertilizer.
Heat and insufficient moisture will cause the leaves to get bitter.
Blanched, inner dandelion leaves are the sweetest. To blanch dandelions, tie up or band the leaves. The inner leaves will turn white and sweet. Outer leaves are edible but will get bitter later in the season, as hot and dry weather arrives.
Days to Maturity: Approximately 85 to 95 days.
Every part of the plant is edible.
Roots- Used as a vegetable or for making tea.
Crowns_ This is the whitish bulb-like part of the plant just at ground level. It is used in salads or as a vegetable, often in cooking recipes.
Leaves- Used in salads and as a cooked vegetable, usually with other vegetables. Pick in the spring as they get bitter later in the year.
Flower buds- This is the part of the plant which is used to make Dandelion wine. You guessed it…it takes a lot of flower buds to make a little wine!
A Dandelion a day, keeps the doctor away! Not only are they nutritious, but they also have great medicinal value, too. It has been known to treat a wide variety of ails from acne to heart conditions, liver ailments and night vision blindness, and a wide variety in between.
Did you know? Dandelions are higher n Potassium than Bananas.
A wide variety of insects including aphids, bees, and beetles will savor the nectar of the flower, and suck juices from the stem and leaves. Major infestations causing significant harm to the crop are unlikely.
We are not aware of any major disease problems.
Amongst the hardiest of perennials, Dandelions grow just about everywhere, regardless of soil conditions. They withstand frost and freezes and tolerate crowding. As homeowners know, uncontrolled dandelions win out in the battle for space over most other plants.