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The Dandelion

 
gardener
Posts: 967
Location: Ohio, USA
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Dandelion defined: Dandelion is an edible plant that divides neighborhoods in ways politics can only dream of. Its long tap root is roastable into a drink resembling decaf coffee.  It's greens are not prized for flavor, but can be snuck into many dishes without "normal" people even noticing. In fact, trendy restaurants will sometimes add them to their salad mix. This is too bold for me. I prefer it snuck into pesto. Nutritional yeast seems to counter the immediate sense you have turned into a lawn mower while consuming those greens. Considering this, the average person's need or use for dandelion at about 10 plants a year. The problem is dandelion proliferates unchecked better than house mice. The work created by managing them is more than their yellow button-like flowers are beautiful, thus leading to some humans cringing at all yellow flowers. Of course, the flowers only open in the sun,  perhaps that's dandelion's revenge: you pick me I get ugly. (From my FB and Instagram feed)

If you have more dandelions than you can consume, pluck the plants and roots and let them leek the nutrients they accumulate from their deep root into plants you need more of. Always leave one dandelion (the best tasting) to reseed your supply. Here their biggest breeding period is spring, so as long as you pluck extras fully once a year (fall is a good time for roots and early spring for leaves) management is not horrendous.  In gardening,  timing is everything.

Check out "What's Cooking?" In the Cooking forum for dandelion recipes.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3562
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Dandelions are one of bees' best early sources of food in that part of the season. If I had more than I needed, I would cede the surplus to the hardest-working among us, the pollinators.

I heard that some people pick the fresh young blossoms to boil, strain, and reduce to a syrup that can easily be mistaken for really light honey.

But I would leave them for the bees, and seed them wherever I had extra bare space.

-CK
 
gardener
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Our chooks love them, so we encourage our dandelions to proliferate.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2082
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Dandelion wine.
 
gardener
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Location: South of Capricorn
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One year I did my winter traveling a bit later than usual, came back to a garden full of early dandelions. Pulled them up and made a farmhouse beer that was bittered with dandelion roots/crowns instead of hops, and used hoegarden spices. That beer was AMAZING.
 
gardener
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Functionally,for me. they are better than grass, and that is enough for me to leave them be.
 
master steward
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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My son loves eating the flowers, and I like the leaves in tea. It's great for getting rid of the occasional zit I get, and it's packed full of nutrition. I encourage them as much as I can. In fact, I'm not mowing most of my lawn until they go to seed. The ducks love eating the seeds, and chopped up dandelion (though their bills can't cut the leaves like a chicken can). All in all I love my dandelions, and have to keep my son from eating the first dandelion flowers so the bees have food, too!
 
pollinator
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Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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I don't just leave them, I spread them. We have hardpan clay, and I have tried many different tillers, but the dandelions (and their relative chicory) are AWESOME. In the yard I use them as mineral recyclers, they clearly bring up minerals from strata deeper than grass (my bluegrass will get down, but it takes a long time) and I also appreciate the early flowers for our mason bees. Generally I look at the "weeds" and try to figure out why they are preferred in that niche? If I can answer that, I can choose to let them maintain the niche or replace them with a similar niche plant (as I am doing with chicory replacing the dandelions in more fertile areas, simply by allowing higher growth the dandelions can't attain). I don't eat them, but lots of other stuff does, so I like them! Eventually they promote clover and grasses, which get thick. They seem to be a critical part of the procession from bare soil to grass, and eventually to frontier forest.
 
pollinator
Posts: 554
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Our chooks love them, so we encourage our dandelions to proliferate.



Ours too, so much that we have none left in the lawn!  Only in the vegetable patch where the chickens aren't allowed.  I'm not bothered if the root doesn't come up when I pull one out for them--it means they'll get ito eat it again in a few more weeks.
 
Trace Oswald
pollinator
Posts: 2082
Location: 4b
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Tj Jefferson wrote:I don't just leave them, I spread them. We have hardpan clay, and I have tried many different tillers, but the dandelions (and their relative chicory) are AWESOME. In the yard I use them as mineral recyclers, they clearly bring up minerals from strata deeper than grass (my bluegrass will get down, but it takes a long time) and I also appreciate the early flowers for our mason bees. Generally I look at the "weeds" and try to figure out why they are preferred in that niche? If I can answer that, I can choose to let them maintain the niche or replace them with a similar niche plant (as I am doing with chicory replacing the dandelions in more fertile areas, simply by allowing higher growth the dandelions can't attain). I don't eat them, but lots of other stuff does, so I like them! Eventually they promote clover and grasses, which get thick. They seem to be a critical part of the procession from bare soil to grass, and eventually to frontier forest.



I didn't realize that.  I have chicory everywhere on my new property.
 
Posts: 222
Location: Douglas County OR
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I have been so relieved to see the dandelions come back to this property. The previous owners must've sprayed the hell out of them.

The comeback was seriously slowed by our 2 dogs and 8 chickens who all think the flowers are great.
 
William Bronson
gardener
Posts: 3111
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I have the hardest time spreading the volunteer  "weeds" in my yard.
Plantain,  Creeping Charlie, Dandelion, are all welcome and encouraged, but I can't seem to successfully transplant,  split  or seed them.
So I have settled for preferential weeding.
Grass gets pulled/hacked back to make room for any/everything else, and slowly but surely my lovely "weeds" take over.
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