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Burdock / gobo

 
pollinator
Posts: 873
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
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I'm interested in'gobo', i.e., burdock.  Anyone with knowledge or, better yet, experience with it's 'health' effects?   Plus, how in the world to get the amazing root out of the ground, and the easiest 'processing/presersving' methods... especially ones that have worked for you : )  TIA
 
Posts: 93
Location: Saskatchewan
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I would also like to hear more people's experiences with burdock as I have all over my place. I've made tea from it and it is a part of my cough tea recipe. I normally use a spade and cut the root off a full spade blade length deep, I've also used a broad fork when plants are grouped together and it works really well loosening multiple plants at once.
 
gardener
Posts: 6663
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Harvesting the roots of burdock (and sheep sorrel) requires the use of the good old Garden Fork if you want to get almost all of the roots.
You just plunge the fork down into the soil about a foot from the "crown" at ground level, then push down so the fork tines lift towards the plant, this will have to be done all the way around the plant then you should be able to lift it to shake the soil from the roots.

Roots are best stored dried, we air dry for a few days then I place them in a dehydrator cabinet for around a week because I place the whole root including the crown stem to make sure I have every part of the burdock I need for medicine making.
Sheep sorrel is about the only herb that you usually use the whole plant in recipes so you don't do any cutting off of any part of the above ground portion and you want to lift all the roots you can, just like you lift the roots of the burdock plant.

Drying can be done completely in the sun (if you are lucky enough to have at least five days straight of sun) or it can be started in the sun then move the plants to a dehydrator to finish off, or you can simply use the dehydrator for the whole drying process.
Once roots are dried you want to keep them in an air tight container (I use quart and half gallon sized mason jars or a desiccant jar with a grease seal).

Redhawk
 
pollinator
Posts: 2063
Location: 4b
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Are all the types of burdock medicinal?  Whichever kind grows wild in WI, grows wild all over my place.  I have far more of it than anyone would ever need, but it would be nice if I could do something with it other than pick the burrs out of my dogs' fur.
 
gardener
Posts: 1603
Location: South of Capricorn
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my mother-in-law grows it in large-bore PVC pipes or against a door dug into the ground, and you can get roots that are a good forearm's-length that way. Of course she has fluffy dirt, and I have rocks and clay, so I buy my gobo in the store. The old ladies in my family say it "clears the blood" and is good for your liver. I know for certain it is full of fiber and it tastes yummy.
 
gardener
Posts: 2563
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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To get it out of  the ground... well you might be in for a trial if you want to get it all. It can have tap roots three feet or more long,  so expect to not get it all.  Loosen the soil with a spade fork (garden fork as Bryant called it) all around the plant. Then plunge deeper right close to the plant, and try to bend and lever it out.

If you have extensive groves of burdock and want to get rid of it, mow it down, saturate it with a hose, and cover it with cardboard, overlapped by a foot or more.  Any attempt by the plant to make it through the cardboard is trimmed off and more cardboard added.  The worms will take care of it and the extensive roots will compost to provide a depth of rich soil.
 
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