nutrients:Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Manganese
difficulty to grow:very easy, pretty much grows itself
Perrenial or annual:perrenial
invasive or not:invasive but can be easily kept in check
when to harvest: when green leaves are big enough for your taste, they get bigger as the plant gets older, mine are about a year or so old and i get 15 inch long 2 inch wide leaves on the big ones.
soil conditions:pretty much anything
when to plant: anytime really as long as its not freezing cold.
this plant has a funny place being in this thread, most people consider this plant a horrible weed. They see the yellow flowers in the lawn and you can literally watch their face get red , but to those that are in the know. Dandelions are a great plant. Actually a wonderful plant! For those with hard solid compacted soil, this one soil builder for you. The roots go deep! Very deep.... And in turn bring up depleted minerals and other things from the subsoil. Now see this is where most see that as a problem. The plant will keep growing back from the roots and growing back....now if you think of that the other way around and turn it into the positive, and know the uses of dandelion as a source of nutrients. It keeps growing back and growing back...... Get my point? after some time dig and collect as much of the root as you can for drying and some use which i will get into later. It will probly grow back, but only a few times more. eventually you will exhaust the nutrients to the part that is deep underground. That is left and it will break down creating a nice pathway for earthworms and soil aeration.
one thing you will have to do it when the plant goes to flower you will have to pick them off when they pop up for two reasons.
1. To keep them from seeding your whole area and overtaking you. It might be a little work, but think of the work you would have if they kept seeding for a couple of years and the end result is hundreds of dandelions to take rid of? Thats too much work haha. If you keep it to a small patch and manage it you will be fine. Just like with most invasive plants.
2. When you pick the flowers the plant wants to grow more, grow more = more and bigger leaves = more free nutrients.
another benefit for dandelion is you can eat the leaves and flowers. And its good for you too the leaves taste good in salads. If your growing for nutrients AND food. Keep them in a nice clean area and don't splash with mud/dirt.
what to do with it after you have harvested is a good question. There is a number of things you can do with the leaves either fresh or dried. Fresh you can compost them if your patch is big enough. You can make an infusion ( like making tea, the tea you drink not compost tea) you can make a liquid soak. If you want to dry them, i would lay them in an even layer in a warm place with lots of ventilation. Or under a tree just out of the sun. When dried it can be crushed into a powder and amended to the soil, used in the quick return compost activator.
Being a smart alec beats the alternative. This tiny ad knows what I'm talking about: