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growing dandelions from my yard for food  RSS feed

 
Adam Buchler
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Location: New Jersey
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I live in NJ. This time of year there are a lot of dandelions in my lawn and I've noticed some are starting to go to seed. Is it kosher to just snag some seeds from one of these and plant them in a garden bed for food? In other words, are these similar to the dandelions you by at the grocery store? Does anyone already do this?
 
Miles Flansburg
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You can buy them at the grocery store?? Thats awesome!

I have never "planted" them( plenty growing wild) but it should work fine.
 
Adam Buchler
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Location: New Jersey
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So you just eat the ones growing wild? I just figured they would grow much larger in a garden bed where they arent competing with grass
 
Miles Flansburg
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Ya I just pick them here and there.

They probably would grow bigger , sounds like a good experiment.
 
Michael Cox
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The biggest, lushest dandelions I have seen are generally growing in mulched areas where there is plenty of moisture and some shade through the day. Direct sun seems to lead to smaller more bitter leaves.

Carol Deppe's books on breeding vegetable varieties might interest you if you want to breed a dandelion with better culinary properties.
 
John Elliott
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As far as I know, grocery store dandelions are the same as lawn dandelions -- there hasn't been any selective breeding of dandelion varieties for different characteristics. The reason grocery store dandelions are so lush and lacking in bitterness is, as Micheal observes, because they have been grown in shaded, heavily mulched areas. I get dandelions like that in the late winter growing in the blackberries on the north side of my house. But out in the lawn in the full sun, the dandelions are like what you would expect, prostrate and bitter.

Pagano seeds sells dandelion seed in packages, as well as chicory and arugula, two other garden weeds that are also recent domestications. You can tell that chicory has been domesticated for longer than arugula and dandelion, because of the many different varieties that have been developed; radicchio, witloof (Belgian endive), or my favorite, the frastagliate (meaning jagged leafed).

So yes, go out there and pick dandelion seed heads and find a shady mulched spot to grow them.
 
Elissa Teal
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Location: Detroit, Michigan
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Yes! Do it! I have done this with wild carrot seeds that I harvested from the wild. For whatever reason I have not had luck with domesticated carrot seeds in my garden. Anyway, the wild carrots seeds are, as I suspected they would, producing!

Silly me. Last year I purchased Italian dandelion seeds from Johnny's. I should have just done what you stated in the OP Keep us posted.
 
Gianni Henny
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Sorry for digging up an old topic, but..

As far as I know, cultivated Dandelion actually has been bred to be less bitter by Europeans. 

Also, I think the dandelion sold in grocery stores are sometimes actually chicory.  Both herbs are very nutritious and medicinal.  The root of Dandelion is an excellent medicine as well as the leaves and flower stems.  Here is Maria Treben's Dandelion info.

There is nothing wrong with planting seeds from local wild dandelion, but it might be worth a try to also plant some of the Italian or French cultivated varieties that were bred for culinary purposes. 

If you have rabbit or groundhog problems, you may have to protect the plants.  Our wild dandelion plants are almost nonexistent because of them, and they have eaten any plants we have grown from seed into oblivion.

It is said that it is best to harvest before they flower for less bitterness.  Some people cook them in a change or two of water when harvested in the heat of summer.  When I was in Italy, I saw Italians boil their bitter greens before sauteing them in garlic and olive oil.  When discussing the matter, one Italian noted the loss of [water soluble] vitamins/minerals when preparing greens this way.  I suggested drinking the water the greens were boiled in, and he said that a few of the older generations of Italians do this, so it was likely common practice at some point.


 
Joy Oasis
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but don't we loose lots of nutrients and liver healing qualities, if we boil and then not consume the water? I do grow dandelions in my beds, and they do grow lusher than the ones I see in the city as volunteers. more lush and green. My are domesticated -I got a few seedlings from my neighbor, who bought Italian ones. I wonder, if wild ones also would have larger leaves, when planted in fertile soil without other weed competition. My are growing in the sun. I also eat stems as they come and yellow part of the flower -quite good. 10 stems eaten daily for 2 weeks make a great liver cleanse according to the herbalist Maria Treben.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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If you have dandelions in your lawn you can create shade barriers for them, lift the leaves to add compost and mulch under them, and water them.  You will see a remarkable difference in the ones that you culture in this way as opposed to the ones that are out in the open and not given direct support.  Wild seeded dandelions also do very well in the loose fertile soils of my heavily mulched raised beds, producing far larger roots, wider leaves, and longer stems.  I eat the leaves mostly in the spring, I leave many of them for all the good they do for the soil community, but chop and drop so that the large leaves don't compete too much with my other plants, and I harvest the roots occasionally for the pot or oven.  I find that if I chop and drop them regularly enough, the plants can last for a few more years, semi- perennializing it.      
 
Su Ba
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When I lived in New Jersey, I saw several of my neighbors growing spring dandelion. They were grown in beds that had been top dressed with chicken manure the previous fall. I may not be remembering this correctly, but I think it was late February or early March when the beds would be covered with clear plastic. This would force the dandelion to grow rapidly and lushly.

I was often the happy recipient of gifted bundles of fresh dandelion leaves. My husband wouldn't eat them but I loved them wilted with a hot dressing made from bacon, vinegar, and a tad of sugar. We never ate dandelion the rest of the year because it was too bitter. But some neighbors made wine out of the flowers. I often helped pick flowers and clean them.
 
Tobias Ber
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hey... yesterday i had an discussion about this in the allotment garden concerning the bitterness of dandelion in salads.

my idea was to just use the young leaves, chop them up and add them to whatever else you want in your salad. this should "dilute" the bitterness.
you can also lactoferment the leaves.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Neighbors made wine out of the flowers. I often helped pick flowers and clean them.
   My grandfather was famous for his dandelion wine.  Some friends on a farm used to have a dandelion picking contest with all the little girls at one of their daughter's birthday parties, so that they could reduce the seeding of the dandelions on their farm, and to make wine. 
 
Roberto pokachinni
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my idea was to just use the young leaves, chop them up and add them to whatever else you want in your salad. this should "dilute" the bitterness. 
  Yes, this is the way that I get a lot of less palatable but highly nutritious foods into the regular salad diet, including yarrow, plantain, hairy chickweed, and strong herbs like oregano.  I gather them in a separate basket or bag from the larger leaf salad materials and this bag full I mince to a fine chop, and usually mix it with the dressing, but sometimes just dust it all over the salad or spaghetti sauce or whatever.  A person can also dry, and grind these ingredients out to use as a herbal 'salt'. 
 
Joy Oasis
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I like your idea about herbal salt. I just got an extra ceramic spice grinder and was thinking what should I put in it -I was thinking cinnamon pieces, but now, I think it will be for my herbal salt.
 
Arthur Horne
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
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I have a history with the yellow beauties, I'm thrilled to hear the roots are edible, I didn't know.  I have one massive early spring head on last years roots, growing right on the compost pile?  I know it's from last years lions because it never died this winter.  I have mint, parsley, chard and oregano on the west side of my house that never stopped growing this, very mild, winter.  This is my first post at permies, thank you all for being here.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Hi Arthur.  WELCOME TO PERMIES !!! <- There's a bunch of helpful stuff if you click on this link.

  The entire dandelion plant is edible, though some parts are definitely better than others in flavor.  The roots are roasted and ground and then primarily used as a coffee substitute.  I also throw a few in a stew and nobody notices them chopped into bits amongst the parsnips and turnips and such.  The same can be said of a rich sauce like a spicy tomato sauce. 

The greens can be added to steamed greens (mustards, chards, kales, nettles etc) in moderation for their vitamins, at any time of the year, just chop them a little finer and it all blends in. 

Dandelion is often called an annual, but it is generally a short lived perennial unless the conditions are really poor.  
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Hi Joy:
I like your idea about herbal salt.
  I'm sharing the idea, but I did not originate it.    I'm glad you like it.  It a great way to get the trance nutrients from tons of edible but strong tasting herbs without being overwhelmed.   Other local plants like alfalfa, clover,  and the leaves of strawberry and raspberry can be added as well.  The list goes on and on.
 
Roberto pokachinni
pollinator
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Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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HI Joy, Welcome to permies to you too!!!          Click on the link in the post that I just did for Arthur, if you have any questions about this site.  
 
Joy Oasis
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:HI Joy, Welcome to permies to you too!!!          Click on the link in the post that I just did for Arthur, if you have any questions about this site.  

Thank you, although I am on this site for couple of years already...
 
Nicole Alderman
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I don't particularly like the flavor of dandelion leaves or roots (though my three-year old loves running around and munching on the leaves, and my husband likes cooked dandelion root to munch on). I do, however, really like the flavor of both root and leaf tea. For root tea, I just scrub/peal the dandelion roots really well, chop them finely, and then add to just-boiled water (like with any other tea). Sometimes I let the roots simmer for a while. I use the leaves like one would use any other leafs to make tea
 
Acetylsalicylic acid is aspirin. This could be handy too:
Complete Wild Edibles Package by Sergei Boutenko (1 HD video + 10 eBooks)
https://permies.com/t/70674/digital-market/digital-market/Complete-Wild-Edibles-Package-Sergei
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