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growing dandelions from my yard for food

 
Adam Buchler
Posts: 70
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
Posts: 70
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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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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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
Posts: 128
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.


 
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