This year one of the crops I’ve been happiest with is also one of the least likely. I’m really glad I planted dandelions. I bet you have questions, so I will attempt to answer them below.
How do you plant dandelions? Where did you get the seeds?
I bought the seed from a seed company, specifically French Dandelion from Baker Creek, for $2.
Why grow them, are they good to eat?
Yes, I grow quite a few salad and cooking greens, and I was interested in dandelion greens because it was another type of green vegetable. I like the taste, but I’ve been most happy with them because they’re so much more productive than most of the other greens I grow. It seems like I’ve been harvesting them for months. Also, supposedly they’re pretty good for you.
How do you eat them?
I’ve read that people eat the young leaves raw in salads, but we mainly eat them cooked (just like you would cook spinach.) They do have a strong flavor, which you probably want to start slowly with– not too many at once. Or put them in dishes that help tone them down. We eat a lot of dandelion greens in stuffing.
Why bother to plant dandelions, aren’t they growing everywhere?
Well, yes, but not as many as you would think. I’ve harvested a few dandelion greens from around my yard, or from areas of the garden where I don’t want them growing, but there aren’t as many as I would like. When growing wild, dandelions tend to spread out. By planting a whole bed of them, they grow much more densely, and it’s much easier to harvest a big bunch of leaves.
Aren’t I worried about introducing weeds to my garden?
If you’re asking that, you’ve never seen my garden. But also, I don’t worry about weeds spreading, because I don’t let them go to seed. If flowers form, I get rid of them while they’re still yellow. And even if I miss a few, I can’t imagine dandelions ever being as big a weed problem in my garden as say, volunteer tomatoes.
Couldn’t I save the seed to plant?
Actually, yes, I should try that. Although they’re a perennial, so I may not need to. And if I want some more, I may just buy them. $2 is pretty cheap for seeds.