How to Grow Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelion flowers are high in potassium, calcium, and iron. They are native to Asia where they were grown for medicinal purposes. They are used in salads because of their flavor and their low-calorie content.
Dandelions love the sun and flowers start blooming around mid-summer. Read on to see how to get started growing dandelions.
Other names: yellow gowan, cankerwort, puff ball, wild endive, blow ball, and pissenlit
Best Time for Growing Dandelions
The best time to sow dandelion is in mid-to-late spring. Sow the seeds about a quarter of an inch deep with a 2-3 inch spacing between the plants.
Do not cover the seeds with a lot of soil because dandelions need a lot of sunlight to sprout. Once they have sprouted, transplant them to the garden outdoors and plant them in rows.
Dandelions grow in almost all types of soils as long as it is well drained. You can add nitrogen (through fertilizer or organic compost) if you think your soil lacks nutrients. The flowers and leaves taste better if the plants were grown in rich, slightly alkaline soils.
When starting dandelions from seeds sow directly into the ground and cover loosely with a thin layer of topsoil. Start dandelion seeds indoors about 4-6 weeks before the last frost date in your zone.
Once they germinate, thin them out to retain a 6-8 inches space between the seedlings.
Dandelions reseed themselves during the bolting period and this is the time to get rid of them if you do not want a new crop.
Caring for Dandelions
Dandelions are not demanding. They can easily be started in containers in your house or sown directly in the garden outdoors. They love the light and they require abundant exposure to sunlight to thrive.
Watering should be done regularly. Ensure that the soil is moist but not water-logged. A simple way of checking if the soil needs watering is by sticking your finger onto the ground.
Pests and Diseases
Dandelions are resistant to many pests and diseases. The plants are loved by many small animals, including bunnies who can sneak into your farm and create havoc.
Dandelions are among the most beneficial companion plants because they attract ladybugs, bumblebees, and other pollinators to the garden.
The soft, youngest tender leaves are full of flavor. Pick the flowers when they are still young, yellow, and bright. Use them whilst still fresh.
Blanch the dandelion leaves a few weeks before harvesting. Blanching gets rid of the plant’s bitterness. Blanching is done by covering the plant with an opaque fabric. Dandelions that grow in the shade are blanched naturally. They are not as bitter as those that grow in full sunlight.
Dried, roasted, and crushed dandelion roots are infused into coffee or hot tea. Flowers are also used in wines to bring out different flavors.
Dandelions proposed benefits include helping with digestion, controlling blood pressure, aiding weight loss, and lowering cholesterol levels.
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