Welcome to our first blog post. I wish I could say it was my first attempt at writing it though! I use to think I was rather good at taking constructive criticism. That is until it required me to write, rewrite and write again, my thoughts on the darn pesky dandelion which I truly do love... most of the time!
Well lets get to it!
The dandelion - WE LOVE IT!!
Fortunately for us it is so determined to grow it's about the only ground cover we currently have in our recently acquired tired, depleted, naked back yard. Naked in plant life that is! If speckled bright Yellow dots amidst brown soil is what we’re working with then so be it!
We love the dandelions in our yard, in our clients yards and well, anywhere they decide to grow because as the first bloomers of the year they're able to feed a slew of hungry pollinating insects, such as the honeybee, with their nutrient rich spring nectar.
We all know how dreadfully long our winters are so can you imagine just how hungry most of the pollinating creatures would be? I’d be starving and Gavin would be one ‘hangry’ chap!
The dandelion tells a story. When you see one it is generally indicative of how your garden soil is fairing. Granted the dandelion can live just about anywhere. It's a bit like a cockroach in its immortal, ‘I will not die’ resilience and yet it is best that it doesn’t! Dandelions are smashingly good for your garden. They add a lovely drop of vibrant yellow, but more importantly if they’re there it's because your soil could be too hard, compact or lacking in fertility.
They possess magical powers - well not really but they do work wonders to improve your soil. As they have wide-spreading roots they help loosen hard packed soil and they also have a long tap root which draws calcium up in to your garden soil. They’re essentially a living fertilizer.
Feeling converted to a Dandelion lover yet? The best is to come!
Dandelions are edible! Yummy… actually they’re not that yummy. Lip smackingly bitter to be honest but they are considered very good for us. They’ve been prescribed over the millenia for a plethora of seemingly random ailments - such as baldness, the plague, lethargy - primarily due to the vitamin deficiencies of the age. Dandelions are vitamin rich, packed with antioxidants, calcium and support the liver by removing toxins from the bloodstream. It’s like having a terrible tasting ‘cure all’ lurking in your yard.
I suggest you pick the greens from young plants as they’re less bitter. Then you can dice and slice them in to salads, make a tea or coffee (from the dried root) or try the flowers as Dandelion Flower Tempura. These little crunchy, fried tempura flowers are actually very yummy. The coffee substitute from the dried root is also pretty darn good. You can have all this from one plant and at no cost to you. Did you know dandelions are being sold in the leafy green produce section at the grocery store?!
At Edible Landscaping Ottawa we know all too well that the dandelion is not a fave. And if, despite my efforts to frame it as a wonder plant, should you still decide to rid your garden of the dandelion here’s a few suggestions.
- Save your pennies, and the health of your surrounding ecosystem by refraining from reaching for the weed killer, as nothing good will come from using it.
- Instead, allow your grass to grow 3 to 4 inches tall as this will deter the sun-thirsty dandelion from growing.
- Add a well sourced top dressing to supplement your garden, boost the organic matter, nutrients and microbiology to help reduce the presence of the dandelion.
- And if all else fails... eat them!
If you're interested in learning about more edible weed options check out this lovely site - Yankee Holmstead. Kathleen's full of great information!
Thanks for reading!