Friday, April 27, 2007

On Dandelions

I have a confession to make which probably does away with any pretence I might otherwise have to being a gardener – I’m incapable of growing dandelions. I’ve tried collecting seeds, taking root cuttings, but nothing comes up.

Those of you who curse regularly as you attempt to root them out of your gardens rather than into them probably wish you had the same knack – or lack of it. But I like them. Some time ago I posted a list of gardening quotes and, of all of them, my favourite was :

If dandelions were hard to grow, they would be most welcome on any lawn. (Andrew Mason)

But on my lawn they would be welcome anyway. I think they’re pretty and I like eating them, and I was hoping to grow a few so as to get the young leaves.

I’m not the only one though.
Snappy has been blogging about them a lot in the past month or so, and has been making dandelion wine – follow the link then scroll down for the recipe and other dandelion posts. And my calendar this month is dedicated to them.

Dandelions, according to the calendar, are great for liver and gall problems, and full of vitamins and iron. The calendar doesn't mention dandelion wine (which I imagine would rather destroy the point about it being good for your liver, but never mind) but suggests eating the young leaves in salads, cooking the root as a vegetable, using the dried leaves to make tea, adding the leaves to pizza, juicing them together with fruit, or even drying the root and making coffee out of it. This one intrigued me as it brought back vague memories of my mother saying they'd drunk it during the war, so I followed it up on the net and found lots of people giving recipes and describing how to make it. And people selling it. This is
the search page if you’re interested.


David (Snappy) said...

Do you think you can grow Dandelions as a crop for making wine?Fran asked me that question.Do you know if they have ever been cultivated as a crop?
I will try now as an experiment to use the Dandelion seed heads as a source to see if i can make them germinate.Its funny how they grow in grass, wasteland, even building sites..Your balcony must be awsh with colours.I have an indoor greenhouse lol, not even any place to put pots outside.It is used as a car park.I can emulate you i hope and grow many beautiful flowers!

Sue Swift said...

Your question interested me so I googled "cultivated dandelions" - try it! And I also found growing instructions on Garden Web :

Anonymous said...

Hey Sue, you are the first person I know who wants to grow dandelions! Here, all you have to do is blow on the seed head, and they fly far and wide.

Johnny jumps ups are much smaller than pansies, but I think you are right about the colors, they do seem to cross pollinate with regular pansies.

I have been looking over your blogs, and what an interesting life you have! Stop in my blog anytime!

RivahGal said...

We just named our place Dandelion Farm. :) I went out one day to dig out some dandelions on our property, as I don't use chemicals, and saw a honeybee on the first dandelion that I approached. Knowing that honeybees are somehat rare, I decided to leave the dandelions alone. I did some research and learned that honeybees and dandelions emerge at about the same time so maybe that is part of the reason for the decine of the honeybees...their source of food killed or poisoned.

I enjoyed your post and look forard to reading more of them.


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