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5 Reasons Why You Should Grow Dandelions

5 Reasons Why You Should Grow Dandelions

You might ask, why would anyone voluntarily grow dandelions? Aren’t they just weeds that will invade your lawn? In fact, dandelions are full of nutrition, are used as a natural remedy, and are beneficial for the environment. Back before having a lush green lawn was a thing, gardeners actively cultivated dandelions and would pull up grass to make room for the little golden flowers and their nutritious leaves, nowadays it has been reversed. Let’s explore some of the many benefits of growing dandelions.

Dandelions Are Edible Nutrition

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Common Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are completely edible from root to flower and packed with vitamins and minerals! Dandelions have more vitamin A than spinach and broccoli, and more vitamin C than tomatoes. That’s one reason dandelions were used as a common treatment for scurvy before vitamin supplements became commonly available. (Another is how easy they are to grow.) They also contain high levels of vitamins B and D and minerals, like iron, potassium, and zinc.

The entirety of the dandelion plant has culinary uses as well. The leaves have a slightly bitter taste that works great in salads. You can also add them to a smoothie to amp up the nutrition. Dried and roasted dandelion root can be brewed into a caffeine-free beverage that can be used in place of coffee (but with similar benefits). Dandelion flowers can be brewed into tea, infused into oil or vinegar, or used to make jelly.

Dandelions Are Nature’s Medicine

The dandelion has been used for centuries as a natural medicine. It is most commonly used as a gentle diuretic that can help health conditions where removing excess fluid from the body is beneficial. This would include liver disease, kidney disease, and high blood pressure. The leaves have properties that help stimulate appetite and aid digestion. Dandelion flowers have antioxidant properties that can help boost the immune system.

It is rather staggering the number of possible medicinal uses for the dandelion plant. Studies have shown it to help reduce inflammation, reduce cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, lowering blood pressure, aid weight loss, and even reduce cancer risk.

Dandelions Are Beneficial To The Soil

dandelion plant

The common name “dandelion” comes from the French “Dent de Lion” meaning “tooth of the lion” which refers to the shape of the plant’s leaves. In China, the plant is called “Pu Gong Ying” – or “earth nail” – due to its long tap root. That long tap root makes dandelions very hardy in almost any environment, helping out your lawn and garden by loosening the soil that’s too compacted. They help prevent erosion and the deep root pulls calcium and other nutrients up to the surface making those nutrients available to surrounding plants.

Dandelions Are Important for Pollinators

Because of their quick growth and early blooming season, dandelions are some of the first food available to bees and other pollinators in the Spring. They provide nectar to over 100 species of insects and dandelion seeds provide food for over 30 species of birds and other wildlife. The presence of dandelions helps to attract bees, butterflies, birds, and other pollinators that are vital for crop production.

If you still think dandelions should be removed from your lawn, don’t use chemical warfare as your first resort! There are herbicide-free, wildlife-friendly ways to eliminate them that won’t harm the friendly pollinators that help your garden thrive. The easiest way to get rid of dandelions is to pull them up by the root. There are some handy garden tools that make pulling dandelions up even easier, so don’t be intimidated. When you’re done, you’ll be able to use the plant as tea or a leafy green, which wouldn’t be the case if you tackled them with herbicide. Another unconventional approach to dandelion maintenance is allowing your grass or other plants to grow taller than the dandelions and shade them out.

Dandelions Are Easy To Grow

If you are looking for a valuable herb to add to your survival garden, don’t listen to the haters. Dandelions are a fantastic option, partly because they’re so easy to grow. They thrive under a variety of conditions with very little maintenance. All they require is some sun and soil.

To grow dandelions from seed, sow the seeds in loose, well-drained soil about 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost. While dandelions love sunshine and need at least 6 hours a day of sunlight, if you are growing them to eat the leaves, you should choose a partially shaded spot so they will grow slower and the greens will be sweeter. Thin the seedlings to about 6 inches apart to prevent overcrowding. Soil should be kept moist. Mulching is not necessary – in fact, mulch can block the sunshine the plants need to thrive.

You might have been surprised to see us selling dandelion seeds in our shop. We understand where that comes from, but it’s time to embrace the humble dandelion – especially if you’re a survival gardener – and reap its culinary, medicinal, and environmental benefits. Dandelions have played an important part in natural medicine and play a vital part in our ecosystem today. Plus, no matter what planting zone you live in, you can successfully grow this survival superhero plant!

Dandelion greens and Jelly