How to Grow Dandelion:
Dandelion is a plant that is slightly bitter in taste, yet is very edible and provides a taste of spring. Both the root and flower are very edible and safe to eat and cook into other, already-existing dishes that you already make for added flavor and tang. Dandelion can be grown outside in the garden or in pots in the house, either way they provide a great herb and a great, tangy tool for cooking with and adding unique flavors to already-existing dishes.
Dandelions are considered a non-invasive weed and are according to the Department of Agriculture they are a plant hardiness of a level 3 which means they endure many conditions far as weather and climate very well and still grow well.
Seed Sowing Depth: Each plant should be provided at least 6" of soil with in which they will grow and that is for a single dandelion plant. Each seed should be planted about 1/16 of an inch under the top layer of the soil. In most cases the best practice is to surface sow however.
When to Sow: Dandelions can be sown indoors any time of year in a pot of varying sizes depending on how many plants are there as to how much room they will need. Plants being grown outside should be planted after the last hard frost for a harvest in early summer (June) and another in mid-September. All flowers must be harvested by first frost to ensure they are healthy as possible. April to September are ideal months and climates for dandelions to be grown during and the average crop can be harvested about two (2) times during this period.
Sowing Indoors/Outdoors: Dandelion will do well either inside or outside. Either way, the plant will need adequate room to grow. Either way each plant will need about 1 1/2 inches between each plant and will need about 6" deep of soil to grow adequately whether inside or outside. Growing plants inside will require one to obtain wider pots if they wish to grow more than one dandelion plant in each pot. Outside, spreading plants adequately is vital to avoid overcrowding.
Plant Height & Width: Each dandelion will be between 5 and 40 cm tall depending on the variety of dandelion being grown. They are also resilient plants that grow just about anywhere from gardens to roadsides to meadows and back again. Some may consider them a "weed", but their greens can have many health benefits and are use for cooking and medicinal purposes throughout the entire world.
Leafs Color & Description: Dandelions are tall, skinny plants with either yellow or white flowers on the end depending on the variety being grown. The leaves are long and thin, lush green color and are sharply circular in shape with sharp pieces protruding in a jagged pattern, yet they are soft leafs and do not poke when being picked.
Growth Habits: Dandelions grow rapidly until they are about 5 to 40 cm tall and 4 cm wide depending on the variety of plant being grown. Dandelions grow with symmetrical heads that are scarily equal on both sides. The basal teeth provide long, lobed leaves that provide the plant with more of a symmetrical look than most other flowers out there.
General Info on Dandelions & Uses: Dandelion has a variety of uses including an ability to treat many illnesses including loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises to name a few conditions that are treated with dandelion. Dandelion also increases urine production and can be used in vast quantities as a laxative to produce extra bowel movements. It also serves as a blood tonic, skin toner, and digestive tonic. Dandelion is also shown to decrease swelling.
Beside it's medicinal effects the dandelion is used for cooking in many dishes and cultures including the dandelion greens which are often a popular vegetable as a side-dish to a meal. Dandelion greens can be mixed with a variety of spices to provide varying tastes with a variety of health benefits that come with them. Sometimes something simple as mixing dandelion greens with salt and pepper make a tasty side when sauteed with other foods that are being served for a meal.
Many dandelion roots also make great side dishes to other main meal courses.
Many other people view the dandelion as nothing more than a nuisance that needs to be removed from their lawn. In that case, cut grass about 3/4 inch long and leave the dandelions inadequate room to grow when they are overgrowing the lawn and causing problems where they do not belong. Dandelions are weeds and while great in gardens and in purposes for food they can also be a pain when growing in places where you had no intentions of them growing in the first place.
Pests & Diseases in Dandelions: Dandelions are quite resilient plants and are not subject to too many different issues. Most dandelions can grow in virtually every season and are pretty resilient to every temperature including sometimes frosts. Dandelions are, in reality, a form of "weeds" that grow in a variety of conditions and can grow out of control if they are not controlled as seeds are germinated and moved just by the wind blowing them from one plant to another that is able to grow in similar conditions in a proximal area.
While the most dandelions grow in the spring, they can germinate in any season and in a variety of temperatures including hot weather and cooler weather alike. Many will re-flower in the fall after the initial blooming period is over. Each plant will grow for 5-10 years and can reach quite a decent size when their growth cycle is uninterrupted.
Harvesting & Storage Information: Dandelions can be harvested as anything from a diuretic to something that helps make wines and anything in between. Dandelions, however, are a relatively mild laxative compared to other over-the-counter or doctor prescription medications and are able to be used for those who prefer a more natural approach to medicinal bowel relief.
To store your dandelion greens clip the leafs from the dandelions and store them in a cool, dry atmosphere airtight bags or containers to keep them fresh longer. These greens can also be stored in the fridge for several days and up to 2 weeks to keep them "fresh" for purposes like creating salads and other fresh vegetable delights. For more preserved leafs that will last up to a month cook or saute them lightly on the stove top and mix them with some spices and other greens to make a great mixture of vegetables that can be served alongside carbohydrate and meat dishes to complete meal and provide many great nutrients and nutritional benefits that otherwise might be completely missed.
Many various dandelion greens have a bitter taste to them which can be softened by other spices that are added to them through salads or even when sauteing them. Balancing the flavors with other great choices like lemon or lime and providing dressings and salt/pepper as a topping can help make dandelion greens taste great while you enjoy all of the awesome health benefits that the plant has to offer.