If you eat it, it’s not a weed

Dandelion greens ready to be picked from a yard

Dandelion greens ready to be picked from a yard

When I was growing up I was taught to believe that weeds were particular plants, like crabgrass or dandelions. Now I know better. Weeds are simply things that are growing where you don’t want them. Therefore one way to get rid of weeds is to change your attitude. “Well, nothing else grows there easily, at least the crabgrass is green.”

Or “Hey look, free greens for my salad, right in the middle of my lawn.” Now I’ll be the first to admit that dandelions are not the tastiest of salad greens, but they are not too bad either and the price is hard to beat.

As a kid, another thing I was told about dandelions when I was sent out to dig them up from the grass was that I had better be sure to get the whole taproot or it would just grow back again. Anyone who has tried to do this knows it is very hard to get that whole taproot to come up with the rest of the plant. Even with a special weeding tool, I never seemed to get the whole taproot.

Here I pulled up harvested some dandelions that were growing in a raised bed. Because the soil in the raised bed is loose, it was easy to pull up the whole taproot. I was surprised at how long they can be. No wonder I couldn’t get them out of hard compacted soil. Below you can see that the taproot is longer than the leaves.

A very long dandelion taproot

A very long dandelion taproot

Edited to add: Another advantage of pulling the dandelions out with the taproots intact is that they won’t wilt as fast. So if you leave them lying in the kitchen until after you finish eating dinner, hanging laundry, blogging, etc. they can still be washed and put away in the fridge.

Also check out these articles on the value of dandelions: The dandelion is a healthful, great tasting weed you can eat 

Eating Dandelions

It appears that now is the time to pick them, and they are best before they flower. Though the ones that I picked were not that bitter whether they had flowered or not.

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