Dandelion


I can’t say what it is about weeds that l have always loved? Perhaps it is quite simply because they are misunderstood like some animal species. Whatever your opinion or view is on weeds, they are everywhere, and they are here to stay.

Twenty-five years ago, l used to forage for weeds to feed the enormous number of rabbits l had in my commercial breeding operation. Knowing about them made everything easier because it meant that l wouldn’t accidentally kill an animal by feeding the wrong weed.

Most weeds are harmless, not all. Of course, some are and can be deadly. The fact is that people don’t like weeds because they don’t belong where they usually appear or are out of place. Many a time, gardeners especially don’t want them because weeds tend to grow quicker and easier than many ornamental flowers.

Weeds have a way of surviving. They are ONLY considered weeds on the domestic level because, let’s be honest, when we are out walking in the countryside, how many people are bothered by the presence of weeds then?

There are advantages and disadvantages to having weeds in your gardens and yards. They do have a lot of benefits that many people tend to ignore, and this series will highlight that.
The Beauty of Weeds

Companion Plantings
Shelter
Encouraging wildlife
Fertilising and enriching the soils
Providing and active Mulch/Soil protection
Attracting pollinators and good insects
Repelling pests
Food source for animals and humans
Serves as decoy crops
Great for wildlifing the garden
Soil conditioning

Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale

“I have lost my smile, but don’t worry. The dandelion has it..”

Nhat Hanh




Many gardeners detest dandelions with the same passion as slugs and snails, which has always confused me, especially as this ‘weed’ has many uses.

Many composters state that weeds like dandelions should not be added to the heap, and again l disagree.

A heated pile will kill off most things, including many weeds. However, to be double sure, dehead them and cut off the roots first before adding them; otherwise, they will regrow and live up to that lovely quote … ‘A weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place.’

You can eat dandelions – you can eat the young leaves like a salad, and they are similar to that of a rocket type of spinach, or you can boil the young leaves and treat them exactly like spinach – they can be quite tangy.

The flower can be used to make dandelion wine. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, and bees love them too. Also, the root can be used as a substitute for coffee if you roast it. But also as a tea… Dandelion Tea.

Also, you can make a natural yellow dye out of this plant.

For gardeners, you can make the notorious ‘Weed Tea. ‘

There are many other uses, like rabbit and guinea pig snacks [wash them first], and l remember when l kept chickens, they were rather partial to a treat or two too! When of course, they weren’t field stripping everything else!

I used to very deliberately have patches of dandelions growing in pots around the garden as they are so rich in both pollen and nectar and the pollinators love them. We should all do what we can to help the bees, butterflies, and others.

Gardeners spend so much time trying to obliterate the weeds from their gardens, and yet if they just left wild patches on their lawns for the friendly bugs instead of hoeing them out of spraying who knows what on them for the sake of the perfect property and the so-called ‘beautiful flowers’ they would be doing more for the benefits of wildlife than they might think. Many of the ‘pretty flowers’ gardeners purchase every year don’t provide enough of a feast to our pollinators.

Dandelions may not be the first food for bees, but they are still an excellent source for pollinators when other pollens and nectars are scarce. A lawn with weeds is still way better than a lawn without.

The following links – 

 Dandelion Benefits | Holland & Barrett (hollandandbarrett.com) 

But also as a tea… Dandelion Tea

For gardeners, you can make the notorious ‘Weed Tea. ‘

 – are well worth a read also

Hope you enjoyed D for Dandelions and l’ll see you again soon in the series.

The Autistic Composter


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Published by The Autistic Composter

Howdy Folks, Earthly Comforts is a broad niche wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, also known as ‘worm farming and photography too.

18 thoughts on “Dandelion

  1. Nice article, Rory! Thanks. I enjoy seeing their happy little heads peeking through the grass, too. 😊 I’ve never eaten them in salad, only cooked. Come to think of it, we never had salad when I was growing up, only the individual vegetables that are normally eaten raw – whatever was in season at the time. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your response made me think to my first salad Betty, and l think it might have been in Malaysia when l was around six, my next ones were ironically in the UK and not Australia where one might have thought due to the warmer weather.

      Of course then l became a qualified salad chef, so l could make them to my heart’s content when older.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s interesting, Rory. I had forgotten you were a salad chef. I do hope it is not one of the foods that give your digestion trouble.

        I have loved salad since I ate my first one at my Mother-In-Law’s table. I served them to my children as they were growing up and so all of them love salads, too. I think they are the most nourishing of dishes and often make a wonderful meal for me just on their own.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hey Betty, my days of being a chef for anything are a thing of the past currently. Salads and l parted company sadly too l add, back in 2017.

        However, Suze and l think we may have hit a turning point, l have taken so many ingredients out of my diet that we think we have identified the last two aggressors which was chicken and a particular cracker l had, typical. Now my diet has shrunk again, but we are able to introduce old ingredients again.

        So who knows maybe salads will make a re-entrance 🙂

        Like

  2. I am not a dandelion eater 🤷‍♀️ but I am picky eater

    I have dandelion(s) maybe in my yard – but I have not done my lawn in awhile

    It does not look beautiful currently

    Liked by 1 person

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