Gardening

How to plant dandelion

Dandelion is a name given to several plants of the genus Taraxacum , which encompasses many species, the most common being the species Taraxacum officinale . Currently, this species grows spontaneously in various regions of the world’s temperate or subtropical climate, but is generally ignored as food. Vegetables with a bitter taste, their leaves are usually eaten raw, cooked or braised. Its flowers and roots can also be eaten raw or cooked. Its roots, leaves and flowers are also used as ingredients in the production of some alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, including some types of beer. Roasted and ground, the roots can be used as a coffee substitute. The plant is also used as a medicinal herb.

Many species of dandelion are edible and the latex extracted from some species can be used for the production of natural rubber.

Climate

Dandelion grows best in temperate or subtropical climates, and can withstand very low temperatures, although it loses all leaves.

Brightness

It can be grown in direct sunlight or in partial shade.

Ground

It can be grown in almost any type of soil, but grows better if the soil is well drained, deep, fertile and rich in organic matter. The plant is also quite tolerant of soil pH, but a pH between 5 and 6.8 is recommended.

Irrigation

Irrigate in order to keep the soil always moist, without being soaked.

Planting

Preferably sow at the final location of the garden. If sown in seedbeds and other containers, transplantation should be done as soon as the seedlings can be handled. The seeds must remain on the surface of the soil or can be covered only by a light layer of sieved soil or sawdust. Germination can take anywhere from five days to three weeks.

Although less common, dandelion can also be propagated using pieces of root.

The spacing between the plants can be 35 cm. The dandelion can be planted in pots, but they must be at least 30 cm high for the plant to grow reasonably, as the primary root of this plant grows a lot, and can exceed 1 m in depth when grown in the soil.

Cultivation

Remove invasive plants that are competing for resources and nutrients.

Dandelion is an invasive plant that can cause problems in some crops. To keep your plants under control, the flowers must always be harvested, preventing the cypselas with the papi from being formed (the dried fruits with the “parachutes”, containing one seed each). If seeds are needed, harvest as soon as they are formed. Cypselas are easily dispersed by the wind when they are ripe.

Although it is considered an invasive plant, common in gardens, plantations and pastures, in some cases its presence can be beneficial, since it can be a good companion plant for other crops, and can serve as food for both humans and animals.

To make them less bitter, the leaves can be bleached, covering the plant with a bucket or other totally opaque container, thus preventing the plant from receiving light.

Harvest

It is generally recommended that the leaves begin to be harvested at 90 days, but younger plant leaves are less bitter.

The more developed leaves, being more bitter, can be eaten in cooked, sauteed, roasted or fried dishes. The newer leaves are slightly less bitter and are more tender, and can be eaten raw in salads. Bleached (stiolate) leaves are harvested when they are yellow-white in color. The flowers can be harvested and frozen until they reach the required amount or they can be used mixed with the leaves. The roots can be harvested after approximately one year.

Wild plants are also edible, although they are usually more bitter than those grown. However, care must be taken not to harvest plants contaminated with pesticides or other toxic substances.

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