One of the most despised "weeds" in the lawn is the dandelion. All sorts of chemical companies offer ways to get rid of them and get your "perfect" lawn. It's too bad that we seek to eliminate this little flower because they have so many healthy benefits! What is a Dandelion good for? I'm glad you asked!
The Benefits of Dandelions
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are highly nutritious. One cup of dandelion greens chopped up contains 112% of recommended daily value of Vitamin A, 32% Vitamin C, 9% Vitamin E, and 535% Vitamin K. Dandelions contain calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and other elements our bodies need with very low calories. (See NutritionData for more info).
Dandelions grow prolifically and really need very little in the way of help to grow. You really could forage your way to that "perfect" lawn! If you take the dandelions and steep them in water for 24 hours you can pass on that nutrition to your plants through a tea. I make a "weed" tea each year to water my seedlings and throw in some other plants for additional benefits like clover, willow branches, or comfrey. The deep tap root of the dandelion is able to reach minerals that more shallow roots systems can't.
Dandelion roots have even been used as a coffee substitute. The roots are roasted then steeped in hot water. I've never done this so I can't verify that it is a good substitute, since it doesn't have caffeine I'm doubting I could make the switch!
If you really must have the dandelions gone from your lawn try these ideas.
How to Remove Dandelions from the Lawn and Garden
- Gather the dandelion heads to prevent reseeding. This can be a fun game for kids to play.
- Dig out the dandelions individually. Be sure to get the whole tap root. Then eat the leaves fresh or compost it after it is dried out.
- Water the dandelions with boiling water. It may take a few treatments before it is completely dead.
- Don't use chemicals on the whole lawn just to remove a few plants. In fact it would be better to avoid the chemical use all together!
- MOW HIGH! The lawns that have the most weeds are almost always cut improperly. Higher grass crowds out weeds and prevents weed seeds from getting the light they need to germinate.
How to you use your dandelions?
Labels: dandelion, Weeds in the Garden