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Grow Dandelion – a Wild Weed Super Food Specialty Crop

Growing Dandelions for Food and Health

Don’t Kill ’em… Grow ’em!

Not only are we not interested in getting rid of the dandelions in our yard, we’re actually growing dandelions to eat! That’s right… we PLANTED dandelion plants!

We LOVE dandelion greens!! Just writing this, my mouth is watering and I’m longing for a huge bowl of dandelion salad.

Most people prefer the tender dandelion leaves that are harvested before flowering because they’re less bitter. I love them anyway I can get them. Serve with a little balsamic vinegar, toasted hazelnuts or pine nuts tossed with a little feta crumbled (optional) and man… it’s a taste I never grow tired of.

Besides dandelion green, the entire dandelion plant is edible and medicinal with tremendous health benefits. Dandelions are SUCH an amazing little powerhouse of a plant, we’re seriously thinking about growing them commercially and starting our own dandelion farm. Meanwhile, we’ve got some growing in our hugelkultur beds for the past couple years and have planted new ones this year.

If you’re growing dandelions as a superfood specialty crop, please send us a note. We’d love to chat with you to learn more. We can also add your information and farm name and link to this article.

CAUTION: DANDELION ALLERGIES

People who are allergic to related plants such as ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies, may not be able to enjoy dandelions. Approach with care and caution.1)https://nccih.nih.gov/health/dandelion

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article and website cannot be construed as medical, nutrition or health advice. We are not medical professionals and are only sharing information gleaned from our own experience and research. 

Eat the Weeds!

Chickweeds

Some of our favorite weeds to eat from our yard and the wild areas around us are chickweed and dandelions. We use chickweed in salads and soups and also on sandwiches like sprouts.

Chickweeds are also a good substitute for watercress in our favorite potato leek soup, which is great hot or cold, depending on the time of year and your preferences. We’ll include the link to that recipe in an article about chickweeds here and also at the end of this one as well.

Dandelions to Eat

Dandelion Latin Name: Taraxacum officinale
Dandelion Common Names: Dandelion, Lion’s tooth, Blowball

The other wild edible plant we eat most is dandelion. We especially love dandelion salads with toasted hazelnuts or pine nuts and roasted garlic and balsamic dressing. Here’s that dandelion greens recipe we use most often because it’s a delicious, quick and easy recipe: Dandelion greens salad recipe.

We also use dandelion greens for green juice and the dandelion root tea for detoxing and tonifying the liver.2)https://gardensall.com/food-as-medicine-benefits-of-organic-food-from-the-garden/3)https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/dandelion

From cursed weed to natural cancer cure… don’t kill the mighty dandelion!

Dandelion Nutrition – Taraxacum Officinale

DANDELIONS:

  • Have more vitamin A than spinach
  • Contain more vitamin C than tomatoes
  • Are a powerhouse of iron, calcium and potassium
  • Deliver food and medicine, from root to leaf to flower

We also use dandelion greens for green juice and the dandelion root tea for detoxing and tonifying the liver. #herbs #indoor #outdoor #garden #forbeginners #box #ideas #containers #Design #Layout #DIY #Medicinal #Potted #Patio #Kitchen #Backyard #Apartment #Raised #Planter #Bed #Balcony #Vertical #Tips

 

We enjoy these so much that we actually planted a crop of dandelions (!!) this year in our experimental hugelkultur bed. We have to be patient though because you can’t start harvesting dandelions until the second year.

GARDEN SNIPPET:
Don’t discard the dandelions… eat them! Dandelions offor detox directly from nature’s medicine cabinet.

Dandelion leaf salad
Dandelion greens salad

A Market for Wild Roots and Weeds

Many in the GardensAll and Planting for Retirement communities are interested in earning money from their surplus produce as well as figuring out how to earn a living growing intentional crops for market.

Growing dandelions for profit may just be one good option, IF you also like dandelions. If you’re growing to sell, be sure it’s a crop you also enjoy.

We like the idea of earning money growing and selling these nutrient packed powerhouse of a plant the delivers food and medicine from every part of its being.

Dandelions deliver food and medicine from root to leaf and flower.

The Dandelion Market

In 2014, these were the going rates in the Kentucky market, as published on ProfitsFromNature.com.4)http://www.profitsfromnature.com/may-root-prices-kentucky/ Naturally, prices will fluctuate each season and year, so always check with your local buyers.

Herbs – Price per Dried Pound 

  • Goldenseal  $18.50
    (Note: Most dealers don’t want you to start digging any goldenseal until June because the quality will be better then.)
  • Goldenseal tops $5.00
    (Note: Dried tops must be green in color, not brown. Do not dry in direct sunlight.)
  • Bloodroot $12.50
  • Virginia Snake Root $100.00
  • Star Grub Root $75.00
  • Mayapple $3.50
  • Black Cohosh $3.75
  • Prickly Ash Bark $2.00
  • Dandelion Root $1.00

Naturally, prices will fluctuate each season and year, so always check with your local buyers. #herbs #indoor #outdoor #garden #forbeginners #box #ideas #containers #Design #Layout #DIY #Medicinal #Potted #Patio #Kitchen #Backyard #Apartment #Raised #Planter #Bed #Balcony #Vertical #Tips

Dandelion Greens

  • $2-$4/lb for Fresh Dandelion Greens currently retail from between $2-$4/lb in the NC area grocery stories and sometimes more for organic.
  • $27/lb for Dried Dandelion Leaves – average price in bulk; costs a lot more in tea bags

Naturally, to sell dried dandelion leaves would require a commercial dehydration or freeze drying system, which can be costly. However, if you’re investing in any kind of farming of specialty crops, this would definitely be worth researching.

Plan for Waste

Consider the possibilities of after market and added value products for any crop you plan to grow. If you’re growing elderberries, for instance, consider the prospect of selling frozen elderberries and/or jams and syrups.

To plan for added value products converts possible excess crops and market leftovers into more profitable items.

 Herbs and Weeds for Healthier Consumers

Here’s an excerpt on Yankee Magazine that sums up the marketability and market potential of growing and selling edible weeds.Though this is a bit dated, it gives you an idea of trends.

Recently I read that dandelion greens are selling for $9 a pound at trendy markets. Known in the trade as “yuppie greens,” purslane and lamb’s quarters have become just as desirable.

It seems a very odd time to start charging high end prices for things that grow for free and were, for the most part, a cornerstone of survival for many during the Depression. Though it doesn’t seem like an odd time to start appreciating what grows in our yards and in the near forests. According to your own taste, there is an abundance of food out there that can be had for free.
~Edie Clark, writer, YankeeMagazine.com
5)http://www.yankeemagazine.com/article/marysfarm/foraging

Some people earn money killing dandelions. We’d rather earn by growing them!

Weeds Feed Your Garden Soil

Okanagan Biodiversity Farm

Michael “Skeeter” Pilarski, famous permaculture instructor and wildcrafter, talks about the street value of dandelions and polyculture.

He calls this 0.85 acre plot “edible acres” or “Okanagan Biodiversity Farm”. He grows about a hundred different crops on this plot as a market garden including raspberries and elecampane. And… he grows—and sells—weeds like dandelions!

Michael lets the dandelions go all season, and then he harvests them in the fall and sells them! During the growing season, the dandelions and other weeds feed the surrounding plants.

Dandelions are solar collectors, distributing collected energy to nourish the soil and feed your plants.

Skeeter explains that plants like dandelions are solar collectors and pump half of their collected energy into the soil to feed the web of life which then fertilizes other plants. Weeds also help to keep the soil from getting compacted. Tap-rooted weeds (dandelions have a wonderful tap root) can also bring nutrients up from deep soils.

“Weeds in your pathways will feed your crops. Bare dirt will not feed your crop.”
~Michael “Skeeter” Pilarski, permaculture instructor and wildcrafter

 

Little girl picking dandelion flowers
Nurture children’s natural fascination with nature.

4 Kinds of Weeds in the Garden

Skeeter says there are four kinds of weeds in the garden:

1) real weeds that he doesn’t like
2) weeds he makes money on
3) crops that have spread
4) native plants

Skeeter says there are four kinds of weeds in the garden. #herbs #indoor #outdoor #garden #forbeginners #box #ideas #containers #Design #Layout #DIY #Medicinal #Potted #Patio #Kitchen #Backyard #Apartment #Raised #Planter #Bed #Balcony #Vertical #Tips

Other weeds he likes to encourage includes lambs quarters, red root and malva neglecta (aka common mallow or marsh mallow).

Skeeter likes the tap-rooted weeds, like dandelion, because they don’t spread with rhizomes.

We hope you enjoy this video with permaculturist and wildcrafter, Michael “Skeeter” Pilarski, as much as we did.

$900 for selling your weeds..?! 

(And it’s legal in every state!)

Shared from Paul Wheaton’s Permies.com6)http://permies.com and YouTube channel.7)https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsakAmIBPWSKOQrnuOXIsjA

Benefits of Nutritional Weeds

Dawn Jackson Blatner, a Chicago-based dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association shared in a Wall Street Journal article by Anne Marie Chaker:

“These plants learned how to protect themselves from the sun, the wind, the bugs, and those who eat them are reaping the benefits of that matrix of immune systems. One man’s weed is another man’s wonder food.”
~Dawn Jackson Blatner, dietician8)http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB124338226000356493

“One man’s weed is another man’s wonder food.”

Healthy, edible dandelions
Healthy dandelion greens and flowers for your health.

Dandelions for Curing Cancer

Long used for detox and healing, dandelion is now being studied for healing cancer, with positive results.9)http://reset.me/story/dandelion-root-kills-cancer-cells-in-lab-tests/

Enjoy this Tedx presentation on ‘Nature, the Best Chemist’ by Dr. Siyaram Pandey.

“The best chemist is nature.”

The Best Chemist is Nature

Obviously, cancer is very serious and not something to treat alone. Consult you doctor and doctors working in this area of alternative healing and get informed for intelligent application of the best treatment options for you.

And… we’ll close with this enchanting time lapse video of a dandelion flower’s growth from bud to blossom to seed over a one month period. Enjoy!

Dandelion Uses

  • Flowers for:
    • salads
    • fritters
    • wine
    • tea
  • Leafy green dandelion salad
  • Leaves chopped into:
    • mixed salads
    • green juices
    • soups
    • steamed
    • sautéed 
    • dried for tea
    • dried and powdered for:
      • capsules
      • green juice
      • sprinkled on any foods
  • Roots dried for:
    • tea
    • coffee substitute
    • supplements
    • tinctures
  • Stems for
    • Wart removal
    • Diabetes10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5553762/#ref151

Doses for Dandelion Remedies

The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia recommends the following doses for dandelion, posted in a study on the benefits of dandelion for diabetes :11)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5553762/#ref151

  • Fresh leaves 4-10 g daily
  • Dried leaves 4-10 g daily
  • 2-5 ml of leaf tincture, three times a day
  • Fresh leaf juice, 1 teaspoon twice daily,
  • Fluid extract 1-2 teaspoon daily
  • Fresh roots 2-8 g daily
  • Dried powder extract 250-1000 mg four times a day

 

Dandelion greens salads – here’s a super simple dandelion salad recipe. Or if you want more on dandelion nutrition, you will enjoy this article, which has the salad recipe at the end.

And… as promised, you can find the Potato Leek Soup recipe at the end of this article on edible backyard weeds.

Let’s keep on growing!


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