Five Reasons To Let Dandelions Grow In Your Garden

Dandelions

Almost everyone will have seen dandelions in their garden. This common plant is often viewed as a weed, and pops up almost everywhere – in our lawns and driveways. But rather than viewing this as a problem, we should begin to see this as a boon. As organic gardeners, dandelions can be a great addition, to be welcomed into our space. Here are five reasons to let dandelions grow in your garden:




dandelion leaves saladTo Eat the Leaves


Dandelion leaves are rich in vitamins K, A and C, as well as containing a good amount of fibre. They also contain small amounts of B vitamins, and trace minerals which are beneficial to our health. The leaves can be bitter, especially when they get older, but the young leaves can be a great addition to a mixed salad, where the slight bitterness they provide can be a benefit to the overall flavour of the dish.


Dandelion fritters

To Eat the Flowers


You can also eat the flowers of a dandelion. Unlike the leaves, the flower petals are not bitter but rather, when all the green material is removed, have a slightly sweet taste. One popular way to use the flower petals is in honeyed fritters. You can also add flavour and colour to a salad by sprinkling it with some of the glorious yellow petals.



Dandelion rootsTo Use the Roots


Dandelion roots are also edible, raw or cooked, with a slightly bitter, turnip-like flavour. The roots, as well as leaves are sometimes used to make drinks like dandelion and burdock, or herbal beers, while it is said you can also dry and roast roots to make a good, caffeine-free, coffee substitute.


Dandelion rootsTo Gather Nutrients


In addition to being valuable to use for all its edible uses, the dandelion can also be beneficial in maintaining the natural cycles in an organic garden. The dandelion is what is known as a dynamic accumulator. Its deep tap root can mine and gather nutrients from far below the soil surface. By chopping and dropping dandelions where they grew, we can return those nutrients to the topsoil for the use of other nearby plants. We can also gather those nutrients and use them to add fertility to a different growing area by adding dandelions to our compost heaps, or using them to make a liquid plant feed, before they go to seed.



bee dandelionTo Attract Wildlife


Another reason to allow some dandelions a space in your garden is that they can be valuable in attracting beneficial insects and other wildlife to your garden. The dandelion is useful for pollinators, which we rely on as gardeners to pollinate our edible crops. A wide range of creatures depend on dandelions, which are a prolific source of sustenance throughout the year. Let some go to seed – birds such as goldfinches and house sparrows eat the seed. Leave the dandelions be and you will soon be rewarded by seeing all the wildlife that interacts with this wonderful 'weed'.

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