True Dandelion Greens
A true dandelion, and truly perennial, not the chicory known as "Italian Dandelion.". This strain has been selected for larger, juicier leaves. Easy to grow and pretty much permanent, this can be a reliable source of greens year after year. Dandelions have also been used for hundreds of years as a mild but reliable diuretic, liver tonic, and detoxifier. They are a quintessential medicinal food. 200 seeds
Why grow them instead of picking wild ones? Where I live, "wild" dandelions available for picking are either next to a polluted roadway; visited by dogs; or on a lawn that may also receive pesticides. Having your own clean, food-grade leaves is a good idea. Luckily, the same growing situation that makes the leaves taste best also makes them less likely to reseed and become a problem. Here is how to have a dandelion patch that is a reliable source of food, medicine, and beverages without irking either you or your neighbors:
1) Plant them in the shade. 2) Give them good garden soil and water. Stressed plants will be bitter and bolt to seed. 3) Harvest often. If you don't want to eat the leaves, cut them anyway and use them for mulch, "chop & drop" style. Or dry them for tea, feed to chickens, etc. 4) Cut the incipient flowers before the stalk lengthens. These are like little mini-artichokes, great in stir-fries, etc. Or compost them. But don't let the plant bloom. 5) As the summer goes on and the leaves seem bitter, put a flowerpot over the plant to blanch it for 3 weeks. This is a great addition to fall/winter meals.