sepeters
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dandelion greens

Good morning!
I am at a point where my winter greens have all bolted (not going to seed just yet, flowers barely opened) and my spring/summer greens are still too immature to harvest. :roll:

There is a large patch of dandelions growing in the alley out from under a neighbor's fence that is looking pretty good right about now! :lol: I've been giving them the ocassional can of water and even gave them a healthy dose of fish emulsion once. They're getting down right huge now and are starting to bud, but have not yet flowered.

I have never intentionally grown dandelions and don't know what I am doing. Can I eat any old kind of dandelion green, or only specific kinds? I don't want to poison my family! :shock: Do I need to pick the greens before they flower? Should I be doing anything special to care for these plants?

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!potatoes!
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the earlier in the season, the better, for dandelion greens. the only way they would poison anyone is if there was poison on them. what's more likely is being unpleasantly bitter.

i would also try to be really sure it's dandelion, and not a chicory or something that hasn't flowered...

before the flowers open is great time to harvest little 'brocollettes' from your brassica greens, btw.

sepeters
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Thank you !potatoes!
I will be sure to double check that they are dandelions, and probably eat a few before preparing to make sure they're not super bitter.

Unfortunately the brassicas are long gone. We planted ours in late summer and harvested throughout winter. The last side shoot was gobbled up in early Feb. and I then proceeded to eat all the leaves of the broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Then I even ate the broccoli and cauliflower stems as slaws. I did leave one cauliflower and one broccoli to flower, but they were pulled last week to turn the bed because the summer squash and cukes are forming buds and needed to be planted...if I had the room I could grow the broccoli in the spring, too.

We have a very unusual growing schedule in these parts. The chard is still going strong, but I harvest it so much it never really gets big. This girl loves her greens and gets impatient waiting! :wink:

MObeek
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If you're brave enough to try unusual plants, may I suggest growing Moringa Oleifera trees? You don't have to let them grow tall. You can harvest the leaves several times. See the link below.

The leaves and pods have lots of nutrients, vitamins and minerals in them. And since you don't seem to have cold winters, you just might be able to grow them as a perennial instead of an annual tree.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=har ... ORM=NVPFVR

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PunkRotten
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There is a few other plants that look like Dandelion. Look it up, there are some sites that do a comparison. The whole plant is edible. But it is best to eat the leaves when they are young and tender. You can make tea with its taproot but takes about 2 seasons for them to get a nice one.

sepeters
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Location: AZ, zone 9

Thanks guys! Great advice, all the way around!

I did some research, and apparently there are quite a few mock dandelion plants and look-a-likes! The plants had begun to bloom by the time I had done enough comparisons to decide they were most likely dandelions, and definitely not something I shouldn't be munching on.

Because everyone warned about the bitterness, I watered them twice a day for two days and picked them early in the morning, going for the tender leaves. They were not noticeably more bitter than the gourmet dandelion greens I often buy at the grocery store, but I did cook them, so it's kind of hard to tell. They were tiny compared to the cultivated ones, though I don't think the larger leaves of wild dandelions would be very good.

I'm always looking for greens that will stand up to the summers here and I think this is a good option for me. I purchased a packet of Italian red rib dandelion seeds and am hoping I will not regret it! They are supposedly not as invasive as wild dandelions. We'll see! :wink:

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!potatoes!
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the ones you buy at the store / buy seeds for are actually a kind of chickory, not true dandelions at all. they do taste and act different.

Bobberman
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I like the flowers and so does my rabbit.
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

valley
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Chicory is dandelion to me. If it is dandelion you can eat it. Some types are bigger than others. I have a couple types growing but when I weed the beds if I get a goodly amount I'll cook them, wonderful with olive oil and vinegar.

richard

sepeters
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Despite what the produce manager at my market says, I knew I could not be the only one eating dandelions!

Thanks, Bobberman, the flowers are tasty! :o

I was under the impression that dandelions, like endive, were members of the chicory family. I am often under-informed, and sometimes plain ol' wrong. This could be one of those times, but I thought I read that while I was looking for dandelion seeds to buy.

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