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I’m Charlie Nardozzi and this is
the Vermont Garden Journal. Peter Campion called it "the flower that is a
weed that is a flower". We call it the dandelion. Dandelions are one of
the most maligned flowers in our yard and they shouldn’t be. They have a rich
history in Europe as a medical and edible plant stretching back to the 11th
century.  The name derives from the
French "dent de lion" or tooth of the lion referring to the serrated

When the Mayflower landed in North America, there were no dandelions.
Blame it on the pilgrims who brought them here for good
reason. Dandelions are rich in calcium, potassium, vitamins A and C.  A serving of dandelion greens has as much
calcium as half a cup of milk. You can also make wine from the flowers and
roast the roots as a coffee substitute.

So if I’ve convinced you to
consider seeing dandelions in a new light, try growing some in your garden.  Cultivated varieties are better than wild ones
because they feature tall, easy to cut leaves with a more delicate flavor. Grow
them as you would other greens using young leaves in salad mixes. To remove
some of the bitterness, eat them cooked, or blanch plants by covering the
dandelions in the garden a few days before harvest.

But if you just want to rid your
lawn of dandelions, here’s some organic control ideas. Dig dandelions before
they flower, removing as much of the taproot as possible. Keep your lawn thick
and lush so those white fluffy seeds can’t get established. Spot treat plants
with an acetic acid herbicide, such as Burnout II.

Now for this week’s tip, the
forsythia are starting to bloom and you know what that means? It’s time to
spread corn gluten, pre-emergent herbicide on lawns to kill crabgrass seed as
it germinates.   

Oh by the way, when applied in
early summer, corn gluten also kills sprouting dandelion seedlings.

Next week on 
the Vermont Garden Journal, I’ll be talking about plants for mom. For now, I’ll
be seeing you in the garden!




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