Don’t Spray Your Dandelions! Yes, Dandelions are robust, vigorous plants that often grow where you don’t want them to, but these guys are not the garden enemy they are being portrayed to be! Not only do these indicator plants not harm you or your garden in any way, they are highly beneficial if you let them be. In this article, I’ll show you 6 benefits of Dandelions that can be used in your garden year-round to benefit not only the health of your other crops but you as well!
While I’ve long tolerated the invasion of dandelions into my growing spaces, some of my peers have not been so hospitable. To show you how messed up the mentality is over this one plant let’s take a trip to the store.
The dislike and disdain for dandelions are so great, people are willing to actually douse their gardens with chemicals to eradicate them.
Hopefully, this isn’t any of you my fellow growers but your perspective might not be far off, but let’s try and change that today. Humor me for the next few minutes or so while I give you six ways to use dandelions in your garden that may just surprise you.
Hey, trust me I know that these guys can be a nuisance, couple that with the fact that they can spread like wildfire especially if you have little dandelion gremlins spreading the seeds around everywhere every summer.
But any plant growing where you don’t want it is a weed. So the trick with dandelions is not to worry about what they’re doing to your garden but focus on what they can do for you and your garden.
6 Benefits Of Dandelions In Your Garden
1. You can eat Dandelions
The whole plant is edible from the soft tender leaves that can be eaten raw to the long tap roots that you can make teas and powders out of.
Raw dandelions are incredibly nutritious containing high amounts of vitamins A, C, and K as well as calcium, potassium, iron, and manganese.
Even the flours are edible, raw, or cooked. Truly an amazing plant often overlooked, especially in North America.
2. Pollinator magnets
Despite it being winter and these guys being exclusively wind-pollinated right now, dandelions are actually at the top of their class in attracting pollinators.
The majority of our flowering crops need to be pollinated to produce and a good portion of those need help with that beyond gravity, wind, and self-pollination.
Having large robust flowering plants in your garden is going to attract all those beneficial insects and other animals.
A healthy garden is full of life and pollinators are an overwhelming portion of that bioactivity. Honestly, I’ve never seen a healthy functioning garden without a wealth of buzzing going on.
3. Use Dandelions as a cover crop
Here’s a big one that’s often overlooked and that’s using dandelions as a cover crop. The worst thing for a garden through the perils of winter is to be bare and exposed.
Dormancy is good for your raised beds and plots. It allows the soil to recharge and catch its breath after all that summer bounty, even better is growing a cover crop to protect that soil from exposure, frost heaving, compaction, and flooding.
Dandelions with their large taproot and spreading leaf canopy are highly effective at protecting your soils. All winter long no matter what the season throws at it.
4. You can get amazing mulch for free from Dandelions
One of the obvious benefits of dandelions during the active growing season is that of a green mulch. The leaves are not only highly nutritious for us but also for our crops.
Chop and drop your dandelions right in place or use the shredded leaves in and around the garden for the ultimate mulch.
But what do you do if all your beds are mulched and you’ve got excess dandelions to deal with? Easy you just compost them.
5. Compost Accelerator
Dandelions nutrient and mineral-rich shoots and roots are a boost to any compost pile.
However, if you use your compost like me but you want to prevent the spread of dandelions all around your garden then you need to avoid putting in the mature seed heads for this. As well turn your compost on a regular basis to smother the cut plants from re-sprouting.
6. Fabulous Fertilizer
And lastly, the main benefit that I’ve been getting out of dandelions for the last 10 years in my garden is to make fertilizer out of them. Not just any fertilizer but a super organic liquid booster that’s superior to anything you’d ever buy at the store.
You see dandelions are so successful at life because of their ability to out-compete other plants for nutrients. They can extract food where other plants cannot.
Through that massive taproot of theirs, they can extract and store an incredible amount of nutrients, more so than any average plant. This makes them one of the most powerful dynamic bio accumulators that we have access to.
Applied to our gardens this boost can produce unreal results, superior to store-bought chemicals and synthetics.
The process is super simple. Let me show you how: To extract the maximum nutrition from your dandelion plants we need to ferment them. Place as much of the whole plant as you can in a sturdy bucket, cram it all in, really pack it down.
Fill the bucket with fresh water. I use rainwater and pop a lid on. It’s best done in the heat of summer as the higher temperatures really speed up the process but if you’re patient you can do it really at any time.
I leave mine in the bucket for a minimum of two months, once you’re confident you’ve broken down as much of the dandelions as possible then strain off the remaining plant parts and you’re left with liquid gold.
It can be used at a variety of strengths but I tend to cut mine down by three quarters with fresh water. So I use one part of it with three parts rainwater.
Topwater it into your garden liberally all season long and watch your crops explode, truly!
Dandelions are a robust plant. No doubt they can be brats not only growing in places that we just don’t want them. But if we can work with them and share space with this amazing plant our gardens will be far better off they really will.
Hey, thanks so much for reading guys. I appreciate the support more than you know and if you’re getting value from this article please share them to spread the word and help your fellow gardener to grow better. Happy Gardening!