Planting Overwintered Dandelion

Last year, I selected my favorite Italian Dandelion plants from our market planting. I chose them based on the level of leaf serration, the red stem and green leaf contrast, and vigour.

In fact, I’d actually been eliminating whatever I didn’t like all season long. Whatever was too green, too round leafed, or too marked by disease would get it’s growing tip cut off by the harvest knife as I made bunches for market.

By the end of the season, I was left with a bunch of plants that looked like what I thought Italian Dandelion’s should look like.

(Do note that Italian Dandelions are different from the garden weeds Taraxacum officinale. Italian Dandelions are actually Cichorium intybus  – the chicory species that includes such delicious bitter greens like Radicchio.)

Dandelion Leaves

In the fall, we dug up the roots, trimmed the leaves, and planted them in potting soil in Rubbermaid bins. We stored these bins over the winter in our cold room.

By spring, the roots were starting to sprout blanched leaved in the bins.

 

Dandelion Bin

I took them out to inspect them. All the roots had survived.

Dandelion Roots

We went out to the field and planted away!

Brendan Planting

We planted them one row per bed and one foot spacing per bed. These plants are going to get big.

Dandelion Planted

While we were at it, we also planted out a bunch of different turnips. We’ll let these cross up to create a crazy population that we can select from.

 

Turnips laid out

 

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6 responses to “Planting Overwintered Dandelion

  1. I love that you’re going to create a “crazy population” of crossed-up turnips, can’t wait to see what you get from that 🙂

  2. Hi Daniel, thank you so much for these posts, I really enjoy them. Such a great teaching tool with the pictures etc. Your soil looks great. Do you keep your fields continually mulched and then just plant directly through the mulch? Planning more seed crops this year than ever before, so we will see how it goes with the market crops. Thanks again, Tina DaviesEmmerdale Eden Farm, PEI

    • Hi Tina,
      We only use straw mulch on our garlic patch. That is the mulch you see in the pictures above. We had 1 bed left unplanted in the garlic block last fall so it was a good candidate for overwintered roots this year. In the last couple of years, we’ve been growing much of our seed crop on black plastic since we’d had a hard time keeping on top of the weeds in the seed crops for a few years.

      Good luck with balancing seed and market crops!
      Dan

  3. love these kinds of posts. Great to see people doing selection from mass crosses too 🙂

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