Community Nature in Andover

Why Dandelion’s are more than just a weed

Local Andover Gardener, Michael Parker, has shared the importance of Dandelions in our garden and how they can benefit us health wise.

Hello, I’m a Dandelion. A lot of people call me a weed but I’m a friend and come to help you!

When you see me, remember that I’m the ONLY one who wants and can grow in that particular spot. Because:.

Either the soil is too compact / hard / stomped and I want to loosen it for you with my roots..

Or there is too little calcium in the soil – don’t worry, I will replenish that for you with the dying of my leaves..

Or the soil is too acidic. But I will also improve that for you if you give me the chance.

Or a mixture of the above reasons, of course.

I’m here because your soil needs my help so best you let me grow without disturbing me! When everything is fixed, I will disappear again, I promise!

Are you trying to remove me prematurely with my root? However meticulous you are, I will return 2x as strong! Just until your soil is improved.

You can even tell by my growth at which stage my help is at. If my leaves are flat on the ground then I’m far from ready but if they all reach up then I’m already a long way on my way.

Something completely different is that I am 1 of the first bloomers in spring so I will announce spring / summer for you.

During the day when it’s hot, I open my flowers but in the evening when it cools off I close them again quickly. In fact, if it’s not hot enough during the day I won’t open them at all!

My flowers are the first food for insects after hibernation and unlike most other plants, I have pollen AND nectar, not merely one OR the other! And I am generous with them!

My flowers are even delicious for you people by the way, did you know? I used to be called ′′honey (or gold) of the poor′′ because my flowers are so sweet in e.g. jam, sauce or salad! The internet is full of recipes – check them out. But wait until the end of May or later before you start picking and even then, don’t pick everything yet! The biodiversity and bees will be very grateful!

And lastly: do you see me standing but instead of yellow petals I have a dandelion clock of fluff? Then make a wish….. and blow hard….. I’ll try to make your wish come true!

Your friend, the dandelion!

By Paula kok-de boer

Steve Butler-Hart a member of the Andover Community Garden and allotment page shared, “Dandelion greens can be eaten cooked or raw and serve as an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. They also contain vitamin E, folate and small amounts of other B vitamins (1). What’s more, dandelion greens provide a substantial amount of several minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium (1). The root of the dandelion is rich in the carbohydrate inulin, which is a type of soluble fiber found in plants that supports the growth and maintenance of a healthy bacterial flora in your intestinal tract (2Trusted Source).Dandelion root is often dried and consumed as a tea but can also be eaten in its whole form”

Michael Parker promises to make some dandelion honey with the promise of some samples on the Rooting for Andover Stall on the 25th June at the Andover Climate Day

Visit the Facebook page, Andover Community Garden and Allotment group for more local gardening news, tips and advice.