By now, I’m sure you’re all well aware of our “Yardens” campaign - a massive push to allow every citizen of Louisville the ability to grow what they want on their property. Through this campaign we’ve been attempting to dispel the narrative that a pristine green patch of grass is equivalent to a healthy ecosystem.
Monocultures (a.k.a. lawns) are not natural; therefore, they require a multitude of chemical pesticides and weed killers to prevent anything other than grass from taking root. We tend to unaffectionately call plants folks like to spray to keep out of their lawn “weeds”. We would like to showcase a few of these common “weeds” we find in our yardens and how they can be beneficial our local ecosystem, wildlife, and to us!
We’re going to start with the plant most people tend to picture whenever the word “weed” is mentioned. That’s right - we’ll be talking about how absolutely incredible dandelions are!
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of dandelions? Small, yellow irritants that pop up in your grass patch? Well, maybe. But we prefer to think of them as these amazing multipurpose little beauties that are beneficial for both you and the ecosystem!
Dandelions are miracle workers for the soil. Dandelions possess taproots that reach deep into soil to bring nutrients up from deeper layers to better enrich topsoil. These strong taproots can also permeate dry, cracked soil that is much looser to the touch than healthy soil should be. These roots can hold the soil together, thus preventing erosion. Dandelion’s ability to prevent erosion and to replenish nutrient-deficient soil makes this little plant an excellent addition to any yarden in need of a little T.L.C.!
If you think the benefits stop at soil repair then you are sorely mistaken. There are so many ways you can harvest and utilize dandelions that it’s difficult to know where to even begin! Dandelions are completely edible - from the roots to the leaves to the flowers. Dandelion roots can be dried and ground up to make teas or a coffee substitute, and are shown to possess anti-inflammatory qualities and can support healthy liver functions. Dandelion leaves are high in vitamins K, A, C, and B and packed full of magnesium and potassium. Dandelion leaves have an earthy, nutty flavor to them so they make excellent additions to a summer salad or to your favorite dish!
Dandelion flowers can be used to make jellies, cookies, or can even be fried or the flowers can be dried out and used in teas. While having been researched less for their benefits, dandelion flowers do show potential for alleviating stomach cramps and headaches.
This is just the tip of the iceberg! What are some ways that you know how to utilize dandelions? Would you be interested in a more in-depth look at all the cool things you can do with this plant? Let us know down below or on our social media!
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