By DOROTHY ROSBY
When I complained to my friend about the yellow scourge taking over my yard, she told me to be quiet and eat my dandelions. She said dandelions are nutritious, delicious and free. I told her she could have as many as she wanted if she’d just come by and pick them. So far she hasn’t picked one. Maybe she has plenty of her own.
She might be on to something though. Dandelions are the closest thing I’m ever going to have to a garden in my yard. And they’re versatile. You can make tea with the roots, salad with the greens, and wine with the blossoms, not that I have. You can even dip the flowers in batter and fry them up. I’ve never tried that either, so I can’t vouch for the taste, but in my experience, if you dip anything in batter and fry it, it’s going to taste pretty good.
And dandelions are healthful, though maybe not if you dip them in batter and fry them. They have more vitamin C than tomatoes, more vitamin A than carrots, and more iron than spinach. I read it on the internet so it must be true. I also read that one half cup of dandelions contains more calcium than a glass of milk, but I bet they don’t taste as good with chocolate chip cookies.
Another friend told me that dandelions provide food for the bees. So what looks like irresponsible homeowner behavior is actually supporting the bees in their important work of pollinating the fruits and vegetables we all eat. I’m all for feeding the bees, but they haven’t picked any of my dandelions yet either.
And even if the bees do like the dandelions, and I’m sure they do, I think they’d appreciate some variety in their diet. Dandelions are all that grows on our lawn. They even dominate the bindweed—and the grass. It’s like if potatoes were the only food in my pantry. Oh wait; they are.
In the past we’ve had a lawn care company come fertilize the grass and kill the weeds, but I worried about the effect all the chemicals could have on the critters that come on our lawn. The guy applying chemicals always wears protective footgear, and I don’t think the birds and bees have access to those.
So we’ve gone natural. Naturally that means digging dandelions out of the lawn. And I’ve learned a few thigs about dandelions in the process. One, dandelion roots go deep and if you don’t get the whole root, the plant regenerates like a star fish on steroids.
Two, if you pluck the flower but leave it laying on your lawn, it will go to seed just like it would have if you’d left it on the plant. That kind of defeats the purpose–like drying your clothes on permanent press and then leaving them wadded up in the dryer.
And three, I have a really big lawn. There’s no way I can keep up with my dandelion digging and still hold down a full-time job. And that explains why right now, our lawn looks like we’re Green Bay Packers fans, which we are not.
That’s not to say I don’t think dandelions are beautiful. They’re bright; they’re cheerful. They’re nutritious and delicious. What more could I ask for? Just one thing. Fewer of them.