Ok, I do have a story. When I go shopping for food, I typically will not purchase anything that I can grow. Well, the other day, I was in the grocery store, and saw dandelion greens for sale. I thought why would someone buy dandelion greens when they can pick their own out of their yard. As I pondered this, an elderly woman walked up to me. She proceeded to tell me about her time on the farm. As we talked, she told me that one of the chores she had as a young child was to pull up grass around the dandelions. Doing this would increase the number of dandelions for greens, and wine. Well, as I thought about this I also thought about the amount of money that is spent to get rid of dandelions. Eating them seemed to be a much better idea than the prior practice of destruction. To help you grow a healthy crop of dandelions without them taking over, follow the tips below.
First, to keep your dandelions under control, never let them go to seed. Once they have gone to seed and the wind blows, all control is gone so be diligent in this garden chore.
Second, if you are growing your dandelions for greens plant them in partial shade and/or pick one of the gourmet types. These gourmet types have been breed to be less bitter compared to the normal lawn variety.
When it comes to planting dandelions, remember they are hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 3 through 10. They also are not picky about the soil but it does need to be well draining. If you have bought dandelion seeds, prepare them for planting after your local frost free date by sprinkling them on a dampened paper towel. Put the towel in a plastic bag, and store in the fridge for one week prior to planting. Once this time has passed, simply sprinkle the seed on the prepared soil surface. Do not cover with soil. Dandelion seeds require light to germinate.
You can expect your dandelion seeds to germinate in 7 to 14 days. To get the most from your dandelions, thin them out so that there is 8 to 12 inches between plants.
Finally, just as with any other green, harvest when the leaves are young. As the weather warms up and/or the plant begins to flower, the greens become bitter.