It is hard to believe we actually received measurable snowfall two weeks ago! Now, the leaves are appearing on the trees, our garden is planted, the apple trees and lilacs are flowering, and the dandelions have blossomed. With just a quick drive down our county road, you will quickly see plenty of those little yellow flowers, radiating like a field of mustard. They are a childhood favorite but commonly despised by the average adult landowner.
Looking back on my child, teenage, and early adult years, I am not sure what drove me to that same and familiar destination as an adult, strolling down the lawn and garden section, reading the labels of various lawn chemical treatments. The mission was to find the right treatment that would kill off those despised yellow terrors and get the perfectly manicured lawn every neighbor envies.. Or so, that used to be the case. Once we moved to our farm, I knew from the start that things would be different, that we would think differently. These yellow flowers would be no exception!
What turned these little yellow flowers from enemy to friend? The first seems obvious considering our latest entry into the world of beekeeping, the second however will take a more open mind than many in these parts are willing to allow.
Before we took bees onto our farm, I had been given a warning, of sorts, through a podcast. The guest speaker (a beekeeper) had said that once you get bees, you will soon develop a new lens of which you will see the world through. Yes, lenses, those pesky little things that allow the unseen to be seen, or shift the focus onto something you may have been missing or hadn’t know was just sitting there, right in front of you. This lens initiates the individual to observe flowers of all types in nature, noting when they blossom, all to gage the pollen availability for your little busy friends. Dandelions are part of that pollen source for our bees.. I want honey, a productive garden, and happy, healthy bees more than I want that suburban golf course perfect lawn.
Putting the bees aside now, did you know that the dandelion is chalk full of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin K? Yes, that is right, they are edible and extremely good for you! The leaves have a slightly bitter taste, but don’t let that scare you away, it grows on you. They make a great addition to any salad greens you may already have or all on their own. We typically pick the leaves and add them to mixed greens. I won’t spout off all the amazing health benefits they bring with them, but I will share several links that do:
Give them a try in your next salad (that is if you have not sprayed your lawn with any chemicals). You may find out that you have an excellent and free source of healthy greens in your own backyard. Maybe, just maybe, if you open your mind a little bit, you will also decide that these little yellow flowers aren’t so bad after all.
Now, off to cut some inexpensive shiplap…