|Dandelion flowers are beautiful—but pervasive. Photo|
courtesy Maine Cooperative Extension
If you have a dahlia bed, and you're about to begin preparing it for setting out your dahlia tubers in a month or two, you might be finding dandelions reaping the benefits of your soil amendments.
Don't despair. Dig them now, before their golden blooms begin setting seed. Use a fork or a long-bladed shovel so you get all the root; if that long, fleshy root breaks off, chances are you'll get a whole little colony of stubborn dandelions in your dahlia bed later. Keeping your dahlias weed-free early will benefit your growing dahlias all season.
If your soil is good for growing dahlias, it's likely that your dandelions, too, will have vigorous leaf growth. That's good: you can pull your weeds and eat them too. Those young dandelion leaves make a nice addition to a spring salad, with a tangy, slightly bitter flavor.
|Dandelions may emerge from the mulch in your dahlia bed.|
The edible greens are best before they bloom; that's also the
besttime to dig them out of your garden.
In some parts of the world a major use of dandelions is for wine. We made dandelion wine a few times; one year it made a perfect sparkling wine, but we never achieved that effect again. Both dandelion wine and dandelion greens have a somewhat cleansing effect, good for a springtime tone-up.
Even if it's some time before it's safe, in your zone, to plant your dahlias, you'll want to maintain a bed of nice, clean soil for growing beautiful dahlias when summer arrives. When you can get rid of your weeds and add them to the dinner table, that's a bonus.