Dandelions invade Valley’s front yard
by Linda Monohan
Fish Springs Flier
As you drive through town it seems like every house has bunches of dandelions growing in their grassy front yard. They’ve even invaded the beautiful lawn at our county museum.
The bright yellow flowers are very pretty, but we all know they are a weed. At least if they’ve trespassed into our lawns or flower beds we consider them perennial weeds. Like other weeds, they seem to grow very well in most soils around here.
Some people actually cultivate dandelions as an edible leaf crop. I’ve picked the tender new leaves and added them to mixed green salads, but they tasted pretty bitter to me. I’ve also heard that some people boil or steam the leaves like spinach.
In China, Europe and Asia they’ve been cultivated as a tonic and digestive aid. Besides its medicinal properties the dandelion is also a nutritional plant. They contain lots of vitamins A and C and also iron and potassium. But they still taste bitter to me. Perhaps dandelion wine might be the way to go.
My husband is such a purist about keeping our yard organic so he doesn’t use herbicides to kill the dandelion weeds. We dig them up with a special digging tool and try to remove the entire tap root. That’s important as new plants can sprout from root sections.
It’s easy enough to dig them up when you don’t have too many, but our lawn had hundreds of blooming dandelions and we needed to get rid of them before the pretty yellow flowers turned into white puff balls. The multitude of seeds in the puff balls are spread by the wind. What wind you say?! We needed immediate action. My solution was to bribe a child. I hired our 5-year-old granddaughter to pick all the pretty yellow flowers in our lawn. At a penny a piece, she made a couple of bucks for her piggy bank. And I got a beautiful bouquet of yellow flowers on my table.
Hot Flash: Just now as I looked out my east-facing window, I saw the hills across from our house have turned pink. Tiny flowers are blooming there on an old wildland burn area. It’s beautiful, just like the yellow ones in our yard.
Firebreak on Pinenut 2: Have you driven up “Pinenut 2” road lately? If not, you’ll be surprised to see some big changes. The Bureau of Land Management used a very powerful and huge chipper/shredder to clear a large firebreak. Much of the fire fuel, including trees, sagebrush, cheet grass and other native vegetation, has been ground up and spit out on both sides of the dirt road, all the way up to the Lena Lane area. This certainly is a big step in helping to keep our community fire safe. Thank you BLM!