Field Notes – April 2012
April 26, 2012
Dandelions…..really? Who knew?
I’m sure my late father-in-law, Bill Brewer, is somewhere laughing at our latest adventure in farming.
Like many of us who take pride in our lawns he spent much of his lifetime trying to eradicate Harmony Farm of dandelions. I spent time today “harvesting” dandelion flower heads, which will be used to create natural remedies. To the un-enlightened it may sound as if I’ve been smoking dandelions, but bear with me as I explain our vision.
As you may already know, we have invested in lavender as a foundation crop for our future medicinal products. Lavender takes 3 years to mature to a point where it can be harvested; later this summer we will begin to harvest from our first 3-year-old plants. To supplement our lavender crop we are adding a variety of herbs and flowers that will also be processed into biodynamic medicine. We are also learning about the benefits of the plants (some may call weeds) that naturally grow here on the farm. Wildcrafting is a term for this age-old process of collecting plant material in their natural habitat for food or medicinal purposes.
So what about those pesky dandelions?
Well, based on input that we have received from Marian Farms Biodynamic ® Farm in California, not all dandelions are created equal. Those big fluffy yellow blooms that we have here in the mid-west are perfect for Biodynamic ® preparations. BD #506 as it’s known in the Biodynamic ® world is a preparation created from dandelions and is a component used in the process of making Biodynamic ®compost.
The Josephine Porter Institute (JPI) for Applied Bio-Dynamics recently sent an email to subscribers asking for dandelions. JPI is our source for obtaining biodynamic preparations here in the United States and we hope to assist them with our bountiful dandelion harvest.
In addition to playing a role in the compost preparations, dandelion roots, flowers, and leaves are used to create tinctures (plant material mixed with alcohol) and infusions (plant material mixed with oil) that you may find at your local health food store. The leaves of the dandelion plant are rich in nutrients and have been traditionally used as an effective liver treatment by cleansing the bloodstream and increasing bile production. They also act as a gentle diuretic as well as assisting in digestion.
Well Bill, laugh all you want. My yellow fingers tell me that there may be something more to those pesky dandelions than we originally thought!
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