Monday, December 29, 2014

Burdock- Natures Food

Burdock is a plant native to most of the habituated world and has been used for medicine, food and ground cover sense Adam ate the apple. My horse always manages to find a plant in her pasture , just to give me something to do as she nibbles her oats in the mornings.  The plants must be at least 3 years old to have a nice size edible root but the young leaves are a very tasty green most of the growing season.

How to Grow Burdock

Arctium, Biennial
Early settlers brought Burdock to the U.S. American Indians liked it, and included this vegetable in their gardens. Today, it can be found growing wild in many parts of the country. Burdock is an edible root, native to Europe, Asia and Japan. Actually, the leaves and tender, young stems are edible, too. Roots can be eaten raw or cooked. Leaves and stems are usually cooked like spinach.
Burdock has been used in a wide variety of herbal medicines. The most common is treatment of skin and scalp problems, including combating hair loss and dandruff control.  Burdock has also been used as liver treatment, to stimulate the digestive system, colds and sore throats, and even for treatment of leprosy.
Caution: Diabetics should consult their physician before eating Burdock. It could interfere with medication.
Burdock Trivia: George de Mestral invented Velcro after studying how burdock burrs clung to clothing and animal fur.

Burdock  is grown from seed. Sow Burdock seeds in your garden as early as the ground can be worked. Cover seeds with 1/2" to 3/4" of fine garden or seed starting soil. Tamp soil. Water lightly, if the soil is dry.
Seedlings germinate quickly, in about 4-7 days.

How to Grow Burdock Plants:
Burdock is easy to grow. It grows readily in the wild, without day human assistance. The attention you provide to it in your garden, will promote bigger, deeper roots, and more plant and seed to harvest. Burdock likes full sun, but will tolerate partial shade.
The soil should be rich, and drain well. The most important characteristic of the soil, should be loose and free of rocks and stones up to a depth of a couple of feet. This allows the roots to grow long and straight.
After seedlings have grown a few inches, thin to 3" apart in rows two feet apart. Weed frequently, especially when plants are young.
Keep soil moist. Apply a general purpose fertilizer once a month.
Did you Know? The roots of some varieties of Burdock can grow four feet long. Some plant varieties can grow up to nine feet tall.
Keep flowers and burrs picked, to promote growth of plant and root.
Tip: Fewer leaves allow denser plants and a higher yield. If you are growing Burdock just for the roots, prune some leaves as the plant grows.

Pick leaves and tender young stems for eating fresh. Cook like spinach.
Roots take a long time to grow, over 100 days. Pick when roots are one to two feet long. Peel and eat raw or cooked. Use in soups, salads, and stir fries.

Insect and Disease:
Insects can be an occasional problem. Treat with insecticide or repellents, as needed.

                                                                     Burdock New Growth

                                                          Sticky Old Growth my horse likes : )