Seedling in sandFarming in sandy soil
Every farmer knows that without good soil, you're going nowhere if you plan to raise crops or feed animals off the land. So what do you do if your soil is poor? You can of course have it analyzed to see what it is lacking and add a chemical cocktail to it to improve it. After all that is what has done and it's “the norm”. The problem with this method, is we need to ask ourselves, is this the right thing to do?

Sometimes we get caught up in the dogma of what has been done and think it  must be the right way or the only way. But if we go back still further in time, people wouldn't have gone out and bought something produced in a factory to spread on the fields, would they? No of course not. What they needed for their land was produced on the farm or at least near-by on a neighboring farm.

Where I live in Brazil, our soil (I use that term loosely) is sand. Our farm is 10 minutes from the beach and is backed by sand dunes. Sand as a growing medium is not ideal in anyone's book and as such needs improving.

Problems with sand are:

  • Compaction. In certain places on our farm I can dig down 6 inches and it feels solid. The start of sandstone. Adding cut vegetation including weeds, is the answer. 

  • Lack of  nutrients: With sand, when the rains come, the nutrients get washed away, leeching through the sand.

  • Doesn't retain water: While other people add sand to assist in drainage, ours is the opposite. Mulching again is part of the answer. 

I don't know if you believe in the Law of Attraction, but we knew we need to do something more than what we have been doing for the improvement of our soil. Then my husband came across a series of videos done by an American man living in India. He has similar problems to us with regards to planting in sand. His advice is grow beans and weeds. That isn't the only advice he offers, but it was the first video I watched and knew I wanted to share it with you. 

Here is one of his videos and if you are dealing with sandy soil, no matter which country you live in, I would encourage you to watch it.

PictureEating Dandelion Greens
If you cringe in horror at the thought of them, don't be too hasty. In certain areas they are a nuisance, a pest,  and some would say a life long enemy to the gardener or those who love a perfect lawn.

But remember a weed is just a plant in the wrong place.

Although I no longer have to contend with the dandelion where I live in Brazil, we do have equally as invasive and unwanted plants. In fact some of the weeds I pull out, people in Europe and North America keep them as exotic house plants. I always find this rather funny.

Anyway let me get back to the topic of this post, dandelions. They are one of the most robust little plants as I'm sure you've seen them pushing up through cracks in the sidewalks and through asphalt.

Dandelions in the yard

If you can't beat them, eat them.

This was the advice I gave to my cousin who lives in Montana. She sent me a photo of one because she couldn't believe how many flowers this one plant contained. It was as though it knew it was going to have a short growing season and pushed out as many as it could.

My cousin hates the idea of spraying chemical weed killer anywhere. She has dug, used household products on the garden and even if she eradicates them from her space, the wind will carry in another lot of seeds from a neighboring yard.

She is exasperated about this ongoing problem.

As luck would have it, I found an interesting article about using dandelions in cooking. Let's face it,  with those dark green leaves, they simply must be rich in vitamin C, A and K. We just need to change our mindset with regards to this plant and see it as a valuable  food.

One thing to mention is you do not want to eat any which may have been sprayed with pesticides or in an area which is trafficked by dogs.  

Dandelion seeds are plentiful
The upshot of all this is, dandelions grow easily and can be an integral part of your garden. Why struggle with a variety of greens which isn't right for your area when you probably have this prolific plant growing near you?

The seeds as you know blow easily away although are easily retained from a dandelion seed head.

I am sure you have seen upmarket chefs using these in their cooking. You can too.