Burdock is mostly known as a weed throughout the United States, but is considered an important root vegetable in Asian cooking. The plant is typically found along streams in shady areas. It is easy to identify when it begins to go to seed in its second year of growth because burs form. The burs often get stuck in hikers clothes or pets fur. The root is the main part used as a vegetable; however, the seeds and leaves also have medicinal use. One burdock plant can produce up to 2 feet of edible root, which makes it a great addition to a wild vegetable garden.
What You Need
Select an area to plant your burdock in early spring or late fall. Burdock grows well in full sun, shade or partial shade. It will also grow in most soil types, but prefers well-drained soil rich in humus.
Prepare the soil by digging to a depth of 24 inches to allow plenty of room for the roots to grow. Mix compost evenly throughout the soil.
Soak your burdock seeds in water overnight to help with germination.
Plant each seed 1/8 inch deep in the soil. Space plants 18 inches apart on all sides.
Give your burdock plants enough water to dampen the soil each day. Let the soil dry between each watering.
Harvest your burdock roots in the fall of the first year or spring of the second year. Use a garden fork to loosen the soil around the roots until the roots can be gently tugged from the soil.
Harvest young leaves and stems in the spring to be prepared like asparagus or spinach.
Kansas State University; A Grower’s Guide: Burdock
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences; Burdock
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