Burdock

(Arctium lappa) In Japan, burdock has traditionally been an important source for food and medicine. Called “poor-man's potatoes,” it’s eaten as a vegetable called gobō. It was brought to Japan from China 1,000 or so years ago as a medicinal plant, but it didn’t become popular in the Japanese diet until the Edo period. Japanese breeders worked to domesticate burdock, and it is now considered a delicacy. Sow in early spring or late fall, soaking the seeds before sowing. Burdock germinates slowly over a month long period and can germinate in cool soil. Plant ¼ inch deep, 12 inches apart. You may consider growing burdock in the manner that it is grown in Japan for super long (up to 4 foot) roots. This is achieved by planting burdock in tall wooden boxes that allow the long root to develop. It produces a large rosette of leaves and a large edible taproot in the first year. Burdock flowers the second year, but remember, this is a popular nuisance weed so it may become invasive if you do not remove the flowers before it matures.

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