Fall is officially here and for me that means root harvesting. Life has been a little stressful and hectic lately so I decided to set my goals realistically (which means herbs I can find easily) – dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale), burdock root (Arctium lappa) and milkweed root (Asclepias syriaca). So on Saturday (Nov. 5th) I set out with my husband in search of rooty goodness.
In search of dandelion leaves. Luckily we didn’t run into anyone while harvesting. The shovel is hard to hide!
A great success! Dandelion roots must be harvested while the leaves are still up as they do not leave a persistent stalk in the winter. Once they die back they are impossible to find!
As a herbalist you need to get your hands a little dirty every now and again! While harvesting roots be careful not to break them with your shovel. You`ll just have to dig up more plants to get the same yield.
Found the coolest dandelion root! The roots from two plants twisted together producing this.
In search of milkweed, although we don’t have to look far!
My husband was having a great time taking pictures of the milkweed pods!
Carefully pulling up the dirt and grass the surrounds this milkweed plant. Asclepias spreads by rhizome which means the roots grow horizontal just below the surface. It would be very easy to cut the roots with a shovel so once I remove the upper layer of grass and soil I start digging by hand!
Helping to spread milkweed seeds after the harvest. It’s the least I can do
While this harvesting location had an abundance of milkweed and dandelion, the burdock was a little tougher to find. I’m always very careful that I do not over-harvest in an area and therefore stress out the plant species. There was enough burdock floating around to harvest one plant. Our fingers were crossed that this was a good root!
We were thrilled to find that this root was huge! And it just kept going and going. My husband was determined to get it out in one piece…
His hard work paid off! As it turns out this one root was enough to make an entire litre of tincture. Thank you burdock!
Here are some more pictures my husband took while we were out harvesting.