200 seeds. 70 days. Arctium lappa. Zone 3-9. Biennial.
Burdock 'Takinogawa Long' has nutty-flavored roots. I enjoy eating it stir-fried with other winter vegetables such as carrots. Burdock is not a fussy plant, and the wild variety is often seen growing in fields and along ditches. For easy-to-harvest roots, try growing Burdock in raised beds with soft soil. I read that Takinogawa Long burdock can get up to 3 feet long, but I have only succeeded with one-foot-long roots as that is the height of my raised beds before it hits our hard clay soil.
The flavor of the root is just beneath the root's thin skin, so it is best to scrap the skin off with the blunt side of a knife instead of peeling it. A traditional side dish in Japan is thin-sliced burdock and carrots stir-fried with soy sauce. My sister frequently enjoyed this dish in school lunch when she lived in Japan. Dried burdock root is often paired with dried dandelion root to make a skin-detoxifying tea.
Saving Your Own Burdock Seeds:
Burdock plants will overwinter without any special treatment. In its second year, Takinogawa Long will send up a 6-foot stalk with flower heads that will make way for burs full of seeds in the fall. Saving seeds from burdock can be somewhat dangerous as each bur is full of hundreds of fine slivers.
I found the best method of extracting the seeds is to cut off the brown burs into a heavy-duty plasic bag while wearing rose pruning gloves or leather gloves. Let the bag of burs dry out for a few days, and then seal and shake the bag of burs. Next, cut a small hole in the bottom of the plasic bag and shake the seeds out into a bowl. Save the bag for next year with a clip over the hole. Clean the seed in front of a fan wearing a dust mask so you don't breath in the seed chaft. This is the most safe method for me. One vigorus plant yeilds about a half cup of seeds.
Spacing 4-12 inches.
Sowing Burdock Seeds:
Sow seeds on the surface of the soil 3 to 6 weeks before the last frost. Lightly cover with soil. Thin to 5 to 12 inches apart. Full sun.
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