Gobo is reputed to be anticarcinogenic and an excellent tonic plant for the liver, and it's also supposed to make you strong. The joke is that you don't get strong by eating gobo; you get strong from trying to prize the suckers out of the ground. Gobo roots will grow up to a yard long if given the right soil conditions. Euell Gibbons recommended against even attempting a frontal assault on the wild variety. It's pointless to try to dig the root out directly. Instead, dig as deep a hole as possible alongside the root, then pull the root into the hole and cut it as low as you can. Like I said, our gobo was planted in extremely well worked earth, amended with a lot of compost. And it still felt like earning my dinner to harvest these roots. Every single time I dug for a gobo root, I left part of it in the ground.
Travis Philp wrote:
I've never been able to harvest more than 2 feet of the root. It breaks off at about that point. I suppose I could double dig to get further down but that wouldn't be time, or cost effective, and I'd feel bad about causing so much disturbance in the soil. Though the burdock might like that, all things considered.
I wonder if it could be grown in a raised bed situation--filled with loose soil/compost. Remove one side of the bed at harvest time.... just brainstorming.
or in poly-bags like potatoes?
Joel Hollingsworth wrote:roots will grow up to a yard long if given the right soil conditions.
Uhm... They get a lot longer than that. I have pulled out 6' of root off a burdock that was about 5' tall. There was more root down below that but it snapped off. I used my backhoe to pull it.
For eliminating burdock from a field pigs are the best. They love the tops. They love the bottoms. Burdock balls don't stick to them (or at least slide off).
Why eliminate burdock? You'll understand if you ever have sheep get into a patch of old dead burdock. The wool is ruined.
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
Travis Philp wrote:If you don't have pigs or a back hoe, and want to get rid of burdock or at least keep it under control; Don't bother digging up the plants, its too much work IMO. Simply cut the second year flower stalks to the ground when their flowers have bloomed. At this stage, most of the plants life force energy is in the stem and flowers, so cutting it leaves a root system that doesn't generally have enough life or time in the year to pop up another batch of flowers.
It may take a few years because there'll be dormant seeds in your soil from previous flowerings but over time you should see a reduction in the amount of burdock in your area.
This also works well with thistle.