Gardening Vivian | 14 Jun 2011 12:26 am

The Remarkable Edible Garden!

Flowers have been adding glamor and romance to cultures around the world for centuries. Their exquisite form, fragrance, and flavor have been used by gourmets in garnishes, stuffing, jams and jellies, butters, cheese spreads, pancakes and crepes, beverages, salads, marinades, and dressings. They have delighted the senses as elegant and eco-friendly bouquets of love and exquisite beauty.

Shall we take a walk in the garden? Sml. Edible flowers are best planted in outdoor pots, raised beds, or in a garden removed from sprays or drainage to prevent chemical drift. Enrich the soil with compost, mulch, manure, or kelp and test pH to ensure proper balance. A soaker hose is recommended for watering as overhead sprays can leave wet spots that encourage disease.

Now for the fun! Mix and mingle your flowers with other garden members, your vegetables, herbs, and berries. They actually do quite well together and protect against harmful insects that get quite confused by the unexpected mix. Lady beetles and praying mantis are also good “house guests” for controlling bad bugs.

When harvesting, pick flowers in the cool of the day, wrap in moist paper towel and place in seal-tight bags in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. Only use the petals of fully opened blooms that are fresh and not fading. Remove pistils and stamen as pollen can be an irritant to allergy sufferers. Also remove the area at base of petal which can detract from flavor. Most flowering herbs have edible blooms but you will want to check a good reference source to be certain of which do.

Some of the more popular plants consumed are: Day Lilies, Hibiscus, Honeysuckle, Johnny Jump up, Lilac, Marigold, Nasturtium, Pansy, Passion flower, Pineapple Sage, Scented Geraniums, Roses, Sunflowers, Squash, Tulips, Violet, Hollyhock, English Daisy, Dianthus, Dandelion, Bachelor’s Button and Apple blossoms. Do walk gently amongst the beauties. If you’re quiet you just might hear them whisper as they stand on the runway in their elegant couture.


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