Friday, May 16, 2008

Show and Tell: Planting Edible Flowers

I was struck recently by the thought that blogging is a lot like show and tell when my 5 year old lovingly brought her empty seed packet to school. We got an assortment of edible flower seeds in the mail last weekend from my mom (who candied some violas for EGirl's birthday, as you may recall, and in whose honor we've all been crunching down yellow and purple violas and chive flowers over the last few weeks). Let's just say we're enjoying the edible nature of our lovely blooms, adults and children alike.

Chive flowers rock, by the way. They are so spicy! EGirl feeds them to me until my eyes water. They'd be great in a spring salad for those of us who like a little loosening of the tear ducts. The kids (not such big fans of the 'picy) love eating the violas (it makes CBoy giggle at the naughtiness of it). We had a blast planting the edible fleurs (and some non-edible cosmos, marigolds, and sunflowers). Actually, we had a blast planting them once we wrestled the wawa (hose) out of CBoy's viselike grasp. But I digress.

We also released ladybugs into the community garden together at dusk one night, a pretty satisfying way to reduce the number of pests, I'd say.

For our front stoop, we transplanted the birthday cake violas into planters with some shade plants I had languishing inside (Boston ferns and asparagus ferns) a great tip from Scribbit guest poster Like Merchant Ships. The idea being that you should repot your indoor plants and throw them outside for a bit to rejuvenate rather than buying a new annuals.

Of course, I had those specific plants in my kids' rooms because they are supposed to be effective at improving indoor air quality and removing toxins. (Don't forget to check to see if plants you use for this purpose are safe around pets and kids.) Sounds like opening your windows and ventilating may be more effective than keeping plants for this purpose, though, so I think we can go a season without them indoors.

Next up, we want to plant another round of lettuce since we've been so enjoying picking greens for our salads the past couple weeks. Even though it's a cool-weather crop, I am hoping I can sneak in another wave of salad greens. Plus, I really want to grow some pepperoncini and pickle them. Anyone know where I can get seedlings? Or a fresh pepper from which to save the seeds?

Happy Gardening! I'd love to hear the ways in which you've been getting muddy....

*photo courtesy of Woodsy at SXC


De in D.C. said...

I'm growing nasturtium for the first time this year with the intention of adding it to our dinner plates. However, my "garden" is still languishing in their little cell packs as the rain continues to foil all of my gardening attempts.

I don't have any pepperoncini plants, but have extra seedlings of Serrano and Ancho peppers that I'd be happy to pass your way.

MamaBird said...

You rock, de! Thanks so much! I actually have one hot pepper plant already and since I am the only 'picy food eater in our home, I guess I should hold back. those pepperoncini just scream nostalgia for me - i used to eat them with cheese and crackers as a kid. Foiled by the tiny garden plot! Are you going to dry your serranos and anchos? btw, de, have you found organic seedlings around? i can only find organic tomato seedlings, which i find odd... and YES, glad the drought is over but itching to get out (which I have been doing every break anyways!)

Cindy Fey said...

We're growing Mexican sunflowers from seed. They grow so fast you can almost see it!

And I'm trying to compost in clay pots - kitchen scraps with some dirt sprinkled on top - but now some beautiful potato plants are popping up! I'm keeping them, but how do your keep raw vegetable leavings from sprouting in the compost heap?

De in D.C. said...

I might try drying peppers this year. Last year I just quickly blanched them, let them dry and froze them whole. Tom is still eating last year's harvest on sandwiches and in eggs! I definitely want to try drying tomatoes in the oven at a low temp so that I can use them over the winter.

I usually start all my plants from seeds, so haven't really looked for organic seedlings. Sorry. You might reach out to Ed Bruske ( to see if he knows of any sources.

Tech Savvy Mama said...

Chive flowers sound amazing! You've inspired me to plant some just so I can taste them. Our nasturtium are growing like crazy due to all the rain but no flowers yet. We picked some basil to go with our tomato and mozzarella sandwiches the other night and also bought two jars of ladybugs from Little Miss Techie's spring fair last week that we released in the garden. It was fun bringing them home in the car since the gauze on the jars was a little loose and a few escaped!

Spotted organic seedlings at Home Depot believe it or not! Can't remember exactly what they had though. Sorry!

Scribbit said...

Thanks for the mention--

Scribbit said...

Oops, cut off too quickly. I meant to say thanks and love the edible flowers thing--I've even planted nasturtiums this year in prepartion :)

MamaBird said...

Cindy - I can't wait for our sunflowers to sprout. Our edible flowers are already shooting up and my DD shows every friend who walks by our house! As for your compost question, I have to ask my SIL as she is a much more accomplished gardener but I am betting turning over your compost would aerate it and keep stuff from growing.

De - I should definitely toss my question on Ed Bruske's yahoogroup (dcurbangardeners, you should join if you haven't already), tx!

Tech Savvy Mama - your garden sounds amazing! We haven't gotten around to planting our nasturtiums yet cause you have to presoak the seeds and I am, well, not presoaking?! Tx for the Home Despot tip, I will check them out.

Scribbit - tx for stopping by and for the inspirational repotting guest post! Love your blog. Sounds like we're all going to have to swap edible flower recipes this summer!

MamaBird said...

for Cindy from my SIL: "I believe she would have had to have pretty good size pieces of potato to get them to start. But potatoes do love compost piles. Why not harvest them? Potatoes want to get mounded as they will when she adds more and more scraps. If no then turning the pile as you suggest will help get rid of them."

Tech Savvy Mama said...

FYI- I didn't pre-soak the nasturtium seeds because I had no idea you had to! They came up all on their own but perhaps they soaked themselves in my overly wet pots before my Dad came over and drilled extra holes. Maybe just overwater them? Good luck!