Monday, March 23, 2009

Grow an Edible Garden this year!

This has been a long cold, winter for everyone. As much as I love the snow, I am anxious for spring. It is so wonderful to see bulbs making their way through the cold earth ! This month I am thinking about including edible plants in my borders and expanding my cutting garden. Now is the time get your seeds started! There are many websites to go to and of course, your local nurseries have their seed packets just waiting for a new home! The sun is warmer, the days are longer...can't be long before we will be outside planting!

Vegetable gardens don't have to be unsightly...a combination of thyme, violets and onions make an attractive planting.
Here is a short course on edible plants to get you started: Mild flavored flowers include Pansies , Violets and Violas, Day lilies, Roses, the crimson flowers of the Scarlet Runner beans and the bright blue blossoms of Borage. Nasurtium petals which can be described as spicy are also delicate enough to be used in almost anything. The part of the petal you want to avoid is the "heel" , where they join together, and the heart of the flower. (You can also eat the leaves of the Nasturtiums as well..sometimes described as a cross between mustard and watercress.)
Marigolds, Calendulas and Chrysanthemums have a more assertive flavor , with an acrid edge that you can get of hint of in their fragrances. The flowers of herbs such as Lavender, Hyssop, Thyme and Sage can vary , so be sure to taste before using. when xperimenting, just be sure the flower is safe to eat..then nibble away!
At you can find Sunflowers of all sizes, from "Elf" ( 14-16" tall) to the "Kong" hybrid that grows 14 feet tall. These produce edible seeds for both you and the goldfinches.
To find out more about Daylilies and to get a recipe for "Daylily cheesecake" go to for Tranquil Lake Nursery's webpage ( they are the largest grower of Daylilies in the northeastern U.S located .in Rehoboth Mass.)

Linda Finn