Garden Days: edible flower garden

Our edible flower garden has been a little trampled on by animals, but in a couple of weeks I am confident the flowers will be standing tall between harvests!

Last year I grew an edible flower garden and my daughter started harvesting and making salads for the family dinner table and, even more surprisingly, my son ate them! As a general rule, my daughter only eats raw fruit and vegetables and my son mostly prefers cooked vegetables. They both love edible flowers and were excited when I came home from the nursery with a heap of flowers once the weather cooled. They are an easy salad vegetable to grow and they’re full of antioxidants.

Pots of colour waiting to be transplanted.

Transplanting was initially delayed by my indecision about the best location for the flowers, then inspiration struck! What about the sandpit that the children never use?! It’s perfect for a raised garden bed. Without further delay, it became a whole family affair. My partner moved it to a sunny location and filled it with some potting soil kindly given to us when a local nursery closed down last year. I mixed in some Dynamic Lifter and the children helped plant the seedlings.

The sheriff helped out with the planting!

First, the Snapdragons, which we probably won’t eat because they aren’t very palatable. They are there for height in the centre, biodiversity and simple childhood joy! I have fond memories of playing with Snapdragons as a child and following tradition my children enjoyed “testing” the snapping power of each flower as we planted.

The joy of Snapdragons has been passed from one generation to the next in my family!

Next the showy pink Dianthus with their edible petals. We didn’t try these ones last year so we are interested to see how they taste. We won’t try any though until they’ve had a fortnight in the ground with regular watering to dilute the pesticides that were likely used in their cultivation.

The showy Dianthus with edible petals.

Pansies! Yum! With their delightful colours and strangely minty flavour,  these are a favourite in our garden. With our increasingly warm subtropical climate we can only grow them in the six coolest months of the year, but they’re worth the work of an annual. My daughter is itching to harvest them.

Yellow Pansies – every colour tastes slightly different so it’s good to plant a rainbow!

Now my personal favourite,  Viola. Just a little smaller and a little more delicate than a Pansy and I think, a little more minty. Really Pansies are just a variety of Viola, but there’s a subtle difference that I enjoy.

Delightful and delicate,  Violas are my personal favourite edible flower.

Finally,  the gorgeous Cornflower seedlings, yet to flower but worth the wait. Last year’s Cornflowers were stunning but I planted them too late to enjoy a full season. I have learned from that! Their edible petals look wonderful in a green salad.

Last year’s Cornflowers were stunning!

We watered everything in with some seaweed solution to help settle the seedlings in and stimulate growth.

The children love watering. If I let them they would keep going until the beds were flooded.

The final step was adding too many garden ornaments plus some rocks and broken terracotta pots.  This is to stop my dog and my chicken from digging up the new garden. The broken terracotta pots also offer lizards shelter from predators and a place to catch the sun while they keep the pest population under control.

The broken terracotta pot pieces offer lizards shelter from predators and a place to catch the sun while they keep the pest population under control.

Now it’s time for patience. Waiting to harvest is full of anticipation, but last year’s results reassure me that this crop will live up to expectations! Fingers crossed!

Last year’s harvest resulted in meals like this. The entire salad component was homegrown! Hoping to repeat this in 2020.

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