Tips for Growing Edible Flowers and Herbs

Growing your own edible flowers and herbs may seem like a strange idea at first, but the truth is you will never get any fresher produce than from your own garden. The produce in supermarkets in the US travels an average of 800 miles, and most of it is heavily laden with pesticides. Starting your own organic garden can mean saving money and better health if you follow a few simple tips.

Herbs

Herbs can be grown on your window sill, or outdoors in a large garden. The important thing to decide before you start is what you wish to plant. Think about the herbs and spices you use regularly and then determine if they would do well in the available space you have. Typical herbs for a starter garden might include oregano, basil, mint, sage, rosemary, and so on.

Depending on how much you use fresh, you might end up with leftover herbs for drying. In this case, you can dry them in an oven at a low temperature. Cool and store in an air-tight container and use as needed. The heating process will remove some of the vitamin content, but you can still get plenty of healthy phytochemicals (plant-based nutrients) from the dried.

When using fresh herbs versus dry, dry will usually be three times stronger, so use sparingly. Store in a cool, dry place to help lengthen their shelf life.

Edible Flowers

Take the time to taste edible flowers so you will discover which flavors you prefer. Then start to think about how to incorporate them into recipes. Some will be sweet, others spicy and pungent. Another thing to consider is planting for different seasons, so you have a steady supply all year round. Some flowers will actually be able to stand up to the cold weather.

Check which ones flower the most often, to give you a steady supply of produce. Think about colors as well. The flowers can be used for contrasting color in salads, for example, or elegant garnishes for a range of dishes, drinks and desserts.

They can be frozen in water to make ice cubes to add to clear drinks. Certain varieties can be candied and eaten as is, or added to desserts for decoration. Knowing what you will use them for can help you choose the right flowers and colors.

Going Organic

One of the best things about growing your own produce is the rich flavor, with no worries about harmful pesticides. There are natural ways to repel insects without dumping a chemical factory on your food.

Get Your Soil Analyzed

If you have a garden, bring a soil sample to your local nursery or garden center to get it analyzed. Once you know what type of soil you have, you can discuss your best options with the experts there.

Sun versus Shade

Some plants thrive in bright sunshine, while others need a bit more shade. If you are planning a window ledge garden or a window box, check the direction the window is facing to see how much sun the plants can expect.

In your garden, check the movement of the sun and plant the ones that love sun in the brightest parts of your garden.

Drainage of Soil

All plants need water, but some need it more than others. If there are any areas where puddles tend to form, these are not well-drained. In terms of container gardens, planting them in layers with drainage pebbles, for example, can stop your herbs and plant from getting soggy and moldy. If they go moldy, they will not be edible.

Growing edible flowers and herbs can make boring recipes exciting, and will inspire you to think of new ones too. Just follow these tips to be sure of success in your harvest.  

Categories: Edible Flowers