During the recession there was a surge in the amount of people making the most of their garden space, opting to grow their own vegetables and fruit in order to save money. That trend has certainly remained, as does the trend of exploring the vast world of ‘grow your own’ experimenting with beautiful exotic vegetable growing and of course, edible flowers.
Flowers bring us joy, they look beautiful and many people love taking cuttings from their own garden and placing them in vases in the home, but most people don’t ever think of trimming the flowers and eating them.
Of course, there are many varieties of flower which are inedible, but there are just as many that offer a delightfully colourful, edible addition to your plate.
Why Grow Edible Flowers?
For many people, the thought of spending the time growing such a low yielding crop simply makes no sense, however, there are plenty of reasons edible flowers could be a great addition to your garden.
Fabulous For Small Gardens
If you’re challenged for space then it makes sense to try and make as much of your garden as possible edible. Think of it like ‘two for the price of one’. Why grow flowers that only bring viewing pleasure?
Grow flowers you can eat as well as admire! You only need a very small space to grow edible flowers as many of the plants yielding them are small and easily contained.
Double The Crops
Many vegetable plants actually have edible flowers, it’s just no one knows that because they tend to focus on growing the vegetable! Growing vegetables with edible flowers gives you double the crops, in fact the flowers often taste even better than the vegetable.
Rocket, radish, peas and beans all grow edible flowers and courgette flowers are a particularly beautiful treat, in fact you’ll find them on the menus of some of the country’s renowned restaurants stuffed with all sorts of delicious fillings
They Brighten Your Garden
Growing edible flowers enhances your vegetable garden, attracting many bees and butterflies which is great for wildlife in general, and for pollination.
Plus, it makes your entire garden look that bit more cheerful, which is never a bad thing.
Superb Pest Control
Many edible flowers are fantastic for companion planting, offering easy and natural pest control and enhanced fruit or vegetable flavour.
For example; planting borage beside strawberries makes them sweeter, and planting garlic chives beside carrots deters carrot root fly.
It’s so quick and easy to grow edible flowers, so you can enjoy doing it yourself without much effort at all. It’s also an ideal gardening activity to encourage the kids to enjoy with you because it’s so very quick and easy, they will see their hard work paying off in no time which will hopefully encourage them to take a keener interest in outdoor activities and the world around them.
Different Types Of Edible Flowers
So now you’ve decided to get on board the edible garden revolution, you’re going to need to know which blooms are good to eat. Here are some of the most popular edible flowers:
Basil – We all know and love the taste of this gorgeous herb, but many people don’t know the flowers are also edible. The flowers are more intense in flavour compared to the leaves and should be added sparingly to pasta sauces, salads and soups.
Begonia – These bright beauties are a wonderful Summer salad flower and have a beautiful crisp, lemon flavour. The petals work well as a fragrant salad garnish.
Chives – Another herb with a hidden bonus prize, the flowers on chives are both beautiful to look at and to eat. They have a mild onion flavour and work well in a number of dishes including pasta, omelettes and soup.
Daisy (Bellis Perennis) – The petals make the most gorgeous delicate garnishes and look wonderful on both savoury and sweet dishes.
Evening Primrose – Evening Primrose flowers taste just like lettuce, so are perfect for adding a splash of colour to any green salad.
Other popular edible flowers include; Fuchsia, Marigold, Nasturtium, Pansy, Poppy, Rose and Sunflower.
Remember to always double check a flower is edible before you eat it and check which parts are edible and how to prepare the flower before consuming. Happy growing!