Yes! Many flowers are edible. Take for instance roses. They taste just like their fragrance. A few petals added to a salad are beautiful, tasty, and aromatic. If you really want to make a splash, try daylilies or squash blossoms. Early spring flowers that you can eat include pansies, violas, and tulips.
Almost all herb flowers are edible and carry a slight taste of the parent plant. You can sprinkle chamomile, chervil, dill, fennel, rosemary, and thyme flowers on salads or main dishes, after they’ve been cooked. Lemonade with lavender blossoms steeped in it is delicious.
Some flowers are spicy, such as, marigolds (small flower variety only), nasturtiums, and chrysanthemums. Sprinkle the individual petals over the dish for little peppery surprises.
Wedding cakes decorated in edible flowers and leaves are stunningly beautiful. You’ll love the looks of amazement when you present any dish with flowers in it. Sometimes people find them too pretty to eat, though!
A few cautions, only eat flowers you know are safe, some flowers are poisonous. Also, only eat organically grown flowers. Pretty with pesticides isn’t very appetizing. Last, if you have any food or flower allergies, test a blossom or two before you dig in.
You open the door with a steaming cup of java in your hand. The air’s a little brisk, but warm enough to sit out. The first day, ah, what a wonderful feeling that is. You cross over to the lounge chair on the patio and are about to sit down, when suddenly you see the chair is filthy. You back away, glance around and see the ravages of the winter on your favorite outdoor space.
Now what to do? The furniture is dirty, the tiles scummy, the siding has green slime on it. Suddenly you’ve lost your appetite and sense of delight. Back inside you take account through the window and bemoan losing that first glorious day.
A quick search of the Internet shows that there are many companies that specialize in returning your outdoor oasis to it original state. They’ll come and do pressure power washing austin to your siding, and power patio furniture cleaning austin, as well. They also perform saltillo tile cleaning austin, as well as ceramic tile sealing austin.
So, go ahead and enjoy that cup of java, as you call a company close to you, to come spring clean your summer outdoor retreat. Then add it to your calendar so that next year everything will be ready for that first glorious day.
Unless your soil is perfectly balance and rich in nutrients you need to fertilize periodically. How much and when depends on your soil and climate. All fertilizers have a row of numbers listed on, them some with a letter in front of each. These letters are symbols for the nutrient content of that particular fertilizer.
N is always first on the list. This is for nitrogen. Nitrogen helps keep plants green. It helps the plants produce and maintain chlorophyll, which they need in abundance to take up nutrients. If you are wanting lush green growth look for a high number in this space.
P, the second letter, stands for phosphorus. Phosphorus is for strong roots and good blooms. Use a fertilizer with a high phosphorus number for plants that you grow for their blooms, or for more fruits.
Last is K. K stands for potassium or potash. This nutrient is needed for general well-being of the plant.
Most organic fertilizers will have lower numbers than their chemical counterparts, but they work very well. NPK is only part of what a plant needs. There are tons of micro-nutrients that they need as well, many of which can only be found in organic fertilizers.
The most important thing to remember is that more is not better with fertilizers. You can easily burn or kill your plants with too much “tender loving care.” Just follow the directions. For seedlings use 1/2 to 1/4 strength fertilizer, as they are very tender at this stage.
OK, we’ve talked about a lot of different plants, but you don’t have anyplace to put them. Now what? If you haven’t already done so, get busy putting together you landscape plan. If you did it earlier, decide where to start and get busy.
Things to consider when placing gardens and hardscapes are, how much sun and shade does the area get? Which direction does the wind come from most of the time? Do you have any low lying areas or wet patches? Also, for food crops how convenient is it to the door? You’re less likely to actually eat from you garden if it a hike just to get to it. Herbs should be grown as close to the kitchen as possible so you can run out and take a snip of this or that herb, fresh for each meal.
Most important are your needs and wants, keeping in mind your budget. Remember it was suggested that you start small and get comfortable with that, then expand. Expanding a little each year will keep gardening a joy, instead of turning it into a chore.
Yippee, first broccoli of the year! I planted a few plants very late last fall and they managed to winter through. Today I cut the main stalks on them and we added that to our mid-day meal. It’s great to be eating from our own garden, even if only intermittently.
Here’s what I fixed. Pardon the approximations, I don’t measure much when I cook.
1 med zucchini, shredded
2 c broccoli florets, chopped
1 cup snow peas, chopped
1.5 cups chopped Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
Put in a bowl and mix together.
¼ c sesame oil
2 T toasted sesame oil
¼ cup water
1 large pinch asafetida (hing)
2 T dried basil
2 pinches cayenne pepper
2 T peanut butter
1-2 tsp tamari
Juice of ½ to ¾ lemon
3 T sweetener (Sucanat)
1. Cook up some noodles. Soba noodles are great, cause they cook in just 8 minutes!
2. Place soba noodles in individual bowls. Drizzle some sauce over the noodles. Place veggies on noodles, drizzle rest of sauce over noodles. No need to cook the veggies. Serve while still warm.
3. Super fast, tasty and nutritious.
One thing that even seasoned growers knows is to resist the urge to buy all the pretty flowers when you arrive at the nursery in the spring. Growers know that we’re suckers for anything in full bloom, so they make sure they ship the plants just as they’re about to burst forth. They’ll even have plants available that don’t usually bloom in that season, just to entice you.
Look at the plants needs: sun/shade, water needs, bloom time (annuals bloom all summer, die at first frost), color, height, and width. A one-gallon pot can be deceiving, because a mature plant may cover 3-6 feet. Also, plants usually grow taller once they’ve been put in the ground. So, that nice short pink flower may actually grow to 2-3 feet once it gets its roots in the ground.
Get a list of invasive plants for your area and DON’T buy any of them. Nurseries will still sell plants that have been deemed invasive, especially the “big box” type nurseries, because what is invasive in one area is not in another.
It’s best to have your garden all planned out. How tall the back or center plants need to be, what colors you would like and try for a mix of bloom times, as perennials usually don’t bloom the entire summer. Mix in a few annuals for continuous blooms and you can have a very successful garden.
If you’re a newbie to gardening you probably don’t have any tools to help you out. I’ve planted with just a spoon before, but that’s not much fun. Here are a few of my must have items.
- Trowel – Made from a solid piece of metal. If it has a joint it will eventually break.
- Spade – Buy stainless steel if you can afford it. I’ve had mine for over 10 years and it looks like new.
- Garden fork – Stainless steel again, if possible.
- Hoses – Enough to be able to reach all gardens.
- Quick Connections for hoses and watering devices. Saves a ton of time.
- Watering wand – One good one with different spray patterns, at least. If you can, one for each spigot.
- Pruning shears – Get good quality, for cutting small woody branches.
- Small nippers – For cutting softer stems.
- Scissors – For cutting flowers, string, etc.
- Plant labels and indelible pen. I haven’t found an indelible pen that works very well, but something that will last the season. Sharpies are OK, but not great.
- Garden apron or bucket – To pack tools around.
- Garden cart – Get a small one if you are small. Lugging around a big old cart can really take the fun out of gardening. I particularly like this cart. It is for lightweight work. I just replaced one that I bought around 15 years ago, so they can last if taken care of.
- Kneeling pad – Protects you knees from rocks and prickly plants.
- Hat – Protects from skin cancer and heat exhaustion.
- Gloves – Protects hands from dirt, and prickly plants. I have two pair. One that is cotton knit with dots on it so I can grab things better. The other is an amazing pair of leather gloves for working on plants that can do damage such as roses, berry bushes, autumn olive, etc.
You got a little excited and started planting early. What to do when the weatherman says it is going to freeze? If it really caught you by surprise, then grab every available towel and sheet and cover as many of the tender plants as you can. Those that are located farthest from the house or on the north side first. South side plants will stay the warmest and foundation plants get protection from the house, as well as some of the heat radiating from it.
If you have any super tender plants, such as basil or tomatoes, already in the ground try to use something heavier than a sheet. Towels, blankets, or old mattress covers work well. Over time you can get yourself a stash of these and keep them in your garage or garden shed.
Another thing you can do, if it isn’t going to get too cold, is buy garden cloth to use for the entire spring season. Sometimes you can continue to use it into the summer to shade plants that are getting too much sun, or to protect from pests during their peak. You can even put up permanent hoops to attach the row cover material over, to keep it off the plants, giving them even more protection.
Talked a little bit about this earlier in getting to know your soil, but this applies to plants, too. Some plants like it very alkaline, some like it more neutral, some a little acidic and yet other very acidic. Try not to intermix these different needs too much or it gets nearly impossible to fertilize the plants correctly. Also, if you know your soil is of a particular type, then buying plants that work well with that soil type makes it much easier.
Also, avoid mixing watering needs too much. Again plants go from needing little water, to needing their roots to stay damp or even wet. Understanding what the plant needs before you buy it can save a lot of heartache and special care.
OK, you’ve got all the plants home. Now what? It can help to draw out a diagram. If you can do it to scale, all the better.
Plants should be located 1-2 feet away from the house, in order to allow air circulation. This needs to be done for their mature size. If you have a plant that is going to be 6’ around at the base you need to divide by 2, cause half will be in front and then add two feet to that for the proper location of the trunk of the plant. So, 6’/2 = 3’ + 2’ from house = 5 ‘. The stem or trunk of the plant should be 5’ from the house.
Now that may look a little funny to begin with, if you bought smaller plants, but over a few years everything will fill in nicely. During that grow in time plant annuals around the base of the shrubs to fill in, so it doesn’t look so sparce.
Place the plants where they are going to be planted, step back and make sure you like what you see. If not rearrange or replace with something that looks appealing to you.
Planting is fairly easy, if they are small. Dig a hole twice as big around as the pot. If it is a 6” pot then you need to dig a 1’ hole. Dig it only as deep as the original pot. Remove from the pot and place the shrub in the hole add a good organic fertilizer that is appropriate for the type of plant you’re putting in and fill the hole back in. Recent studies have shown you should not fill the hole with a loamy mix. The plant then won’t spread their roots outside the hole and they eventually girdle themselves and die. Just fill with regular soil.
Mulch around the bottom to help retain water and then patiently wait for the house to start to look really settled and permanent.