…At least that is what I heard on the radio this week! But, say it isn’t so! Let’s be more optimistic, shall we? April showers bring MAY FLOWERS! Integrating flowers into your kitchen garden provides many benefits.
Edible flowers look beautiful and they attract beneficial pollinators to the garden. Plant them in with the vegetables, especially around fruiting plants that need cross-pollination of their male and female flowers like squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers. Then use them throughout the season to add flare to your cooking and cocktailing!
Here are a few flowers to try this season and ways to use them in the kitchen:
Nasturtiums come in a rainbow of colors and are easy to grow from seed. Use the flowers to decorate a pound cake!
Calendula have a variety of yellow and orange flowers that taste a little like saffron, use it in it’s place!
Echinachia is drought tolerant, so doesn’t mind our dry summers. The petals have a floral flavor and can be brewed into tea, hot or iced!
Violas can be white or a variety of blues and purple, make a simple syrup to color your cocktails!
Lavender buds are great in baking – try them in pie crusts, cookies, or even pancakes!
Chive flowers can add a pop of pink to any salad with a light onion flavor!
Borage flowers can be frozen into ice cubes for a fancy surprise in the glass!
Or use them all to turn a plain focaccia bread into a colorful canvas. With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless!
Don’t forget that you can let those cool season crops that tend to bolt once hot weather arrives (think cilantro, arugula, and other overwintered brassicas) hang out in the space and provide additional free flowers until you need the space for your next crop rotation.
The Tilth Alliance Edible Garden Sale, returns to the ‘hood this year! Head out to Meridian Park on May 6th-8th and stock up on all your edible garden needs. They always need volunteers too, so consider supporting this great organization!