Posts Tagged ‘Edible Flowers’

Edible Flowers

I just got a newsletter update from the Phoenix-based Agriscaping with Justin Rohner. We have snow on the ground here in Indiana, and I know much of the East Coast is undergoing “Snowmageddon.” Who doesn’t like flowers, though? If you live in a warmer climate zone, you can grow these now. If you’re shivering inside, you can start planning for spring or just enjoy the virtual blooms:

Last Night’s Dinner!

salads

Almost too pretty to eat, but glad we did. πŸ™‚ Everything came from our garden, except these particular beets and carrots, which I had purchased at the local Farmers Market on Saturday. Edible flowers and fresh herbs make summer salads extra fun! Shown here: calendula, nasturtiums and chamomile.

Sweet Potato Salads and Other Joyful Things

Well, we still have power, and the irs.gov website still indicates its advanced warning of many pages’ inaccessibility due to “a power outage” from 4:00 p.m. November 9 – 7:00 a.m. November 12. Although some areas did go down yesterday, we’re still wired in today in Goshen. Who knows what’s up and when? According to an increasing number of folks, “It Is Not a Matter of If, but When the Lights Go Out.” Maybe so, maybe not. Meanwhile, I’m feeling mighty joyful due to some of the silliest and simplest things: sweet potatoes, flower pot heaters and coolers, and a brand new thermos, among other things.

Let’s start with the sweet potato salads, because they’re just pretty. And delicious. Here are two different batches I made recently — the first was last night (hummus, mixed greens, leftover sweet potato ‘fries’ and microgreens) and the next two photos were from a few weeks ago when I made hummus-sweet-potato-nasturtium-calendula salads on a bed of greens. I do love edible flowers! Plus, the sweet potato complements the slightly spicy, savory hummus so well, and fresh greens make everything yummy:

Sweet Potato Hummus and Microgreens

Sweet Potato and Flower Salad

Sweet Potato and Flower Salad 4

Moving on to the flower pot heaters and coolers. I’d heard of these before, but was reminded of them again last night. Although we have kerosene heaters for emergencies — along with lemon essential oil to make them smell better — I’d much rather make some of these. In fact, I shared the idea with David’s sister, and she’s going to make a few for their lovely back porch that normally gets closed up in the winter due to no heating vents. Simple, cozy, and full of candlelight:

You can also make a flower pot fridge:

Oh, how the faery in me loves off-grid flower pot fun!

And now for the most unexpectedly joyful part of yesterday. I bought two Stanley thermos bottles, because I had heard that you could cook rice in them, and I also thought it would be a great way to keep water hot or warm for an extended period of time with only one boiling. For some reason, I am over the moon with these thermos bottles! David thinks it’s because I never really had a thermos as a kid, except the cheapo lunchbox variety. I suspect it’s residual from reading The Vegan Lunchbox blog from 2005-2006. I think everyone who followed that blog secretly wanted to be little Schmoo with his goodie-filled bento box and thermos of homemade soup!

More recently, I’ve seen some Amish men riding their bikes with a big Stanley tied to the back. “What’s in there,” I wonder! I am continually fascinated by the Amish, and I love trading recipes, tips and gardening ideas with our Amish friends. (444 word count right then. As Doreen Virtue explains, “444 β€” Thousands of angels surround you at this moment, loving and supporting you. You have a very strong and clear connection with the angelic realm, and are an Earth angel yourself. You have nothing to fearβ€”all is well.”)

Anyway, yesterday, I decided to buy two Stanley thermos bottles — one’s a 2-quart stainless steel thermos that keeps things hot for 24 hours; the other, plastic one was about 1/4 the cost and keeps 1.5 quarts hot for 12 hours. I tested the larger one by filling it with half a gallon of boiling water early yesterday afternoon, and it was still piping hot over 16 hours later.

We don’t eat many grains, but I love the idea of soaking my brown rice overnight — which I do with leftover “starter” from the soak water of previous rice, in order to remove as much phytic acid as possible — and then, instead of spending 45-minutes worried about bubbling over pots, just pouring boiling water over soaked rice in a thermos and letting it sit for 6-12 hours. Yes, that takes more planning, but it takes almost no electricity, and no fussing over the stove. It’s a perfect solution for grid-down scenarios, everyday energy conservation, and those hot summer nights when you want rice, but really don’t want to heat up your kitchen.

Apparently, you can make all sorts of things in a Stanley thermos, including split pea soup from dried peas! I would modify the linked recipe without the ham, but yum! In fact, this Boat Galley site offers some really cool ideas for cooking (and living) with minimal energy, space, water and options. I never thought about it, because I’m not a boater, but living on a boat requires hauling in your own water and propane, minimal electrical options, and that results in some creative energy efficiency ideas.

Given how much I love this planet, I always enjoy finding ways to walk a little lighter, consume a bit less, require less transportation … . Growing much of my own food and supporting local farmers not only tastes amazingly fresh and saves money and transportation resources … it’s also beautiful and deeply satisfying, especially the edible flowers! πŸ˜‰ And the flower pot appliances? I don’t know, but it makes me giddy to know all the amazing things one can do with flower pots in addition to growing herbs and flowers. The stainless steel Stanley thermos takes the cake, though. I’ve been on cloud nine ever since I bought that thing. Just sharing the joy, bizarre though it may seem.

Thermoses

Garden Update: Flowers Galore!

The garden says it’s time for another installment, because the morning glories have finally begun to bloom!

We have purple *and* solid white blooms now.

We have purple *and* solid white blooms now.

This is perhaps the most exciting development for David and me, since every morning for over a month we have not so patiently watched the morning glories climb the trellises outside our downstairs southern window:

morning glories

If you’ve ever wondered about the innate intelligence of plants, I suggest growing morning glories. Those vines seem to know exactly where the next attachment point exists, even if it’s over a foot away. Although we’ve been waiting with baited breath for the blooms to arrive, we’ve really enjoyed our morning ritual of seeing what those vines have done overnight. I saved these seeds from our place in Madison, where they came in all purple. I’m excited to see if the differences in soil wind up giving us a variety of colors instead of just the purple, which, admittedly, I love. Still, it was exciting to see a pure white bloom this morning, too.

In other news, we now have a sunflower, with many more promising to burst forth soon:

Lemon Queen Sunflowers

Lemon Queen Sunflowers

This is an heirloom “Lemon Queen” variety, whose packet indicated 4-5 feet tall. Ummmm, despite the fact that I only provided about 6 inches of soil on top of the landscape cloth out front, these guys are now closer to eight feet and climbing! They must have thrust a tap root through the cloth. If you look closely, you can see that each stalk has multiple arms and heads. We will soon have sunflowers at all sorts of heights and locations — perfect for indoor cuttings. I planted this particular variety with an eye towards bringing the occasional sunflower to David’s mom, so that she can enjoy them inside her home. πŸ™‚

In other flower and fruiting news, I’ve already harvested more tomatoes than we need, giving them away to neighbors, friends and David’s parents, and we’ve got calendula and zinnias happily growing with tomatoes, kale, oregano, chard and French sorrel:

calendula

One of the zinnias I grew from seed has finally made it to flowering:

zinnia

You can see it above living happily with another variety of zinnias, salvia from my friend, Martha, dill, marigolds, Swiss chard, thyme, red geraniums, and green onions. This heirloom variety offers multiple colors “too many to list,” but I love that it came in fuschia, like so many of the plants people have given me. We now have hot pink/fuschia yarrow, echinacea and campion roses — all free, all fun — and now fuschia zinnias, as well.

The garden is growing so fast that I recently had to booby trap it with outlying stakes and twine. My tomatoes were beginning to crush my dwarf Siberian kale whenever the wind blew. I think I fed my tomato seedlings too many coffee grounds, because they are incorrigible! I prune those leafy branches almost daily, and yet they’re still enormous and still produce tons of tomatoes.

Booby trapped tomatoes, grape vines and a cucumber blossom

Booby trapped tomatoes, grape vines and a cucumber blossom

In the world of squash and melons in crates, we’ve got some seemingly happy campers:

Jubilee watermelon with two teeny, tiny fruits

Jubilee watermelon with two teeny, tiny fruits

Pride of Wisconsin cantaloupe

Pride of Wisconsin cantaloupe

Boston Marrow squash climbing the trellis

Boston Marrow squash climbing the trellis

The acorn squash look less lively. As mentioned in a previous post, I had originally planted them two per crate. They looked great until they reached a certain size and then both began to suffer. I got the message to sacrifice one per crate for the greater good, but I waited too long. I now have only one left, but it seems to be making a valiant effort at recovery. In place of the other acorn squash crate, I’ve now moved the Moon and Stars watermelon/nettle crate to a trellis. I have zero idea if this will work! Those fruits supposedly grow to 15-40 pounds, and I doubt those spindly little vines can support them. I will make slings if/when I see fruit. This plant was a surprise, as I had given up on the Moon and Stars seeds sprouting and long since repurposed those crates for nettles. Lo and behold, a watermelon plant showed up, growing well even in the shade. I decided to give it a fighting chance in the sun, trellised above the poison ivy it would have otherwise twined itself around. We shall see!

We’ve also added a little water feature in our backyard — a handmade (by a neighbor a few streets up) leaf birdbath:
leaf birdbath

I haven’t actually seen any birds use it yet, but David assures me they’re sneaking baths when I’m not looking. Maybe so! In any case, it’s a non-toxic, sparkly addition to the rest of our flowers and faery bling, and it sure makes the stump look festive.

Not shown in today’s installment: newly transplanted Saint John’s Wort plants from a friend who needed them out of her asparagus bed, along with some newly transplanted catnip from the same garden. They’re adapting to their new home, but not exactly photo ready yet. The front yard herb garden is also growing like ka-razy, but I’ll save those photos until some of the lavender buds actually open.

Cheers and Happy Summer!

Happy Beltane Eve!

Today I had one of those afternoons that reminds me of being a little girl. I spent time with my favorite 82-year-old friend in Goshen at her lovely lakefront home. Before heading over there, I had a real flashback to childhood May Day celebrations when, for some reason, I always felt compelled to gather violets into old strawberry baskets handwoven and tied with ribbons, delivering these in the predawn hours on neighbors’ porches. This afternoon, I gathered a salad full of wild violet leaves and flowers for David and me, but then picked another bag to gift to my friend. This extra bag of edible flowers and nature’s tender “lettuce” was an even bigger hit than her requested bag of dandelion greens!

Dandelions

Salad with violets

Unbeknownst to me as a little girl, May Day represents a celebration of flowers and ribbons, and Beltane’s fire festival honors the Earth in preparation for an abundant growing season. Looking out on our wild new yard today, I saw a meadow in full bloom with a harvest I didn’t plant. When we lived in Madison, we had a couple wild violet plants that barely flowered yet still allowed for occasional salad touches. We had both longed for more violets than we knew what to do with. Well! Ask and you shall receive. The below photo shows only a tiny portion of the violets currently dancing their purple and white flowers around our yard:

Wild violets in our yard

To my surprise, we also have the tulips I mentally requested in the dead of winter:

tulips

Squirrels or someone with a quirky sense of natural style planted tulips and daffodils in the strangest places around our property. I’ve enjoyed watching them burst into color along with the dandelions, violets and creeping Charlie. Speaking of plants responding to my mental requests, today, my 82-year-old friend gave me three blackberry canes to replant in our yard. That request only just went out! We now have blackberries working double duty as fruit bearers and bramble discouragement to people cutting through our yard. Our landlord is working on the back fence for squash and melons as I type, and tomorrow we will actually put soil into the raised beds.

This yard will take some major work to turn into the wild, permaculture, medicinal, 4-season garden, faery haven in my mind. I have spent weeks hauling mulch from huge piles into foot deep beds and hugelkultur in various spots across the yard. Mulch is freakin’ heavy!!!! This weekend, I had just begun to wonder if I am not completely off my rocker to have taken on such an ambitious project, but the colorful bursts of flowers and huge harvests of free greens have changed my tune. I remembered that I made a pact with the Spirits of the Land to honor this forgotten piece of property and love it into a productive, beautiful, healing relationship with humans. I can feel the faeries smiling. Our yard is wild, but happy right now. And so am I.

Beltane Blessings and Happy May Day!

Salad with flowers