violets

Growing a food-producing garden doesn’t mean you have to only load your soil with fruits and veggies. When you plant fabulous edible flowers you can make use of extra space in your garden (or containers!) and add something a little different to your usual diet. You can munch on these three common blooms in salads, soups and even desserts! And, these hardy flowers are easy to grow for green thumbs and brown thumbs alike.

1. Nasturtiums

Quick-growing nasturtiums require little maintenance and are entirely edible. You can eat the stems, leaves, flowers and seeds. The blossoms and leaves taste like a spicy green and go well in salads. Plus, the leaves are packed with vitamin C and iron. You can even pickle the buds and use them like capers. Perfect for beginner gardeners, these vibrant flowers thrive in poor soil (that’s right!) and grow well in either full or partial sun. All you need to do is water them regularly. Use these hardy plants to fill bare areas in your garden or easily grow them from seeds in containers.

2. Violets

Although actually considered weeds, violets sprout pretty purple, white or yellow flowers that go well in everything from salads to desserts to jelly. The leaves are also edible and can add radish-like spiciness to a salad. Fitting for its status as a weed, violets grow easily and spread fast. They make excellent groundcovers. These delicate flowers prefer shade, but with plenty of watering can survive in full sun. Be careful to avoid look-a-likes as similar flowers can be poisonous.

3. Daylilies

These happy flowers have gone wild in almost every state in the U.S. All they require to grow is ample sunlight and regular watering. You may even have some growing in your yard with no help from you at all! Similar to squash blossoms, daylilies’ delicate petals taste mighty scrumptious battered and deep-fried. You can also add them to soups and salads or use them as an additional ingredient in Asian-themed dishes. Just be sure to eat them immediately as they go bad quickly. The unopened buds taste lovely sautéed with garlic and olive oil. And you can use daylilies’ tuberous roots in the same ways as you would potatoes. Keep in mind that most lilies aren’t edible. So make sure you’re eating a daylily!

image: kt.ries

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