JF Blooms – Planting Herbs and Edible Flowers10 Min.
Spring seems to have finally (finally) arrived in the frozen northeast, we are celebrating with a new blog series; JF Blooms, focusing on all things green and growing. Stacey Scontras of Seabury Fine Gardening + Design has offered her expertise for this series and we are thrilled to have her on board. In this first edition of JF Blooms, we are looking at planting herbs and edible flowers, these fragrant, tasty plants will provide beauty and flavor throughout the growing season.
Before you get started. Herbs and edible flowers grow very well in containers or pots, choosing the right pot for your plant is key. Stacey recommends choosing pots that are at least 2” wider and deeper than nursery pots, and will accommodate mature size of the herb. Once you’ve found the right size, check that your pot has drainage holes in the bottom so that the plants do not get waterlogged.
Choose your herbs.
• Basil – leaf
• Parsley – leaf
• Chives – leaf and flower
• Cilantro – leaf and flower
• Mint – leaf and flower
• Oregano – leaf and blossom
• Sage – leaf and flower
• Thyme – leaf and flower
Choose your edible flowers
• Bachelor’s Button: Mild and sweet
• Borage: Mild cucumber flavor.
• Calendula: Tangy, slightly bitter.
• Marigold: Spicy, citrusy.
• Nasturtium: Spicy, peppery.
• Salvia viridis: Slightly sweet.
• Sunflower: Bittersweet.
• Viola: Mild Wintergreen flavor
Use the flowers as garnishes, or stuff the blossoms with soft cheese. Many flowers can be minced and added to butters and the immature seed heads can be pickled. Nasturtiums are a popular choice for adding color to salad mix or can be used as a garnish on dessert. Borage flowers can be dropped into water and frozen into ice cubes to be used in summer cocktails.
“Never harvest flowers growing by the roadside. Identify the flower exactly and eat only edible flowers and edible parts of those flowers. Pick early in the day. Use them as soon as possible, or refrigerate on moist paper towel on shallow dish.”
Prepare your pots for planting. Potting mixes (soilless media) work very well in container gardening because they are light, disease-free, weed/seed-free, and have good drainage. Some potting mixes have pre-mixed plant nutrients but it is very important to read the information on the label about how long the pre-mixed nutrients will support plant growth before you start applying organic fertilizers.
Keeping your plants healthy and happy. Stacey knows all the magic tricks to help plants thrive, for those of us who may be challenged in that area, she has given me her top tips for plant longevity.
- Don’t throw shade! Most vegetables and annual flowers need full sun for healthy
growth. This means locating your containers in areas that receive at least six hours of light.
- Water as needed. Proper watering is essential for container garden success. Container plants dry out much faster than when in the ground. Water plants in the morning, thoroughly (until water runs out the bottom) and whenever the planting material feels dry to the touch.
- Feed your plants. Eventually, the existing nutrients in a plant mix will leach out and/or be used by the growing plant. When needed, use an organic water-soluble fertilizer as the plants grow. Apply according to package directions. It is important to follow the recommended rate, since applying too much can cause fertilizer burn and kill plants.
- Harvest. Beyond looking beautiful, enjoy your delicious organic herbs and flowers as desired.
Who is Stacey Scontras:
Professional Horticulturist, Designer, Master Gardener, member APLD (Association of Professional Landscape Designers), MELNA (Maine Landscape and Nursery Association), and member AHLP (Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation).
“My love for gardening began in my Grandmother’s garden. Plants and a sense of place bring us pleasure, peace and can provide us with a much-needed pause from our increasingly busy lives. I am honored to be a part of the journey outside.”
Seabury Fine Gardening + Design www.seaburyfinegardening.com