Last year I had an edible flower class out here on the mini-farm. The garden looked so beautiful. I normally grow flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial bugs but had the bonus of edible flowers as well. I liked mixing them within some of the crops. Nice to remember how beautiful it was considering the garden is sleeping now. Here are some photos from it.
Here are some pics of my garden this year. Now that we are in September, I wanted to capture it in all it’s glory before it’s gone. I’ve worked hard tweaking out the infrastructure with new framed beds and weed barriers and wood chips in the paths this year. Having retired from the Santa Fe Farmers Market two seasons ago has allowed me to do more in the garden. I also added some perennial fruit like raspberries and blackberries since I don’t need space for 125 tomato plants anymore! By mid-October or sooner, it will be toast with the first frost so might as well enjoy it while I have it. I have an abundance of flowers this year that I grew for my edible flower class and besides being beautiful and edible, they attract many beneficial insects and pollinators. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
I love my zinnias in my vegetable garden. They are so beautiful and I love the new streaked varieties. They are a double zinnia and are so interesting to look at and the pollinators like them. I know if I was a bee, I would visit them!
They are also an edible flower-check out this article on eating them and recipes at: arcadiafarms.net
Today I planted my Peredovik Black Oil Sunflower Seed from Russia. They are the black oil sunflower seeds that the birds love to eat and this is the variety that is in your bird seed mix that you buy in the store. They are particularly good because they are high in natural fat giving the birds energy. This makes them the best choice of sunflower for feeding birds although the birds love all varieties of sunflower seeds.
I got mine for 2016 from Southern Seed Exchange and can’t wait for them to come up. Just plant like any other sunflower seed mixed in your garden with other flowers. They have multiple heads on each stalk. They won’t be as tall as some of the giant sunflowers usually reaching 4-5 feet tall but it’s nice to know I’m helping the birds. After they flower, I leave the heads on and it’s fun to watch the birds eat them right off the plant in the fall. I leave them well into winter where the wild birds will continue to get the seeds out of the heads.
Today I volunteered at the first Homegrown New Mexico tour of 6 homes featuring vegetable gardens, potagers and chicken coops. I can’t say how impressed I am with this organization. First, they picked some fantastic examples in our city. The tour was incredibly organized AND they are only 5 months old. Phew! A big chunk to bite off and they did it extraordinarily well. At every site I got several ideas that I will want to incorporate into my own gardens. Here are some of the things I particularly enjoyed. Great job to all!
This Sunday, May 1 is International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day where people all around the world will go out and plant some sunflower seeds in a public or private place that needs beautifying this summer. Look for places that have bare ground and maybe a drip system where you can plant the seeds next to a drip emitter so the seeds have a chance. Also try not to plant them where they may be cut down by a someone who might think they are weeds. Guerrilla gardening is done to beautify otherwise neglected areas. You may be brazen or secretive about your planting. Let’s make this an annual event!
For anyone interested, I will supply FREE sunflower seeds on this Sunday, May 1 for you plant. Come gather at Liquid Light Glass located at 926 Baca Street #3 here in Santa Fe, NM. Show up at 12:30 to get your seeds and everyone leaves at 1pm to go plant. Oh, and don’t forget your trowel!
Afterward if you want, add your experience and where you planted on the ‘Comments’ section of this post for all to read. Later this summer when they flower, take a picture and send it to me and I will print it in a post with others! Hope to see you Sunday! May the force be with you!
Here are some ideas of where to plant (feel free to add your own):
1. On medians that the city takes care of
2. In the parks
3. In empty dirt lots
4. On the Plaza (you’ll have to be sneaky)
5. On dirt streets or street corners
6. In church lots
7. At state building grounds
8. By the courthouses
9. At the museums
10. on school grounds
11. At restaurant grounds
13. You think of somewhere-be creative and let me know!
FINAL 2011 SEED LISTS (updated)
I’ve researched and updated the seed list I posted earlier about a month ago and thought some of you might like to know where I buy either the seeds or in some cases, the plants ready to transplant here in Santa Fe. So first I created a legend with abbreviations for each seed/nursery and then put them at the end of each seed listed. Hope this makes it easier for you so you don’t have to figure it out. I also show which tomatoes Amy Goldman’s ‘The Heirloom Tomato’ book recommends which I use as my ‘tomato bible’! I’ve put this in my page section called ‘Seed Lists’ at the top of the blog for later reference.
Here is the legend:
AFN-Agua Fria Nursery (plants)-1409 Agua Fria Street/Santa Fe, NM/505-983-4831
SFGH–Santa Fe Greenhouse (plants)-2904 Rufina Street/Santa Fe, NM/505-473-2700
BH– Baker Heirloom (seeds)
SSE– Seed Saver Exchange (seeds)
JSKG–John Scheepers Kitchen Garden
KS–Kitazawa Seed (seeds)
WCS–West Coast Seeds (seeds)
CG–Cooks Garden (seeds)
TF–Tomato Fest (seeds)
TG–Tomato Growers (seeds)
TT–Totally Tomatoes (seeds)
*AG/San Marzano-red plum/80 days/AFN (plants) or BH, SSE, (seeds)
Striped German-bicolor-SFGH (plants)
*AG/Gold Medal-bicolor-75-80 days-BH (seeds)
*AG/Ananas Noir-recommended by friend-BH, SSE (seeds)
BLACK OR PURPLE
Paul Robeson-black/75-85 days-AFN (plants)
Cherokee Purple/80 days-AFN (plants)
*AG/Pantano Romanesco-red/70-80 days-BH,TF(seeds)
*AG/Costoluto Genovese-red/78 days-TG(seeds)
*AG/Goldsman Italian American-red-BH (seeds)
*AG/Black Cherry-black/75 days-AFN (plants)
*AG/Green Grape-green/AFN (plants) or SSE (seeds)
HYBRIDS-I grow a few hybrids
Lemon Boy–AFN (plants)
Park’s Beefy Boy-red-70 days-AFN (plants)
Sun Sugar-yellow cherry-62 days-TT (seeds)
* AG-recommended by Amy Goldsman’s book, ‘The Heirloom Tomato’
2011 VEGGIE LIST
BEANS–Rattlesnake bean snap OG (remarkably flavored pole bean)-SSE (seeds)
PEPPER–Shishito (Japanese non hot pepper)-AFN (plants) or KS(seeds)
SUMMER SQUASH-ZUCCHINI–Costata Romanesco (best tasting zuke around)-BH (seeds)
WINTER SQUASH- Galeux d’ Eyesines and Red Warty Thing (that’s what it’s called!)-BH (seeds)
EGGPLANT-Fairy Tale (best sweet, no bitter taste and soft skin eggplant I’ve tasted)-AFN (plants) or TS (seeds)
CUCUMBERS–Parisian Pickling, De Bourbonne, Boothsby Blonde, Poona Kheera, Armenian and Parade– I grow cukes for either taste or which variety is best for different types of pickles-all BH (seeds) except Parade-SSE (seeds)
CORN-not this year (I’ll get it from our Farmers Market)
LETTUCES–Provencal Mix, Mesclun Mix, Buttercrunch, Yugoslavian Red, Santoro Lettuce, and Little Gem-CG (seeds)
CARROTS-Purple Haze CG (seeds) and Scarlet Nantes-SSE (seeds)
BOK CHOY-Extra Dwarf Pak Choy-BH (seeds)
CHARD-5 Color Silverbeet-SSE (seeds) and Argentata Swiss Chard-JSKG (seeds)
PEAS-Dwarf Sugar Gray-SSE, Oregon Spring II-BH (seeds)
2011 GIANT PUMPKINS & GIANT VEGGIE LIST
2010 GIANT PUMPKINS–all came from private growers
895 Grande 08 (1016 Daletas x 1385 Jutras)
421 Cabossel (895 Grande x self )
1046 Grande 10 (901 Hunt x 1385 Jutras)
GIANT GREEN SQUASH–all came from private grower
903 Noel 07 (848 McKenzie x self)
GIANT MARROW (like giant Zucchini)-all came from private growers
206.5 Wursten 09 or 75.4 Wursten 09
43 Cabossel 10
7.18 N. Harp 09 (5.58 Timm x open)-private grower
5.416 N, Harp 09 (5.58 Harp x open)-private grower
Big Zac/TT (seeds)
GIANT PEAR GOURD–private grower
89 Scherber 10
LONG GOURD–private grower
96″ Scherber 10
Titan-SSE, BH (seeds)
2011 EDIBLE FLOWER LIST
Following is the list of edible flowers that will be planted or are already on the property:
Calendula-Orange King-BH (seeds)
Lavender (in existing different area)
Marigold-Lemon Gem-TS (seeds) this is the only edible marigold
Nasturtiums-Tip Top -CG (seeds)-prettiest nasturiums
Pansies-get them anywhere
Violas-get them anywhere
Roses (in different existing area)
Black Oil Seed sunflower (for the birds!)-WCS (seeds)
2011 HERBS-Following is a list of herbs that will be planted or exist on the property
Basil-new SHGH (plants)
Lime Basil-new-SFGH (plants)
Thai Basil-new-SFGH (plants)
Dill-usually self seeds
2011 EDIBLE FLOWER LIST
There are many flowers that are edible and beautiful either in regular garden or vegetable garden. I like to put all kinds of flowers in the veggie garden—some pollinators, attractors, and edible. I like the entrance to the veggie garden beautiful. Following is the list of edible flowers that will be planted or are already on the property:
Lavender (in existing different area)
Nasturtiums-Alaska Tip Top
Roses (in different existing area)
Black Oil Seed sunflower (for the birds!)
I just came back from the bird store where I got some black oil sunflower seeds for my wild birds when I thought why not grow my own for next year? My favorite sunflower up to now has been the Titan sunflower which is a striped seed and is not a black oil seed. Black oil seeds compared to striped sunflower seeds have a higher oil content and are meatier for birds. They are also easier for small birds to crack open. I already cut off the sunflower heads from sunflowers for birds so why not give them what is really good for them. One variety of black oil sunflower seed that I found is Peredovik Black Oil Sunflower Seed from Russia. In 2016 you can get it at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. You can also just plant the black oil seed you get in your birdseed. I read that the sunflowers grow from 3-6 feet tall. So this year I’m going to add them in with my other sunflowers that I grow for a treat for the wild birds.
Hmm, now I wonder if I can grow that real expensive finch seed, Nyger? I’ll have to look into that! It is super expensive but I don’t know if it will grow here. I’ll get back to you on that one..
2014 update: Try to grow some from your birdseed mix but if yours don’t grow from your birdseed, go to the site above to buy some that will germinate. This is the most current seed company to buy from.
The other Purslane, Portulaca oleracea, is considered a common weed in most of the U.S but did you know it is also edible? Look how different it looks from the cultivated types I just posted about. I want to write about both aspects of it as a food source and also as a weed. Purslane thrives in New Mexico where the dry climate is conducive to its needs. The plant looks like a succulent with its thick reddish, flesh colored stems and milky leaves. It has a long taproot and produces a yellow flower with many seeds.
This purslane is edible (like the cultivated types from Europe) when young and can be used in salads or cooked like greens. It is more and more being discovered as a food source and is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and antioxidants. In fact it has more Omega-3 fatty acids than many fish. For those of you who are strict vegetarians and don’t want to eat fish, this might be a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids for you. For more information on health benefits, go here or here. So next time you pull it, you might try it in a salad or steamed. The stems, leaves and flowers are edible so maybe next time I see it flowering (before it seeds) I will pick them and put them in a salad. The plant just doesn’t look that appealing to me, but more and more people are eating it.
Now as a weed, it IS considered a nuisance here in NM. It does produce a deep taproot but I find if I just take my hoe and chop it off at the ground when it first germinates, or pull it before it seeds, I can control it. If you let it go to seed, it can be invasive. The older the plant, the harder it is to pull that taproot out and you will need a shovel to completely remove it. Make sure you pick up all stem pieces as it can reproduce itself from them as well. Don’t put in your compost because of this.
So is it a weed or a food source? Depends on who you talk to!
Now’s a great time to look at all those new seed catalogs we’ve been receiving. I’ve gotten a few new ones (for me) as well. I am now going over them and deciding which seeds I can’t live without! So many choices! I’m only adding a few new tomatoes as I par down the list from the past 2 years. That and I am not going to grow as many as last year because I need to rotate them to new areas. I’m planning on growing more flowers down in the main garden as well. For more information on all my favorite seed catalogs, go to my catalog page at the top of the blog (also on the right sidebar)
I also got 2 new seed catalogs-One’s called ‘bbbseed’, which features heirloom vegetables and wildflower seeds. It’s veggie section is little but what interested me in the catalog is it comes out of the Denver area and seems to be a good resource for wildflowers for our areas. You can order a catalog at www.bbbseed.com. The other catalog is John Scheeper’s Kitchen Garden Seeds. It looks interesting with it’s larger veggie and flower section. You can order one from www.kichengardenseeds.
Here is a picture of the garden arbor in my entrance to the veggie garden. The ‘Rattlesnake’ beans, a pole variety that can grow 13 feet a season, are doing really well covering the arbor-just like I envisioned when I built it at the beginning of the season. An added bonus is they taste great. You only have to pick the beans before they get too big and tough. I ate some raw right out of the garden and they have a nutty sweet flavor that I like better than the ‘Contender’ bush beans that are just finishing up. Rattlesnake beans are a winner!
Also pictured to the right of the arbor are chartreuse colored ‘Golden Sunshine’ Scarlet Runner beans I got from Cook’s Garden growing on the fence. They come from England. I love their bright yellow green leaves against the other greens. I grow them just because they are so beautiful and I love that purple varigated color of the seeds when they are dried. They haven’t flowered yet as they are just climbing the fence but when they do, the bright red blossoms will look great against that yellow-green.
Behind the Scarlet runner beans, still on the right side of the entrance are my giant ‘Titan’ sunflowers that will be fantastic a little later when they get their huge flowers. They will grow up to 10 feet tall and have heads that can get up to 24 inches wide! I call all sunflowers the guardian angels of the garden. Did you know sunflower flower heads follow the sun all day long? Sun worshipers! Hence their name. They are so majestic! Behind them are various flowers that will be blooming soon to add color and attract beneficial insects.
On the left side just inside the entrance, are asparagus fronds, calendula, ”Bright Lights’ chard, ‘Chianti’ sunflowers, multicolor ‘Japonica’ corn from Seedsavers Exchange and other flowers coming along. I got a late start in this section of the garden but it should look great later this month and I will take more pictures then.
This year I want a beautiful garden as well as a bountiful one. I planted tons of flowers in the entry way and along the entry fence. Inside the entry fence I planted Titan sunflowers again (I call these the ‘guardian angels’ of the garden) which will grow behind some scarlet runner beans (good hummingbird attractors) that will grow up the fence. Last year the Titan sunflowers got 10 feet tall and heads up to 18 inches across. Then in the entry arbor I planted rattlesnake beans (a green and purple streaked pole bean) that hopefully will grow all over the arbor giving me a very lush, green entryway (and tasty one too). Then after you walk through the arbor immediately on the left, I’m going to try amaranth-Loves-Lies-Bleeding and cockscomb-Flamingo Feather. I saw these on the Seed of Change garden tour last fall here in NM and they looked fantastic, so I thought I’d try some. I also planted sunflowers-Goldie and Chianti, Queen Anne’s Lace, Zinnias and Cosmos flowers. All this with the asparagus that I had planted last year in the entryway. I figure I have a few years till the asparagus kicks in-so I’ll plant pretty stuff around it till it does. I am also putting a glass water basin for the birds in this section of the garden. Last year it was a nice entry and I hope it will be even better this year with the arbor and the flowers. Hope to have some good pictures later in the season. Ah, fantasies of how it might be..
2010 Edible Flower List
I’m going to have an edible flower garden section this year. I like to cook and want to incorporate these in my cooking. Following is the list of edible flowers that will be in it or are already on the property:
Lavender (in existing different area)
Lemon Gem Marigold
Alaska Tip Top Nasturtiums
Roses (in different existing area)
I just realize it looks like from the photos so far that I only grow giant pumpkins so I want to show you some titan sunflowers which got 10 feet tall last year. Really beautiful. Can’t wait to grow them again this year. The birds love them too. I call them the guardian angels of the garden.