Herb Gardens

Edible Flowers – Nasturtiums

While we diligently plant and tend our vegetable garden we look for earth friendly, natural ways to keep pests away. Edible flowers do double duty as natural bug repellants and as tasty accents in salads and herbal vinegars. This article is about nasturtiums, which make a beautiful garnish in a salad. The seed pods can be preserved and used as a substitute for capers. The stems, leaves and flowers are all edible. The flowers may be in shades of yellow, orange, mahogany or cream. Some have yellow petals with raspberry red centers. The plants may grow from 8” to 14” tall with 2” to 2 ½” blossoms. They have a peppery flavor and can be used as a substitute for watercress in sandwiches and salads. The blossoms are so pretty they can be used to decorate desserts.

Nasturtiums are easy to grow from seed in pots or directly in the soil in your garden. They do best in full sun. Harvest the seed pods when they are still green for preserving, or collect them after they fall from the plant and let them dry to save for next year’s planting. The ones you leave on the ground will start growing right there under the main plant. If you see a small plant you can move it to another spot in your garden.

Here’s a recipe sent to us by Dianna, who attended our talk at UC Irvine cooking class:

Hi Jo Ann,

I was at the class you did at the ARC at UCI. You asked for a recipe for pickled capers. I have a simple one I use for pickled Burdock root that you may want to try.

52% water
48% Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
As much celery seed as you like
Clean peeled burdock root (or capers)

Put it all together in a clean sealed jar and in 5 days you have the best pickled burdock root you will ever taste! This should work for he capers. Let me know.

I can’t wait until I get to a place where I can try the square foot garden.

I am a vegan and we eat only organic and it is hard to find CA organic even in the health food stores sometime.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I may just buy the book too.


Herbs in a half barrel

I planted some herbs in a half barrel, sitting in a sunny corner of my garden, in anticipation of a bountiful harvest of vegetables this summer.  I used fresh rosemary for roast chicken recently.  It was surprisingly good.  I hadn’t realized what a difference it makes using fresh herbs rather than store bought dried ones.