by Journals to Freedom May 20, 2021 6 min read
One of the best ways to get fresh food is by growing it yourself. In this blog post, we will talk about 5 edible plants that are beautiful and easy to grow in your own backyard. They may be pretty, but they're also delicious! What's more, it's a great way to save money in the grocery store and an excellent means of having fresh produce on your doorstep.
Of course, different climates will dictate what plants you can grow. If you live in cooler climates, you might need to keep these plants in a greenhouse or even indoors in a conservatory to get the best out of them.
In recent years there has been a move towards mixing salad and vegetable plants within flower borders. Gone are the regimented rows of lettuce and cabbage! Now you'll find those same veggie patch plants vying for attention next to more traditional flowering plants.
Depending on where you live, you could very easily rustle up an entire meal from pretty, edible plants that look just as much at home in a flower arrangement as on your plate!
There are so many edible plants that also look great, but we will focus on just these five here:
There are so many types of lettuce, or salad leaves, to choose from. Most of them are super easy to get started from seed in a well-lit windowsill and they're pretty inexpensive too. Otherwise, all good garden centers sell salad leaf seedlings, which will give you a great head start.
A couple of my favorite varieties are red leaf lettuce and romaine lettuce.
Most varieties of lettuce grow quickly. Look for varieties that are 'cut and come again', or 'perpetual' - this means you can harvest the outer leaves and the plant continues to grow, giving you a long season of constant salad leaf provision.
Some lettuce plants are incredibly pretty - try the Lollo Rosso which has gorgeous, crinkly, red and green leaves, for instance. You can pop Lollo Rosso plants in between other plants in your border for added color or grow them in containers or even window boxes for easy and immediate access.
Edible flowers will instantly turn any salad from hum drum into something special. There are edible flowers from all sorts of plants. You can use them in a variety of ways too.
Of all the edible flowers, the Nasturtium is a great option. It comes in a range of colors from pale yellow through to crimson red, and it has a long flowering season. You can eat both the flower and the leaves - add the leaves to the salad!
Nasturtiums self-seed in your garden happily, and they will grow almost anywhere, so you're sure to get more plants popping up next year!
The allium family includes many beautiful flowering plants as well as some popular food plants, such as onions, garlic, shallots, leeks and chives.
Chives are a great option to go for as they will give you a generous supply of delicious leaves during much of the year, with the added bonus of dainty little purple flowers which are also edible.
To harvest the leaves, use scissors and cut close to the base of the plant. New leaves will soon grow in their place, so it pays to harvest regularly. After rinsing them, you can freeze any unused chives too.
Chives will come back year after year and the plant will continue to grow, creating ever expanding clumps. If you're growing them in a pot, you will even be able to lift and divide the plant every 3 years or so, thereby creating a new plant!
Chard makes for a fantastic feature in a flower garden. Its sculptural leaves and stalks come in all kinds of colors, which not only make the garden look pretty, but your dishes too. The stems are also edible and can be steamed. Try lightly frying the stems in pancake batter to create delicious veggy 'chips'.
The leaves can be prepared in the same way as you would cook spinach or kale. They're a great addition to many dishes, from simple sautéed veg to a hearty curry. They also make fantastic patties.
If you end up with more than you can eat, blanch them and freeze them for later use.
Swiss chard is quite frost-hardy so you might find that you're still harvesting the odd leaf quite late in the year.
Part of the thistle family, this stunning plant is the largest in the list.
The edible part of the plant is the pretty flower bud, which is either purple, white or green.
Each successive year gives slightly smaller flowers so it's best to replace the plant every few years to ensure good future harvests. Plant it with plenty of space as they can grow very big over time - it can easily grow to the height of an average person.
Freshly boiled artichokes are delicious on their own with just a little butter and a splash of lemon juice. They can also be prepared on the barbeque (you still need to boil them first). They make a sensational addition to a salad too.
If you're looking for a way to get fresh food and enjoy the benefits of gardening at the same time, consider planting some pretty, edible plants that are easy to grow in your own backyard. These 5 plants are both practical and ornamental. You'll be able to appreciate looking at these plants, as well as decorating and flavoring many of your dishes with their pretty flowers or leaves. We hope this blog post has given you lots of new ideas about plants to add to your garden. Which would you like to try first? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
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