OK, fine. I broke down and grew a flower. Sure, the blooms might be technically edible, but I admit it, I am growing something in the garden that’s not for eating. Those of you who know me might suspect that it’s not actually just one flower. It’s a lot of flowers. More on that in a minute. First, these beauties, surrounded by my Extra Thyme plants, are ‘Negreta’ fava beans that are about ready to transplant into the garden. That will make three varieties of favas on the place, growing lots of biomass, holding the soil together and deflecting some of the compaction from the rains, fixing nitrogen, and making winter beans for the crock pot. And they do make really nice black and white flowers. But those aren’t the flowers I’m talking about.
This year, for the first time, we’re growing over a dozen beneficial or “insectary” plants that are either good companions for crops we especially like, are good food for pollinators or insects we like having around the garden or do good things for the garden soil. The first one we started, shown here on the right, is Blue Borage which is supposed to have flowers that taste like cucumbers but we’re trying it as a companion for beans, spinach, strawberries and maybe one of the tomato patches as well. It should bloom a good part of the year and we can always toss it in a salad in an emergency cucumber shortage.
We’ve also got some nice looking Calendula coming up from Seeds of Change seed I’ve been hanging onto since 2007. I had no idea it would still sprout but it looks fine so far. We’re also trying ‘Tangerine Gem’ and ‘Pesche’s Gold’ Marigolds, which are supposed to be bad for the bad nematodes, Cleome, Zinnias, Echinacea, Cosmos, Mexican Sunflowers, ‘Texas Hummingbird’ Sage and Alyssum.
And that doesn’t take into account the herbs, like my Extra Thyme, which is growing in several spots in the garden. We’re also starting Sweet Marjoram, Italian Flat-Leaf parsley, Mexican Tarragon and I’m not sure which category to put the Sesame in. I thought it would be fun to try to grow our own sesame seeds. Does that count as an herb? And does anyone know the difference between ‘Persian’ Cress and English Watercress? Are they related? That’s gardening for you. It always brings up more questions than it answers!