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Edible Flowers, Herbs, and Garnishes

Edible Flowers, Herbs, and Garnishes

By Pamela Crawford, Author, Easy Container Combos: Vegetables & Flowers
Photographs by Pamela Crawford

The only edibles in this combo are the flowers, but the other two plants are quite useful in the kitchen. Use the kale primarily as a garnish, the rosemary for flavoring, and chomp away on the violas! This combo is extremely easy and required very little care after planting.

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How do you tell the difference between ornamental kale and cabbage? Technically, both plants are in the cabbage family. However, most people call the ones with ruffled leaves ornamental kale and the ones with smooth leaves ornamental cabbage. Neither one has much color until it gets cold. Frost brings out the colors best, but they start to change at temperatures around 50 degrees. Both are actually edible but don’t taste very good, so they are used much more as a garnish.

Violas are edible flowers that are commonly used in salads and as decorations for desserts.

Rosemary is commonly used as an herb in Mediterranean food as well as a flavoring with chicken and many meats.

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Cultural Information

Light: Light shade (four to five hours of sun) to full sun.

Season: Both ornamental kale and violas are planted in fall in most areas, other than places that have very cool springtimes. Ornamental kale prefers temperatures from 22 to 75 degrees F and doesn’t develop nice color until the cold arrives. Violas are similar. Rosemary is a perennial in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7 to 11.

Lifespan: Five to six months in this container.

Care: Fertilize on planting day with a slow-release mix. Repeat if the leaves look yellowish or washed-out, although the fertilizer should last from six to nine months.

Water: Water thoroughly if the plants show signs of wilt or the soil feels dry when you push your fingertip into the potting mix. I watered this one every three days (after it was about a month old) and less in cold weather.

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Troubleshooting: No problems at all. This combo is really easy!

Planting Plan: Be sure the container has a hole in the bottom for drainage. The arrangement is simple! Plant the cabbage along the back, centered. Plant rosemary on either side and violas in front. Be sure to use good-quality potting mix, not garden soil, topsoil, or potting soil, which can kill your plants.

Container: This container is sold as a ‘party tub’ at many stores. It measures seven inches high with an inner diameter of 18 inches.

Best Time to Pick: Anytime. Violas bloom more if frequently picked.

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This is an excerpt from Pamela Crawford’s book, Easy Container Combos: Vegetables & Flowers, available through Amazon and other online booksellers.

Pamela Crawford, author of 12 gardening books, is considered one of the most accomplished container gardening experts in the country. In addition to designing gardens for over 1500 residences, her work has been featured on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens publications as well as in Southern Living, HGTV Magazine, Fine Gardening, Country Gardens, and in over 300 newspapers. As an expert in her field, she has appeared on the Fine Living Network, GardenSMART, and numerous local tv shows.

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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