Updated: Mar 9, 2022
Every single one of us has been impacted in some way, big or small, by the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully for you, it simply means you've tried to buy toilet paper and been thwarted. I personally worry less about access to toilet paper than scurvy (I read too many pirate themed books). While most of my family is in Italy and really feeling the effect of the crisis, here we are still able to prepare for hypothetical problems related to the pandemic (by buying all the dried fruit at Trader Joes- to avoid scurvy.) Joking aside, gardening gets you out and into the sun and breathing fresh air, something we all could probably use more of these days. Growing food is a great way for kids and adults to get out into the garden, slow down, and lower stress. Here I will detail what we grow at Petals that is edible and recommend two good starter crops for those of you looking to get started. Here you can find links to everything you would need to start your own seedlings TODAY, you an even get all your supplies delivered from Amazon Prime and be gardening by this weekend, all without any stressful trips to the grocery store!
Pandemic or not, growing your own food is an extremely rewarding practice that saves money and trips to the grocery store. It also gives you access to the freshest, most organic produce available--all without expanding your carbon footprint. Here at Petals we primarily grow...flowers (no surprise there), but we have slowly been expanding into growing more and more food, both for interesting bouquet ingredients and to eat. You'd probably be pretty surprised to learn just how much of your garden is edible (if you practice organic growing--I would not recommend eating things grown out of a garden that say, has round-up applied to it.)
Here is a list of all of the things we grow that are edible, in order of seasonal appearance from today: dandelions (the ENTIRE plant--not that we grow these on purpose), lilac flowers, lavender flowers, redbud flowers (great on ice cream), radishes, pansies, spinach, arugula, cabbage, sweet peas, basil, mint, nasturtium (leaves and flowers), calamondin oranges (SO sour...best candied and as a whiskey garnish), carrots, lemons, blueberries, snapdragon flowers, elderberries, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon, tomatillos, sunflower seeds, pumpkins, and dahlias (the tubers are edible but taste bad...not that I've tried).
Now, we are nowhere near self sufficient and in a total market shut down would be pretty hungry and probably resort to hunting the hundreds of rabbits that inhabit our garden... but by Fall we would be able to scrape together a few substantial meals. If you are interested in starting to grow some of your own food, here are some easy ones to start with with links to any articles I may have already written about growing them:
Potatoes . Most grocery stores currently have seed potatoes on sale now and you can order them online if you want to be sure you are getting organic and non-GMO options. Growing potatoes is super easy and harvesting them is a really fun family activity, almost like digging for edible treasure. My favorite to grow are blue potatoes...because they are pretty.
Pumpkins are hands down my favorite thing to grow (after dahlias of course) and were my gateway plant into becoming a crazy plant lady. They are super satisfying to grow as they plump up so fast you can almost watch them expand. They also store REALLY well, I just pureed my last pumpkin in February- 6 months after I harvested it! Perfect for soups, breads, and roasted seeds, pumpkins are an awesome starter crop.
There are literally no limits to what you can grow (with enough gumption) and a bit of dirt under your fingernails tends to make everything a little bit better. Sending warm wishes for a safe, healthy, and productive start to your growing season from all of us at Petals!