Edible flowers are the perfect companions for your vegetable garden! Blooms attract vital pollinators like bees, butterflies, and birds while adding beauty. Leaves and young shoots make healthy and delicious additions to salads, teas, and other dishes to compliment vegetable crops.
Borage (Borago officinalis) an easy to grow annual, Borage produces blue flowers that are loved by bees and butterflies, and the leaves make a delicious refreshing slightly cucumber-flavored tea. Flowers can also be used on salads. For gardeners with beehives, leave the flowers to dry on the plant as the honey from Borage is absolutely delightful.
Catmint (Nepeta mussnii) is perfect for mass planting as edging for vegetable beds as a deterrent for pests including aphids and Japanese beetles. Leaves and flowers are used to create a calming tea, while shoots can be added to soups and sauces.
Chamomile With two options to choose from, German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) a good annual option for community gardeners who don’t have a permanent plot, and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) a mat-like perennial for permanent beds, there is a chamomile for every urban gardener. Best known for relaxing tea made with the cheery daisy-like flowers, chamomile also helps deter garden pests with its strong scent.
Dandelion may be bothersome in a lawn, but they are delicious in your dinner! Dandelion greens are high in Vitamin C, iron, and fiber making them as valuable as any of your vegetable crops. While Common Dandelions can be found anywhere, they tend to be a little more bitter than the “gourmet varieties.” The Farmer’s Almanac has great information about Dandelions here
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a staple in any garden. Easy to grow, the flowers are a pretty garnish, a tasty ingredient for jellies, and when dried makes the perfect addition to sachet bags. A great option for edging in vegetable gardens, lavender repels pests, notable the cabbageworm!
Marigold (Tagetes) are a colorful garden staple that is also useful against pests, and, over time, helps control nematodes. Flower petals can be added to salads, soups, and many other dishes, even wine! For urban gardeners with chickens, flowers are an excellent treat for your coop!
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum) a vibrant “protective flower” in vegetable gardens valued for repelling insects. Young leaves can be used liked a cress in sandwiches or salads, while flowers are stunning addition to any fresh garden salad. Nasturtiums can be grown vining on a trellis, or as a bushy container plant.
Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) is perhaps the best known edible flower grown in vegetables gardens. They are especially useful as a fast-growing screen. A favorite with birds, squirrels, and even gardeners themselves, the seeds are edible and can be used in cookies, trail mix, and as in birdfeeders during Fall and winter.