As Fall spirals into Winter, vegetable plants will send out splendid flowers. It’s their final stage-an attempt to spread seeds for next season. Though many would say the plants have passed their peak, the pretty flowers are rich with nutrients. They can be eaten as a snack, added to a stir-fry, and they also make great garnishes!
After harvesting flowers, that evening I used a few to dress up my dinner. Organic sweet potatoes, kale, and mustard greens from The Good Earth, with garlic, onions, and ginger with flowers for finish. (Because food that looks better tastes better!)
Flowers from vegetable plants have their uses in food or edible bouquets and also when left on the plant! Besides bringing beauty to your garden for the Fall, allowing plants to go to seed is one way to practice permaculture in your garden. You may see seedlings pop-up from your compost pile, or “volunteers” sprout up in your garden. These seedlings often thrive through a sort of natural selection- the hardiest seed takes root…just where it chooses to grow!
When seeds from one generation make it from soil to sprout (whether by manually collecting and planting seeds or through natural disbursement), the subsequent generation is better adapted for that specific location. Information about the weather, soil, and various elements of the ecosystem are stored in the seeds to better prepare the plants that follow, allowing each generation of plants to grow stronger and healthier, constantly adapting to the elements of the region. It is from this process that “heirloom” vegetables get their name.
Thanks to Joyce at The Good Earth for her organic insights.