Friday, March 11, 2011

Desktop Farming

It's the 11th of March now and I'm just getting around to starting my flower seeds. I know it's a bit late in the season to do that with most plants, but the flower thing is new to me. I usually only plant and try to grow edible foods. Something as superfluous as a flower just seems a bit wasteful of space. But this year I have gotten over myself a bit and am planting flowers.

It's not that I have anything against the flowers themselves. I don't.  I really like flowers. I like the color and variety they bring into the garden, the yard and the neighborhood when they are in bloom. Actually, my favorite time of the year is when the fruit trees are in full blossom. I love watching the bees and the butterflies doing their thing. (What a life to lead. Your job is to climb in and out of flowers all day. I'm up for it.) I love the giant sunflowers and the bright yellow petals they have. I don't feel like I'm really gardening unless I have some sunflowers. (Yes, I grow them for the seeds, but still...they're flowers, right?)

I was reading some blogs online and came across the idea of edible flowers (Oh, dear.  Maybe I haven't gotten over my preconceived notions as much as I thought.) and wondered what that was like. I think I move in different circles than folks who eat flowers. I've never been served on in a salad in a restaurant. I've never been asked if I would care for some viola on my pork chops, either. Then I remembered that broccoli is a flower and so is cauliflower. So I looked up some of the more popular edible flowers and got some seeds.

My flower starter is the typical arrangement of trimmed shipping box from FedEx, cut-down drinking cups and potting soil. A FedEx large box will conveniently hold 36 cups. That ought to be enough to start with. So I've filled the cups with the potting mix and hydrated it. (It gets so dry here in the desert, even indoors.) I planted two seeds in each cup. I don't think I'll ever get over the idea that thinning plants is wasting seeds, but I'm trying.

So now I'm a flower farmer, too. I've got bachelor buttons, both blue and mixed varieties, shasta daisies, viola's yellow and blue mixed varieties and cosmos and nasturtiums. I know you can't eat all of them, some you just have to endure looking at.  But you know, when I sit down to a wonderful lunch salad decorated with blue and yellow flower petals and red and pink nasturtiums, I'll just put up with decorating my table with a daisy or two. I've eaten lots worse in less decorative circumstances.

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