Vegetables? They look like flowers to me!
I think you will agree with me when I say:
A flower border is nicer to look at than a vegetable patch.
But does it have to be this way? What if we could have the best of both worlds and grow vegetables that produce amazing flowers and foliage?
Stand out from the rest of the gardeners on the allotment this year by growing my unusual assortment of great tasting and nutritious vegetables. All of the plants featured on this page make great additions to the ornamental border as well as the dinner plate!
This attractive silver leaved shrub will bare red and pink fuchsia-like flowers, followed by small, aromatic, guava-flavoured fruit. It comes from the mountains of southern Brazil and is part of the guava family.
Feijoa can be easily grown from seed and is fully hardy in southern parts of the UK. In order to get a good crop, you will need to plant several Feijoas together as they are not self-fertile. Plant in direct sunlight and ensure that the canopy of the plant is left open to maximise pollination. I would also recommend a little bit of hand-pollination to increase fruit production. Feijoa makes for a good container plant and is quick growing.
I had to double check this one. The root of the canna (one of my favourite ornamental flowering plants) is edible! They make a powerful statement in any sunny garden with their large leaves and bright showy flowers. Once they have finished dazzling the senses, you can dig them up and eat them. Tubers can be cooked as a potato and indeed has a similar flavour.
Although you can buy the tubers from most garden centres, canna indica is extremely easy to grow from seed. Each plant will produce huge tubers in the first season. I would recommend growing from seed to avoid canna virus. There is no cure for this virus and it will weaken and eventually kill the plant. It cannot be passed down by seed.
More information about growing Canna Lilies.
They are best grown from seed. Choose varieties that have the largest flowers as they will usually result in the largest tubers. You will need to experiment with different varieties for the best flavour as some will be sweet and delicious and others bland.
Got a spare patch in the rock garden? Fill it with super-food purslane! It’s unfortunate that we have forgotten this incredible plant. It was a prized plate filler in 16th century Europe. The thick, succulent leaves have a rather refreshing flavour similar to green peas with a tangy hint of apple. If you prefer a milder flavour, harvest later in the day when the sour malic acid is at its lowest in the leaves.
Purslane can be added to salads, stews, stir-fried and also great in soups. It is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, E, vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron.
Amaranthus is a fast growing annual and can be the star of any West Indian meal. Eat the young tender leaves as you would spinach.
Do not eat tubers purchased directly from garden centres as they will have been washed in chemicals before sale. I would always recommend growing varieties from seed.