Eat Your Shrubs!
“I have found the answer!”
“What is the question,” laughed LJ, and how much is the answer going to cost?”
“The answer is brilliant, and it won’t cost much. How do we expand our vegetable garden when we do not have any more space? The answer is to intersperse vegetables in our flower beds.”
“I like it. Other gardeners who do that say mixing flowers and vegetables enriches the soil, which creates a thriving environment for both. Vegetables that work in bodies nutritionally and out in the garden ornamentally are appealing. So, what is the plan?
“I found this website,” said Annie ” Incorporating Vegetables Into Flower Beds. It is a good resource and emphasizes the importance of planting within the design of our existing landscape.”
A few days later, they brought the new plants home.
“LJ let’s put the Swiss Chard in this corner where its red stalks and bright green leaves will be on full display and have plenty of room because can produce two to three crops in one season, which means we will have plenty to share with friends. Swiss Chard is a great source of fiber and vitamins K, A (beautiful skin), and C and magnesium, potassium, and iron. It also tastes less bitter when cooked.”
“I’ll dig the hole for it if you can prep this area for the Rhubarb. It is one veggie that deer do not like, so we’ll put it in the section where they tend to go. I am not a big fan of rhubarb by itself,” said LJ, “but I did like it in my Mom’s strawberry rhubarb pie. She called it a healthy dessert since rhubarb is loaded with vitamin K, (bone health) and fiber.”
“Your Mom’s pie sounds delish, but be careful of rhubarb’s leaves because they contain high levels of oxalic acid, which is poisonous, and even a small amount can cause severe vomiting. Now according to our plan, this is the space for the Artichokes.”
“Make sure you give them plenty of room, and plant, so they get full sun and partial shade to get a big crop because I know how much you enjoy them, Annie. I like them grilled, but they are a lot of work.”
“They are my favorite thistle for sure. Artichokes are high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, especially folate (eye health), because they rank at the top of the list of vegetables high in antioxidants (disease reducer) that makes them worth the effort to grow, cook, and eat.
Next, they planted peppers; its dark green leaves contrast beautifully with the bright colored fruit.
“Let’s plant the Cubanelle Sweet Peppers here,” observed LJ. “It takes a while for the plants to produce but, when they do, look out! They show up just in time during the season when most of the flowering plants have passed their prime. They are sweet and go well in sauces and salads. Cubanelle’s are impressively high in vitamin C (reduces inflammation).
“And now for the prolific Zucchini. It’s a good thing I like zucchini bread. Let’s plant it right here in the front for easy picking later.”
Annie smiled, “Well, that’s good to know because I like making that bread. I read that picking zucchini when they’re about nine inches long is best because any longer and they begin to lose their flavor. The flowers are so pretty, remember the edible flowers blog? When many flowers begin to show, we should harvest some so that we are not overwhelmed by all the fruit which follows. That reminds me, did you know zucchini is a fruit? It is a good source of vitamin A, folate, and potassium. You know zucchini is a summer squash and can be replaced with winter squash in the fall.”
“So, we’re planting a winter garden too?”