Friday, June 12, 2009

Recreate The White House Victory Garden In Your Own Backyard!

I had been wondering about what items were being grown in the new White House "Victory Garden" by the gardeners there, and recently came across this list of items that are/will be grown.
I thought it would be nice to share with you all, for those that may wish to recreate a "White House Victory Garden" in their own yards.I have put a red asterick next to the items that you can find heirloom seed for at:

~Enjoy! --- and Happy Gardening!

~The Victory Gardener!~

Mint, garlic chives, chives, thyme, oregano, anise hyssop, sage, rosemary, marjoram, chamomile

Parsley, basil, Thai basil, cilantro, dill, fennel
Edible marigolds and nasturtiums


Lettuces (green oakleaf, red romaine, butterhead, galactic),*
snap peas, *
shell peas, *
black kale,
sugar snap peas
butterhead lettuce(** will have available again real soon in shop)*
radishes *
peppers (sweet and hot),*
okra, *
sweet potatoes

Here is a layout of what the White House Gardens look like: They measure 1100 square feet:

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dual Purpose Flower Gardens

We all love flowers and watching them grow, adding them to vases to brighten our homes, and enjoying their beauty in our gardens.
But do you know that not only are some flowers great to look at, they can also add quite the flavor enhancement to your brunch, lunch or dinner plate?

There are quite a number of flowers that are edible and have quite the range of flavors, from subtle cucumber flavoring to licorice flavors, to artichoke flavor, to tangy pepper flavored.
Before embarking on adding flowers to your plate a few words of caution are in order.

Only eat flowers that you are certain without a doubt are edible varieties.

Remember this key phrase: "If in doubt, do without!"

When one starts to add edible flowers to the diet it must be done slowly, and using only one variety at a time,and sparingly in recipes, to prevent intestinal upset, and especially if you may have allergies.

If you decide to add edible flowers to your plate, please be careful, and make sure that indeed the flower variety is safe and edible.

Do not use any types of pesticides or chemicals around any flowers that you intend to grow as edibles.

Do not consume flowers from florists, nurseries, or garden centers, as most of these have been treated with chemicals and pesticides and are not labelled for food consumption.

The same can be said for flowers obtained next to roadways, these very well could be sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals, and may not be safe for consumption.
The best time to harvest your edible flowers is in the early morning when the moisture content of the flower is at its peak.

Shake the flowers to remove any little bugs that may be hidden amongst the petals.

Wash thoroughly and place on paper towels to drain.

Remove the pistils and stamens from all edible flowers before consumption.

Only eat the petals.

Edible flowers can be kept for up to 8-10 days in your refrigerator for later use if you simply lay them out on moist paper towelling and wrap with plastic wrap, or store them between pieces of moist paper towels in a sealed plastic container.

If the flowers start to look a bit wimpy and wilted simply float them in a bowl of ice water for a minute before serving and they'll perk right up.
Below you will find a list of edible flower varieties with flavor descriptions.
Now you can create your own dual purpose flower garden.
Not only will you have flowers to beautify your yard and home, but also flowers that can be used in a variety of culinary dishes.
These are plants known as the flowering onions. All parts of these plants are edible, and some have very pretty flowers.
Plants in the Allium family include chives, garlic chives, leeks, garlic, onions,and shallots.The flower colors can vary from white to pink and add a very nice touch to the salad plate.
All of these flowers of course impart an onion to garlic type flavor, but not as strong as the actual bulb of the plant may have.

Anise Hyssop-
With a flavor reminiscent of root beer and of a slightly licorice flavor.
Often used in Chinese cuisine. The flowers are a pretty lavender-purple color and are attractive to butterflies.

Bachelor Buttons-
Also known as Cornflower these lovely peacock blue colored flowers impart a slight clove,anise flavor to dishes.
The flower also can be used to create a bluish-lavender dye for cake frostings.

Bee Balm-
Also known as Monarda the taste of Bee Balm imparts a citrusy combination of lemon and orange, and is great used as a tea.
In fact the leaves of the Bee Balm are very similar in taste to Earl Grey tea.
If using the wild version of Bee Balm the plant offers a combination of flavors similar to oregano and mint.
The wild Bee Balm leaves can be used in place of oregano in dishes, and the red flowers can be used to add a minty flavor to teas.

A darling star shaped pale blue colored flower which can be used in summer time drinks such as lemonade and punch. The flowers have a cucumber flavor.

Also known as Salad Burnet. This plant has a fern like appearance and is actually related to the rose. It sends up a pretty red flowered stalk from the center of the plant. The leaves can be used in salads and drinks to impart a cucumber flavor.

We also all know these flowers as Marigolds. These brightly colored flowers which vary in hues of bright yellow to orange have a range of flavors from slightly bitter to a peppery taste. They can be used to flavor egg dishes, to add a bit of color to rice and pasta dishes and to add a bit of "sunshine" to salads.

The miniature varieties are known as Dianthus. The Dianthus have a slight clove to nutmeg scent/flavor while the larger Carnations have sweet flavored petals. Make sure that you remove the white base of the flower away from the petals.These edible flowers make lovely decorations on cakes and to decorate tea party plates.

Ranging in flavor tones from tangy and slightly bitter to peppery and even slightly like a cauliflower flavor, these flowers are always a delight to the garden, and now you can add them to your salads as well. Use the petals only and be sure to blanch them slightly before tossing with your salad ingredients.

The flowers and leaves of this plant are both edible. Flowers should be collected when very young for the best flavor. Flowers have a sweet honey like flavor and can be used to create a dandelion flower jelly. The leaves of the Dandelion are best collected when the plant is young as well, as the larger leaves can have a bitter flavor. Steam the leaves like you would spinach, or toss into a salad and use fresh. Also can be sauteed with olive oil and garlic in a saucepan.

This plant contains exquisitely designed flowers that impart a slight acidic flavor,the berries of this plant are also edible. Makes a lovely garnish.

Remove the anthers from these flowers that have a mild lettuce like flavor and use to hold spreads on the salad plate or to hold dessert mousses.

The petals of this flower can be boiled and used to impart a slight cranberry-citrus flavor to teas.

Flowers ranging in colors from yellow, to orange, to red.The flowers have a slight peppery taste and can be added to salads and sandwiches, and are a lovely garnish.

All Roses are edible, but make sure that no chemicals have been used on the roses that you intend to use.Make sure that you remove the whitish colored parts of the petals that are located near the base of the flowers. The stronger the scent of the rose the stronger the flavor will be. Flavor varies from strawberry type flavoring to apple type flavors, to minty and spicy flavors. The darker the rose the stronger a flavor will be also.A wide array of uses for the petals of this plant: from jellies to floating the petals in fruit punches, to garnishing desserts and ice creams, to decorating cakes.

We know that the seeds of the Sunflower are edible, but did you know that if you harvest the young unopened flower bud of the Sunflower and steam it, that it has a flavor very much like artichokes have?

The tender leaves and purplish colored flowers can be used to flavor salads. They impart a slightly sweet flavor. The flowers are lovely floated into drinks and used to embellish many different types of desserts, from ice creams to cakes.Leaves can be cooked like spinach.
Happy Gardenening!
~The Victory Gardener!~

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New June/July 2009 Small Town Living E-Zine Now Online!

Wanted to let you all know that the new June/July 2009 issue of
"Small Town Living" is now available online at:

This issue covers such topics as:

Biscuit Making 101
Beginning Home Schooling
Farming Your Produce Aisla
Worm Composting
..... and more
Feel free to share the e-zine with family and friends.
Also we'd like to invite you to be a part of our online community. Where we share about backyard homesteading, self sustainability, and "bringing back the simpler ways of living".
Here you'll find a community of caring, sharing, and learning together.
Hope to see you there!
~The Victory Gardener!~