How to Grow an Edible Flower Container Garden

Learn how nasturtiums — edible flowers — can make not only a colorful addition to your home garden but a tasty addition to a salad.
Nasturtiums have Edible Leaves and Flowers

Nasturtiums have Edible Leaves and Flowers

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Are nasturtiums a flower or a vegetable? They’re both! Their brightly colored flowers and shield-shaped leaves can all be eaten. So grow them in a hanging basket and surprise your friends by casually picking a leaf or two (rinse them under the faucet) and popping them in your mouth. However, remember to ask an adult before eating things from the garden! This project takes eight weeks to complete.

Materials Needed:

  • a bag with hanging straps
  • scissors (adult supervision required)
  • potting soil
  • slow-release fertilizer
  • watering can
  • nasturtium seeds
  • a plastic garbage bag
  • potting soil
  • airtight container

1. Prep the Bag

Prepare the bag by lining it with a garbage bag. Next, use scissors to snip holes in the base for water drainage. Snip through both the bag and the lining.

Straw Purses With Liner Make Great Hanging Baskets

Straw Purses With Liner Make Great Hanging Baskets

Photo by: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Ready Set Grow! , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

2. Add Potting Soil

Mix some potting soil with a slow-release fertilizer. Use the mixture to fill the basket almost to the brim, ready to sow the seed. Water the soil and let it drain through.

Straw Purse Planter

Straw Purse Planter

Photo by: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Ready Set Grow! , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

3. Plant the Seeds

Make numerous 1/2-inch-deep holes around the basket and in the center. Be sure they are 4 inches (10 cm) apart. Place a seed into each hole and cover with soil.

Planting Nasturtium Seeds in Hanging Basket

Planting Nasturtium Seeds in Hanging Basket

Photo by: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Ready Set Grow! , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

4. Wait, Then Water

Wait for the plants to grow. About a week later, little green shield-shaped leaves will poke their way through the soil. Give them a drink of water.

5. Harvest and Eat

When several leaves have appeared and the bright flowers bloom, they are ready to eat.

Add a few nasturtium leaves and flowers to a mixed leaf salad. If you leave some flowers on the stalks, they will form tiny wrinkled seeds. You can eat those too! Make flowery ice cubes by putting flowers into an ice cube tray with water, then freeze.

6. Care for Your Plants

Take proper care of your plants. Nasturtiums grow best in full sun and in poor, dry soil. Their height varies depending on the variety. The plants need little attention and prefer the soil to be kept fairly dry. However, in a hanging basket or bag, the soil can dry out quickly, so water regularly, especially in dry weather.

Dried Seeds Ready to Plant

Dried Seeds Ready to Plant

Photo by: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Ready Set Grow! , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Collect the seeds when the flowers have died. Store them until they are hard and dry (as shown here). Keep them in an airtight container in a cool dry place and remember to label them. You can then plant them for next year's crop.

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