Monday, May 30, 2011

Late May Veggie Blooms

The blooms you find in a veggie garden this time of year may not be as obviously spectacular as those in a conventional flower garden, but if you stop and look closely enough, there is still plenty of color and interest for the discerning eye. I realized this as I worked in the garden today. In no particular order:

The mizuna has bolted. Like most other brassicas, the flowers are yellow and remind me of little exploding fireworks.

My Seville orange tree is blooming. I'm crossing my fingers that we'll have some orange marmalade in time for Christmas since we won't have any Meyer lemons this year.

I've been meaning to pull up what's left of last year's scallions but haven't gotten around to it...

I'm glad I didn't because the blooms are really interesting and complex close up.

Last year's sage and thyme are taking over the herb bed and will have to be trimmed back.

The purple sage flowers remind me of lavender. I wonder if they are in the same family.

The crimson flowered broad (fava) beans have the most stunning blooms in the garden right now.

I can't get over how beautiful the crimson flowers are. The plants are stockier than the more common Windsor variety. I wonder if the beans taste any differently.

My white-flowered Windsor fava beans are growing vigorously now. I have to remind myself to water them everyday now that our daily highs are in the 80's. Last year, I didn't do so during a hot dry spell and had a lot of blooms drop as a result.

I read somewhere that fava bean flowers and shoots are very tasty. I could never bring myself eat them as I love the eventual beans too much!

Last year, I made some flavored vinegar from these chive blossoms. I have to admit that the flavor was a bit strong for my taste. Maybe this year I'll try something different and steep them in some olive or canola oil. This giant cluster of chives is growing alongside my cantaloupe, Imperial artichokes and relocated wild strawberries.

Finally, this may be the saddest looking flower of the bunch but who wouldn't be excited to see the first tomato blossoms of the year?


  1. Everything looks so nice in your garden. I wonder Windsor fava beans would set pods before the crimson flowered favas.

  2. Beautiful! Now you have me entertaining the notion of putting in some Fava Beans!

  3. Nice pictures as usual Thomas. We have tomatoes already! First one should be ready to pick by the end of the week. Anna in MD.

  4. Beautiful flowers. My prettiest veggie bloom right now is my Golden Sweet snow pea. It is just a stunning bicolor purple flower.

  5. You can harvest just the top tender leaves of the favas and leave the stems intact, it won't impact your harvest of beans. I go through the bean patch and harvest a top unfurling leaf from each plant to get enough for a harvest. Some people like to snip off the tops of their plants to force them to grow more stems (tillers) from the base and to force the plants to put more energy into the beans that set.

    My fava plants get much taller than yours before they start to bloom, it must be the difference between spring sowing and fall/winter sowing for a spring crop.

  6. Thanks for the info, Michelle! Then I might just have to harvest a few tender leaves then!

  7. Hello, Thomas. Good looking garden as always, and your back garden is coming along beautifully. Our mizuna and tatsoi have already gone to seed and that is with daytime temperatures only in the mid 50's to low 60's. After seeing your fava beans, I'm excited to see what blossom we have.

  8. The fava and broad beans have such beautiful flowers. I can't wait to see what the flowers are going to look like on my favas.

  9. Wow...can't believe you already have a blossom on your tomato....mine don't look anywhere near that stage

  10. Those favas are gorgeous Thomas. Congrats on the first tomato bloom of the season!

  11. There is definitely real beauty in the vegetable garden if one chooses to look. Beautiful pics - thanks for sharing!

  12. Hi Thomas

    Just catching up on some reading. your garden is looking wonderful, and those fava beans! Beautiful. The shoots taste very good. I ate mine and later pulled them up - they were not happy on the roof. Perhaps the soil was too warm for them. Pretty frog...

  13. You may want to try chive butter with your crop. I mix chopped chives and butter, then press into a log or create small butterballs to freeze and use next winter.