Over the past few months I have been working almost mindlessly at filling the garden with anything and everything edible I've been able to think of. It has sometimes seemed an endless task; starting with a garden with nothing but established ornamental plants and a few herbs, it's been a constant cycle of prying things out, digging, building, wheelbarrowing, shovelling, and planting, planting, planting.
At times it's seemed like a ton of really hard work for not a whole lot of reward. Maybe I am used to instant results, and that's not really what a garden gives you. It was only the other day when I looked around and realised that I hadn't sown any seeds for a little while, that it dawned on me that the garden was full and growing, and that there was no more room. It was time for me to enjoy my garden for a little bit, I didn't need to keep up the breakneck planting pace anymore. I'm not saying that there's no more work to do, but the sowing for the moment has slowed down, I'm going to have to wait for things to finish their life cycle to make space for the next thing to plant.
When I stop to take a look at our garden now, I feel a real sense of pride and achievement. I can see that things are coming together, that my ornamental gardens are slowly being transformed into the sort of tropical fruit and vegetable paradise that I was dreaming about. One thing I did notice though, was that in my mad rush to plant food crops, I hadn't thought about flowers.
So when my neighbours moved and told me I could pinch what I liked from their garden, I looked around and knew what I wanted. Some beautiful wonderful flowery nasturtiums!
Nasturtiums are I think, the easiest plant to grow in the world. I was in a hurry when I pinched this one above from the neighbour's yard. I literally plonked it on the ground, dumped a handful of soil on top of the roots and went inside.
Two weeks later, they are thriving. Flowering and just looking spectacularly healthy, this is my kind of plant.
Not only are they my kind of flower, they are my kind of edible flower. Leaves, flowers, shoots, seeds and all. And not only do these little treasures taste good, they are of great benefit to the garden. They are reputed to repel squash bugs, striped pumpkin beetles and whiteflies. Nasturtiums entice aphids away from other vegetable crops, and attract many beneficial predator insects.
In a nutshell, nasturtiums are the ant's pants.