Tagged: impatiens

Edible Flowers

Calendula Salad

Flowers. Annuals, perennials, colorful and cheerful. Flowers can brighten up a gloomy day or give a new flavor to your favorite dish. Yes, some flowers are edible. Just to name a few calendula, impatiens, day lilies, violets, carnations, pansies and begonias. I thought I would share a bit of interesting information about some of my personal favorites. Calendula, impatiens and day lilies.

Edible Calendula VarietyCalendula

The calendula is an annual flower native to the northern Mediterranean countries. They are a beautiful cheery flower that follows the path of the sun throughout the day in the same way that sunflowers do. Calendula comes in a variety of orange-ish yellows. It has a zingy, peppery flavor and is an easy to grow flower that is beautiful, edible and has medicinal uses. Calendula petals are edible, so steer clear of any other part. The dried petals are commonly used in creams, teas, infusions, and washes. They can also be added to salads, cream based soups or used as a garnish on just about anything. Calendula has also been known for treating acne, reducing inflammation, controlling bleeding, and soothing irritated tissue. Early spring to summer is the recommended planting season. Aphids are the most common insect problem. But they can be easily treated with an insecticide. The most common disease affecting calendula is mildew which occurs most under hot, humid or moist/rainy conditions. Fungicides should take care of any mildew. Germination takes 10 to 14 days. Calendula can survive light frosts but will usually die from heavy frost. Many times they will be the last of the annual flowers still blooming in late fall. To give your home a bit of natural beauty they work very well mixed with other flowers in floral arrangements but check thoroughly for aphids because they are a pest to have in your home.

Warning: Calendula has been known to affect women’s reproductive systems and menstruation. Do not digest calendula when pregnant or when trying to be pregnant.

Edible Impatiens VarietyImpatiens

Impatiens are a popular flower in the northern hemisphere and many people do not know this but you can eat them! They are quite tasty in salads, desserts and drinks. They are wonderful as a garnish on any dish because their flavor is light and sweet. Impatiens have medicinal uses as well. They have been used to treat bee stings, insect bites and stinging nettle. Impatiens produce flowers from early summer until the first frost. Impatiens like shade and moisture and prefer part shade though they do like sun if protected by shade in late afternoon. Impatiens prefer moist, well-drained soil. The most important thing to remember about impatiens is to water them regularly. Keep them moist but not too wet. The leaves will fall off if they are not watered enough.

Edible Day Lilies Day Lily

Day Lilies are a perennial and bloom from mid-spring to mid-summer. They are completely edible! The petals, stem, buds and even the root. You will see day lilies often in Chinese cuisine. I personally have never eaten this flower but I have heard it has a mild flavor with vegetable notes and have a faint taste of sweet melon. The flavor combination has been described as a mix of asparagus, lettuce and sweet cucumber. Some think that the color of the flower affects its flavor. But I do not have the experience to know if this is true or not. Day lilies buds and flower are the sweetest part and can be eaten raw or cooked. For desserts the petals are excellent, just make sure to cut away the white base of the flower as this is where it has a more bitter taste. The roots have been said to be delicious when boiled like potatoes. The young leaves from the stem taste like lettuce and are very yummy in salads. For a satisfying snack the flowers and seed pods can be battered and deep fried. YUM! I recommend buying an already blossomed plant as they have been known to take up to 2 years to bloom when starting from seeds.

Day lily plants don’t need protection in the winter in most areas. The leaves will die back in the winter and return again in the spring. Day lilies are so beautiful to decorate with. Every time I see them in someone’s home I can’t resist touching and admiring them. If you want to try an edible flower that is delicious and easy to add to foods but also a beautiful decoration then the day lily is the one for you.

A Great book about edible flowers is Eat Your Yard < For sale on Google.

Thrips: Know thy Enemy

Thrip AdultToday’s post takes a closer look at and offers some suggestions for controlling one of the most widespread and detrimental species of thrips – Western Flower Thrips. Sometimes, when we strive to create the perfect growing environment for our plants we provide an optimal habitat for some nasty pests. Thrips thrive in warm environments protected from harsh outdoor conditions and their illusive nature can make them difficult to spot before the damage is done. Identifying the signs early and acting accordingly is the key to thrip control. The information below is a brief outline to aid you in doing so.

Description
Adult WFT are less that 2 mm long.  The female adult ranges in color from light yellow to dark brown.  Males are slightly smaller and are light yellow in color.  Both have slender cylindrical bodies and two sets of clear, nearly veinless, narrow wings that have dark, hairy, fringes.  The wings also have two complete rows of setae.  The larvae are tubular shaped, less than 1 mm long and are translucent white to yellow in color.  They resemble the adults but do not have wings until the third instar.

Life Cycle
The annual WFT life cycle varies depending on environmental conditions.  In cold climates such as the Northern U.S. they cannot over winter outdoors.  In slightly milder climates they can over winter in weed hosts, plant debris, and soil.  In a greenhouse setting their life cycle is continuous and overlapping.  It does however consist of these five main stages regardless of environment: egg, two larval instars, prepupa and pupa instars, and finally adult.
The population increase and time required for development of each generation is highly dependent on environmental conditions and the nutrient levels of the host plant.  The following account is based on an average host and temperatures between 68 and 98 degrees F.  The female can lay between 130 and 230 eggs.  The eggs then hatch in 2 to 4 days.  During both instars of the larval stage the larvae feed on plant material and then enter the non – feeding prepupal stage after 3 to 6 days.  The pupal stage is also non – feeding and lasts for 1 to 3 days.  The adult then emerges and can feed and reproduce for a subsequent 30 to 35 days.

Petal DiscolorationDamage
WFT damage is caused by feeding and oviposition, as well as indirectly through virus transmission.  The female’s ovipositor has two serrated blades that are used to cut through the plant epidermis and deposit eggs into the tissue.  This can cause scars on the leaves and fruit of some crops and decrease their economic value.  Feeding damage is caused by both the larvae and adult thrips and can occur on fruit, flowers, flower buds, leaves, and leaf buds.  WFT use their modified mouthparts to puncture the plant epidermis, inject saliva, and siphon out the cell contents.  The damaged plant cells collapse, resulting in distorted growth, silver patches, and scars on expanded leaves.  Flower petal damage can appear as dark streaks in lighter flowers and lighter streaks in those of a darker color.  Feeding on the leaf or flower buds can cause them to abort, and when they do grow they can exhibit distorted growth.  This can make diagnosing thrip problems difficult because the symptoms will not be evident until the bud opens.
Western flower thrips are also notorious for being the primary vector of viruses such as tomato spotted wilt (TSWV) and impatiens necrotic spot (INSV).  Adult thrips cannot acquire the virus and it is not passed on to offspring so infection occurs during the larvae phase as a result of feeding on infected plant tissue for about thirty minutes.  After three to eighteen days the virus can be passed on when the insect feeds for only five to ten minutes on another host.  Thrips retain the infection until death and the concentration of the virus increases as it replicates throughout the vector’s lifetime.  The virus was historically common in the western and southwestern United States, but began spreading rapidly in the 1970 and ‘80s with the spread of western flower thrips.

Control

  • Mechanical

As with any integrated pest management strategy a thorough monitoring and identification system is the first priority.  Yellow and blue sticky traps attract thrips and can be used to reduce and monitor pest populations.  Exclusion acts as a first defense against thrips.  All plant material being brought into the greenhouse should be thoroughly inspected before hand.  Production areas should be sealed tight and limited to authorized personnel.  This can be achieved by the use of door seals and thrip preventive netting over all areas where external air is allowed to enter the greenhouse.

  • Cultural

Because of the wide host range of WTF it is important to remove all weeds both inside and in close proximity to the greenhouse.  These serve as safe harbor for thrips and viruses when a non – susceptible crop is being grown.  If the weed removal is thorough then alternating between susceptible and non – susceptible crops can also prevent pest problems.  A layer of hydrated lime thick enough to cover the soil on the greenhouse floor can prevent algae, weeds, and insects.  Some growers also remove all plant material between crops for a period of seven days to allow adults to emerge from the pupal stage and then kill them with insecticides or elevated temperatures.  A continuous temperature of 102 degrees F for two days will kill the adults.

  • Biological

Predacious minute pirate bugs, mirids, and mites have all been used to control WFT populations as well as fungi.  The minute pirate bugs and the predacious mites both go into diapause under short day conditions and so have not been as affective in the winter.  However, both have proven to be able to derive enough nutrients for development from WTF alone.  The mites do best on plants that provide a surplus of pollen for diet supplementation in order to reach a sufficient control population faster.  The time it takes for all three predator populations to establish themselves and increase to an effective control level is the main limiting factor.  The rapid development and proliferation of WFT usually exceeds that of these predators in the case of most crops.  Fungi such as Beauveria bassiana and Verticillium lecanii have also been used to develop registered biological controls.  The spores infect the pest through contact with its cuticle and are not limited by environmental conditions or the crop being grown.

  • Chemical

WFT are commonly controlled with endosulfan, chlorpyrifos, bendiocarb, and synthetic pyrethrinoids, but their spread has, in a way, been aided by pesticides.  They have the ability to quickly develop a resistance, and when native varieties of thrips and predators are eliminated WFT face less competition and thrive in the new areas.  If a chemical control is going to be used it is recommended that the pesticide class be rotated every generation (about 14 days) to help prevent pesticide resistance development.  The pupa and eggs are also unaffected by sprays so it is important that the application program lasts long enough to eliminate emerging larvae and adults.