Author Topic: Dahlias and other edible flowers  (Read 630 times)

reed

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #15 on: 2019-04-10, 03:50:39 AM »
I'll be starting my dahlias in next day or two. Got lots of seed from the little single flowered Mignon mix and as much as I hate the idea of tagging and tracking I guess that's what I'll have to do. I'm just not good at record keeping, I just go mostly on remembering but since I won't know till fall what kind of roots I have I'll number my plants and save seed from them individually. Then at harvest seed from those with the best roots will be saved in greater amount than those wit poor roots.

I'v read that there are differences in flavor so I'll taste test them too and save larger number of seed from good flavor ones even if they are not as big.

Hostas are popping up and I'v just been tasting them raw and finding flavor differences in them too, so I'll keep track and collect seed from the best ones. One of my favorites is large with fragrant white flowers, I think it's variety name is Royal Standard, it and another large one that has purple flowers are the best flavor. The smaller ones seem not to be as good. I'm still curious about eating the seed pods on hosta rather than the spring shoots. I suppose they would be safe, don't know why not. They are abundant and no harm to the plant in harvesting them. I'm a bit of a chicken about eating weird things but I'm gonna give them a taste test this year.


triffid

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #16 on: 2019-04-11, 02:09:59 AM »
Lubera has some dahlias marketed for edible tubers this year http://www.lubera.co.uk/plants/vegetables/delidahlias/ - may or may not be interesting additions to your breeding material. Last dahlia I grew when I was about 10 years old, 'Bishop of Llandaff'. I'll try 'Bishop's Children' seed this year. Are the tubers anything like yacon and sunroot?

reed

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #17 on: 2019-04-12, 03:34:14 AM »
That is interesting how they describe them as having different flavors, I'll have to watch for that. All the ones I'v tasted so far I would describe as being a little bit peppery.

reed

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #18 on: 2019-04-15, 03:04:49 AM »
I just learned that the young leaves and flowers of Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) are edible, I'll have to check them that out. I have a nice population of it collected from multiple wild patches around south east IN and northern KY. Flowers vary from dark purple to white with white being the least common. It is one of my most favorite flowers. It can compete and grow mixed in the weeds and grasses outside the tended yard and grows in full sun or under trees. It's perennial but just for a couple years, so the big patches kind of move themselves around from year to year.  When a big patch is blooming the whole place smells wonderful, especially at night.

Has anyone tried it in salads or cooked? Is it good?
« Last Edit: 2019-04-15, 03:10:31 AM by reed »

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #19 on: 2019-04-19, 10:19:45 AM »
I've  never eaten dame's rocket, but grow it for the swallowtail butterflies, and grow fennel nearby for their caterpillars.

I'm growing a few hundred seedling dahlias, which I've never eaten either.  I imagine the roots would be fibrous, though I've never cut them to see.  I certainly have enough to experiment with.
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters,  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

reed

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #20 on: 2019-04-20, 03:53:35 AM »
Diane, what type of dahlias do you grow? I have to admit I'm taken with the flowers as much as the prospect of the roots being used for food. Mine are just starting to sprout now on the windowsill, unfortunately I'll have to select down to the best fifty or so as that is all the space I have in the fenced areas and I suspect deer would make short work of them if planted in the open.

 I like the smaller ones with simple flowers and I just read that the genes for single flowers are dominate so that's good since the woman came home with some of those great big dinner plate ones. They will be a good distance from mine in the garden and if any crossing happens I'll just have to keep culling them out in future. If I get any nice size or flavor roots I'll try to keep them over next winter.

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #21 on: 2019-04-20, 05:24:32 PM »
I grow lots of dahlias, but not the big ones. Some are single, or have a fancy centre, or lots of tiny flowers.  I like them because they stay in flower all summer until a killing frost.  That's how I know we've had a frost - the dahlias will be dead (except for the roots, of course.). There is a dahlia club here which sells roots in the spring and then has a big flower show in the summer.  I always buy some roots from them. When I go to the dahlia show, I buy a bouquet of flowers and use the pollen on the flowers growing in my garden.  It's fun to see what the hybrid seedlings look like, but I don't do this seriously - no naming, no selling, maybe a photo.
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters,  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #22 on: 2019-05-02, 10:39:35 AM »
Baker Creek is working on this.  Shannon McCabe was asked to taste-test their dahlias.

She has an interesting article here:  https://www.heirloomgardener.com/plant-profiles/ornamental/beware-the-dahlia-zmaz15szaeva?newsletter=1&spot=headline&utm_source=wcemail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=HGR%20eNews%2005.02.2019&utm_term=HGR_eNewsAll%20Subscribers&_wcsid=8236DE6B42B5695928457A0EAE18F18574967D2318D3062B

Oh, that looks too complicated to click on.  Maybe just a Google search will get you to the article faster.  It's on the Heirloom Gardener website.

She found that William Woys Weaver is breeding dahlias for food - he wants to produce large pink to purple roots.  Baker Creek plans to sell them when he is successful.
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters,  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

reed

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #23 on: 2019-05-02, 11:48:13 AM »
I found that same article at the HeirloomGardener, I remember it talked about the complex genetics of dahlias. Another article on dahlia breeding mentioned that too and said to avoid all kinds of bizarre things to cross like with like. I don't mind bizarre things but I do prefer the single flower types so for now that is all I planted this year. Baker Creek had a note that they are edible on their page but they are what they called Mignon type and so are the others that I got as a free gift with another seed order.

I take their genetic complexity as a sign that great things will pop up if grown from seed rather than tubers. I have three right now with mostly yellow variegated leaves, nobody ever said anything about that but there they are and they are just straight from the commercial seeds.   

It might be that dahlias just like it here in IN but when I grew Joseph's mix the tubers got the size of a medium baking potato. Bigger it looks to me like than those in his photos but less per plant. I'v got about 100 of the Mignon started and will probably have to trim that down to about 50 due to space but I'll dig them all in fall and try to save any with larger roots. If they are all too small or even if only a few are good sized the next year I'll get out the frozen seeds from Joseph's and cross them and then look for bigger roots on smaller plants from then on. Joseph's just get too big but they would be spectacular for someone with more space.

 
« Last Edit: 2019-05-02, 11:54:07 AM by reed »

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #24 on: 2019-05-02, 12:37:16 PM »
In her article, she wrote that in the late 1700s just three varieties of dahlias were sent to Madrid (there are over 42 species).

I wonder if it is possible to get the seeds of more of those species. 

Also, the dahlias were called “Acocotli” (meaning water pipe flower) by the Aztecs. So maybe the stems were juicy and used like we eat celery.


Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters,  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

reed

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #25 on: 2019-05-03, 02:27:41 AM »
That's interesting that they may have other uses too and that there are so many kinds. Dangerously close to the edge of another plant breeding rabbit hole, searching GRIN and the like for seeds. For now I'll just see how the ones I have do this year.

I have too many for my dedicated spot but the woman said I can put some in her gardens and in her big flower pots. Maybe she will fall in this hole and I can just help out with selection.
« Last Edit: 2019-05-03, 04:02:49 AM by reed »

reed

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Re: Dahlias and other edible flowers
« Reply #26 on: 2019-06-11, 07:58:57 PM »
Wow, lots of diversity in growth of the seed grown dahlias. These are the small ones called Mignon. Good sign I think that there is such a difference, makes me hopeful that I will see similar diversity in tubers, maybe even in flavor. The two pictured show the most extreme differences among the group of about fifty plants. Unfortunately I was unable to convince the woman to not plant any of those giant flowered ones, o'well they are a good distance away from mine and a little gene flow, if it happens, shouldn't be that big a deal.

Two of the three yellow ones died early on, the other had green mixed in with the yellow and held on for a while longer but also finally croaked.