Several years ago I lost interest in growing ornamental flowers once I started reading up on all the different varieties of edible flowers there are. Now I concentrate primarily on growing an edible flower garden with a mix of annuals, perennials and even some weeds. It's fun and easy; the blooms are great to garnish summer desserts, salads or mixed drinks - and of course, the chickens benefit from a bouquet of fresh, edible, nutritious flowers to eat.
Bees of course enjoy all types of flowers, and I still have wonderful blooms to cut and bring inside to display in a pitcher or vase, but by growing edible flowers, our flower garden becomes just as beneficial to us and our chickens as our herb and vegetable gardens are. Flowers have varied health benefits and our chickens love them. You can feed them free-choice fresh, or dry them to add to your chickens' feed. Tie some in bouquets and hang them in the coop. Sprinkle some in the nesting boxes and on the coop floor. Some flowers even help repel insects with their aromatic properties - and all of them look pretty.
|-I dry the excess on my homemade tiered drying racks and then add them to the chickens' layer feed in the winter-|
Here are some of the flowers we have blooming right now in Virginia in our edible flower garden.
|-Roses contain Vitamins A, B, C & E, calcium, iron and selenium, cleanse blood, and have antiseptic & antibacterial properties-|
|-Clover is high in calcium, niacin and Vitamins A and B, is a detoxifier, stimulates digestive system, and aids in respiratory health-|
|-Echinacea improves respiratory health and strengthens the immune system-|
|-Dandelions are high in calcium, magnesium, and iron, Vitamins A,B, C, E and K, and are an anti-parasitic and digestive stimulant-|
|-Yarrow has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic and antibacterial properties and aids in digestive and respiratory health-|
|- Marigolds are high in carotenes, flavonoids, & lutein, are anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and aid in blood vessel growth and skin tissue repair-|
I also grow lavender, violets, nasturtium, squash, sunflowers, bee balm and daisies which will all bloom later in the summer. These are just some suggestions to get your edible flower garden started, but there are plenty of other safe choices. Here's a handy list of some other edible flowers you can grow.
For the most part, chickens will avoid those flowers that are harmful to them, but to be on the safe side, it's best to AVOID planting the following potentially toxic plants in areas your chickens can access: azalea, black nightshade, buttercup, castor bean, clematis, corn cockle, foxglove, henbane, honeysuckle, irises, lily of the valley, oleander, privet, rhododendron, St. John's Wort, sweet pea, trumpet vine, and vetch.
Do you have any edible flowers in your garden (or your yard!), we would love to hear what you grow and how you use them.
I would love for you to join me here...