I recently joked to a fellow gardener that while I really do enjoy pretty flowers, if my husband would let me, I would much rather plant extra veggies and herbs in the window boxes and front step flower pots. And while I was only kidding a little bit, I do have to concede that having our window boxes chock full of blooms is one of my favorite things about our home.
I usually don't give the window boxes much thought until well after Memorial Day. I typically wait until the garden centers start to mark down the annuals and then take my chances that I can score some good deals on enough coordinating flowers to fill them up, but this year I'm trying something new: I'm planted the window box flowers from seed. And not just any flowers; edible flowers.
I've been seeing recipes that call for nasturtiums all over the place lately. From salads and pestos, to compound butters and infused vinegars, I am completely enchanted with thoughts of edible flowers. So as I was perusing a display of seed packets at a local garden center, trying to figure out where I could fit a few of these in, the idea for the window boxes was born.
There was just one problem to address: how to outsmart the squirrels. In a good year, they dig up entire plants in the window boxes shortly after they are transplanted (it must be something about freshly worked up soil that make them think there's a snack hidden away underneath it). This spring, they have been especially horrid, digging in the boxes constantly. If these seeds were going to have any chance, I was going to have to keep the squirrels out.
I carefully cut down some of the extra chicken wire I had left over from the vertical garden, measuring it to fit just inside the top of the window boxes on the surface of the soil (I had to use a few rocks to keep the chicken wire flat with the surface where it wanted to curl up, but after a few weeks I was able to remove the rocks and it stayed in place). Added bonus of the chicken wire: built in planting grid!
And it works! I have found places where the squirrels have tried to dig, but they don't get very far and abandon their efforts after just scratching at the surface here and there. The nasturtiums have been growing for several weeks now without any incident or casualties. Who knew the answer to my squirrel frustrations was so simple!?
The window boxes are quickly filling in with lots of happy pairs of bright green leaves, with plenty of room to grow within the openings the chicken wire provides. I was initially contemplating adding a row of herbs to the back, but they are filling in so nicely, I don't think that will be necessary. I can't wait to start seeing (and cooking with) a few blossoms!
Labels: flowers, Nasturtiums, yard projects