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Growing Organic Edible Flowers – planet before profit – nurturing and nourishing both soil and souls.
It makes complete sense but is also a bit bonkers. Edible flowers are something that can’t readily be washed and certainly not peeled to remove any chemical residue like regular fruit and veg. So it makes sense to grow them without using any revolting chemicals. They are also a luxury item and in a world where so many people are starving if they are to justify their place in horticulture then their production has to be putting some back.
And it does…..
Edible flowers are different from commercial flowers from florists, supermarkets and garden centres – these are sprayed with chemicals unfit for human consumption, and definitely should not be eaten. See here for more information.
Growing organic edible flowers is about so much more than simply removing chemicals from the growing process or meeting the strict standards of the Soil Association. It is about developing an understanding of the plants that we grow; working with the seasons; improving the soil structure and letting plants mature at a pace which allows their full flavour, colours and perfume to develop. Being certified organic is therefore an expensive option both financially and in time as there are no shortcuts. It requires growing in the soil, as nature intended, not in substrate in pots. Whilst at Maddocks Farm Organics we used polytunnels to naturally extend the season and now we are growing on a garden scale we are have rather lovely greenhouse.
On our new site we will continue to fundraising for and raise awareness of Bumble Bee and Butterfly Conservation. Each year at Maddocks we increased our wildlife hugely, bucking national trends which has seen a the overall insect population decline by more than 75% in the last 25 years. SHOCKING HEY. Now at The Edible Flower Garden we are starting from scratch and will show you how you can make your garden as wildlife friendly and sustainable as possible.
When we were at Maddocks Farm we had two licences with the Soil Association. One for growing organic edible flowers and garnishes for which we are annually inspected to ensure that we meet the rigid criteria of organic certification and that the farm meets organics and ecological standards and that our land stewardship is exemplary. The second is for processing. This latter licence gives the public peace of mind that our food processing standards and packaging are both quality approved and meet the rigid standards set down by the Soil Association and Environmental Health. All our staff had Grade 2 Food Hygiene certificates.
Our electricity came from photovoltaic cells on the barn roof. Our water came from a natural spring and is sterilised using UV filters so no chemicals, even chlorine are present. Our waste water was filter through a natural reed bed system. Our edible flower packaging was and still iis 100% recycled and recyclable. This means our carbon footprint was almost negligible. No other edible flower specialist goes to these lengths to have such a green organic business.
Jan is a Soil Association Organic Hero and whilst we are no longer licenced and inspected we are following all the principles of twenty year and will show you how you can create a completely sustainable garden which gives more back into nature than it takes out and supports our wonderful wildlife.
For more information about being organic and the Soil Association please follow the link.