Veggie flowers – Lily’s Green Thumb

I had one of my first panicky garden moments when I started to see flowers popping up on my veggie plants. Some of them are big, some of them are small, some of them are beautiful, but I didn’t know what to do with any of them.

Let’s dive right in. Generally, the default recommendation is to leave the flowers. An “obvious but not obvious” point: flowers are where the actual tomatoes/peppers/etc. come from. (We’re not above the basics in this newsletter). BUT, that’s oversimplified and there are a few scenarios when you’d want to snip them off. It’s really a question of where the plant is putting its energy. A few common ones…


  • Until plants are 12-18 in, remove the flowers, so that plants send more energy to the roots.

  • When the first tomato cluster appears, remove flowers below it so that energy goes to the tomatoes (somewhat controversial)

Bell peppers


  • A bit more complicated…

  • There are both female and male flowers. Only females produce zucchini.

  • There will be more male than female flowers. If you leave too many males, they will take energy away from zucchini development.

  • So, pinch off some male flowers.

  • When you pinch off the male flowers, you can brush the pollen into the female flower to pollinate. This is probably a good idea unless you’re confident that you have a lot of bees and other pollinators visiting your garden.

  • You can tell a male v. female by what the inside of the flower looks like:

I love pimento cheese so much, almost as much as I love recipes that don’t require actual cooking. Here you go:

  • 24 squash blossoms

  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 15 ounces fresh ricotta (1 1/2 cups)

  • Kosher salt

  • ⅔ cup well-chopped drained pimientos

  • 3 ounces cream cheese

  1. In a Vitamix or food processor, puree the ricotta and cream cheese. Add the pimentos and crushed red pepper and pulse until the pimentos are minced. Season with salt.

  2. Remove the pistils from the squash blossoms. Spoon the pimento ricotta into a ziploc and snip the corner. Pipe about 1 tablespoon of the ricotta into each blossom and transfer to a platter. Serve with toasted baguette slices.

Credit: Food & Wine

Until next Friday…

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