Kitchen gardens are making a comeback! We all want the freshest and most nutritious, flavorful food possible.
Cultivating a garden full of your favorite vegetables is a practical way to save a bundle on your grocery bill and it also makes meal planning a snap. What could be easier than having the fixin’s for tonight’s supper growing right outside the back door?
Plan your kitchen garden with your favorite foods in mind.
- Love Italian cuisine? Plant lots of ‘San Marzano’ paste tomatoes, ‘Corno di Toro’ peppers, ‘Genovese’ basil, and ‘Cocozelle’ squash.
- Crave spring salads? Who could resist tender lettuces you’d never find in the grocery store such as ‘Blushed Butter’, ‘Flashy Trout Back’, or ‘Little Gem’ and don’t forget thin-skinned ‘Diva’ cukes, crispy radishes, and ‘Sungold’ cherry tomatoes.
- Planning on canning? You’ll want to grow plenty of ‘Boston Pickling’ cucumbers, ‘Bouquet’ dill, and ‘Blue Lake’ pole beans for making pickles and dilly beans.
- Salsa a staple on your table? Tailor your garden to your taste by growing peppers with just the right amount of spice. Try ‘Ancho’ for slight heat, ‘Early Jalapeno’ for medium fire, or crazy-hot ‘Ghost’ peppers for the true chile-heads.
- Do you detect a theme? Just as meal planning is easier when you work around a theme, gardens can have themes too. Think ethnic—Thai, Greek, French, Mexican, Russian—whatever family your favorite foods belong to. Those specialty vegetables that would cost you dearly at the store can be easily grown at home.
- Go Gourmet! To really save money, try growing the pricey gourmet foods that you love but can’t afford to buy. Arugula, endive, edamame, filet beans, purple asparagus, white eggplant, shallots, and mesclun are easy to grow.
If you lack a good location for your garden in the backyard, your kitchen garden will look good enough to grow out front. Remember, many vegetables can be decorative as well as nourishing. Frilly, red-leaved lettuces make a colorful edible edging, scarlet runner beans or purple-podded pole beans are beautiful as well as tasty, and ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard comes in an array of eye-catching neon colors. If garden space is at a premium, just plant what you love most and enjoy it at its peak.
Get inspired! See Kitchen Garden plans here.