Spring is sprouting – at least here in the North East. I love having some basic herbs and vegetables growing outside my kitchen, and I’m ready to get started, even if the weather isn’t quite there yet.
Some years I’m more organized than others, but I almost always have some combination of edible vegetation to harvest throughout the growing season.
I take over the sunniest room in the house and cover every surface with my little egg cartons filled with wonderful nutritious soil and the baby sprouts that will become salad and pesto among other things in only a few short months.
Because I live in the wild suburbs of Northern New Jersey, we have significant challenges in having vegetable gardens because the deer and other critters are abundant, confused, and starving! If you don’t build a Fort-Knox style fencing system, it is a wonderful exercise in feeding the local wildlife, but don’t expect to have anything for yourself or your family.
So, we opt for primarily container gardening and keep it up on the deck and our really scary (not) golden retriever, woody, patrols the perimeter. We lose a little to the chipmunks, which are kind of like mosquitoes and have gotten far more brazen than I remember.
Here are my favorite edible things to grow in my little kitchen deck garden containers:
Tomatoes – different varieties, but always cherry tomatoes (good for nibbling on right off the vine)
Peppers – there are some fun varieties, and I love to make pepper jelly
Cucumbers – pickles and cucumber salad
Basil – of course, think pesto and all kinds of fresh salad platters
Dill – cucumber salad!
Cilantro – for everything I can think of. Love the stuff!
Parsley – goes with the garlic of course!
Nasturtiums – lovely in pots or garden and are edible – great for summer platter color
So, find some organic seeds, or if you want to wait, find a local nursery that provides healthy organic plants to start with.
I also have lots of perennial beds and I love to do some annual flowers as well. I’m a crazy gardener and things grow despite my sometimes unskilled methods. I really enjoy all my plants and can be found most mornings outside chatting with them. They’re awesome listeners. I’m already dreaming and starting to putter out there. Feels good to be outside and more connected to the earth.
I’ll provide some of my great summer recipes throughout the season!
Here’s what my deck will look like in a couple of months.