So many of us use herbs and vegetables from our gardens for regular daily cooking. It’s much more practical to plant those species close together for quick picking. When you’re tossing up a fresh tomato salad, it’s so handy to have the tomatoes, green onions and basil planted close together. All you have to do is pick, throw in a bowl, add some olive oil and your salad is ready to go. The only thing you have to be concerned with, is that all those plants grow under the same relative conditions.
Here are some ideas for themed planting schemes that the cook in your family will love.
Coincidentally, many common pizza ingredients thrive under the same sunny, well watered conditions. Some examples include tomatoes, red and green peppers, onions, jalapenos, basil, oregano, thyme and parsley.
Begin with an 8-foot circle of dirt and divide into equal slices for each plant. Put a border around your pizza garden with bricks, or plastic edging.
Suggested quantities for your plants include:
basil – 3
oregano – 1
seed onions – 12
peppers – 3
jalapenos – 3
thyme – 1
roma tomato – 1
The tomatoes should be planted in the northernmost section so that it won’t overshadow the other plants.
This can easily be planted in a container and displayed on the deck, right outside the kitchen. Include two hot chili peppers, one golden tomato, one beefsteak tomato, cilantro, and one tomatillo plant.
Spaghetti Sauce Garden
For this you’ll need a good supply of tomato plants and then you’ll have plenty left over for freezing. Start with 5 romas, 5 beefsteak or jet star tomato plants, 3 basil, 1 oregano, 1 thyme, and garlic.
Keep a good supply of crunchy salad veggies and herbs nearby. Start with 3 plants each of different lettuces such as romaine, ice berg and leaf lettuce. Also include 3 tomato plants, 6 green onions, 1 radish, 2 basil, a row of cucumbers and any other veggies you enjoy.
I love having a fresh supply of herbs on hand to pick and add to a cup of hot water for tea. Some of my favorites include chamomile, bee balm (also has pretty red flowers, but if you use the leaves this is what Earl Grey tea is made from), catmint, lemon balm, mint (dozens of varieties – even chocolate), and spearmint.
Imagine making a pie from berries and fruit picked right out your door. Easy growers include:
Blueberries and currant bushes: Plant a whole row just like a hedge.
Strawberries: These are great planted in a container, on a slope for ground cover, or in rows as a decorative border. In the spring they’ll be covered in white flowers and in the fall the leaves will change to a lovely russet shade.
Rhubarb: This can be planted right in your flower bed or side by side with purple leaved ajuga or other ground cover.
Raspberries: Once you start these hardy plants, they’ll grow like weeds. Be sure to choose the ever-bearing species that produces fruit from midsummer to frost. They grow well in light to medium shade so will not take up all your sunny garden real estate.