If you enjoy entertaining outdoors and are lucky enough to have the space for an outdoor kitchen, or even just a BBQ, then the food you grow can literally be picked moments before cooking time. As anyone who has ever grown their own can attest, there is nothing like the taste of truly fresh food: tomatoes with actual flavour, crispy lettuce and herbs that pack a real punch.
Planning your planting
The first thing that you need to do when planning an edible garden is to consider where it will go. Just remember that the more accessible your garden is, the more likely you are to actually use it, so a location close to your kitchen is ideal. As a general rule, an area that gets lots of sun will be best; however, herbs such as mint, parsley, chervil and coriander will all grow in partial shade.
Love the idea of growing your own produce but worried you don’t have the space? Instead of filling pots, borders or small garden beds with purely ornamental varieties, why not mix it up a bit by growing edibles instead? Oregano is just one of many low-growing herbs that can be used to fill in vacant space between pavers.
Another way to make the most of your space is by planting a vertical garden. These sorts of gardens are right on-trend at the moment with everyone from the local pub to fancy restaurants installing “green” walls and fences. Not only do they look amazing, they are also easy to set up and use with vertical garden kits.
What to grow?
Here are just a few herbs, fruits and vegetables that you will find relatively easy to grow on your own:
- Parsley: one of the most widely grown herbs. Best used fresh in salads or as a garnish.
- Basil: an incredibly popular herb to grow, basil enhances the taste of tomatoes and helps protect them from disease and insects.*
- Oregano: a common ingredient in Italian cooking, oregano is sweet and a little peppery to taste.
- Rosemary: a woody shrub that loves full sun and dry soil. Rosemary is excellent with potato and lamb.
- Coriander: a “love it or loathe it” herb. Most commonly used in Indian, Mexican and Vietnamese cooking.
- Mint: grows very well in moist areas and in shade. It can be used in sweet and savoury recipes and as tea.
Fruit and vegetables
Potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and peas are all incredibly easy vegetables to grow and maintain, with specialty items like tomato planters and potato barrels making life easier for the home gardener.
Can’t quite fit an orchard in your yard? Never mind: citrus fruits like lemon and lime grow well in pots, and for maximum variety in minimum space, why not try a fruit salad tree? You can choose from four varieties of multi-grafted trees, each bearing up to six different fruits.
It’s never been easier to cook and entertain outdoors and, with an edible garden at your fingertips, fresh produce is only a footstep (or two) away!
*Companion planting is a gardening practice which naturally deters pests and encourages healthier plants.
By Saara Blom