In hopes that Spring will actually arrive here soon I've been thinking about my deck garden. We aren't big gardeners, but all three of us like container gardening (I was going to say pot gardening, but that might get some of you thinking about something else). Our gardens are mostly herb gardens, but we have ventured off and tried some other fruits and vegetables. Some were successful and others...not so much. For example, Krissy and I each had a strawberry plant last year. It only harvested a handful of strawberries throughout the summer, but it's actually a very pretty plant, so I wouldn't mind growing that one again. I also tried green beans and peas. I did get some output, but too small to feed the whole family. If I try that again, I might need to focus on just one of product and use bigger containers.
You might just say, "hey, why not grow a real garden". Very valid point and I might do that some day, when I have a little more time to dedicate to the care, feeding and weeding. For now though, my little deck container garden makes me happy.
Here's our top things to grow in our containers:
- Basil - Love, love, love the basil. We put it in salads, pastas and even on sandwiches and hamburgers. It doesn't like direct sun, so I always keep it closer to the house, where it gets afternoon shade.
- Parsley - I like the flat leaf parsley and at the end of the season I wash, dry (throughly) and then freeze in ziploc bags. Parsley freezes great and then I have it all winter long. (This same process works if you have leftover parsley from the store. They always sell such huge bundles and this is a great way to avoid wasting it.)
- Rosemary - I've got a chicken marinade with rosemary. So fragrant.
- Thyme - Lots of uses including another green bean recipe we've been using.
- Grape Tomatoes - Easiest tomato to grow. I presume the same could also be said for cherry tomatoes, I just like the grape best. When I get a bunch of them at the same time, I slice them and make a salad with basil, olive oil and shredded mozzarella cheese. It's like an simple caprese salad...kind of.
- Regular Tomatoes - I grow a beefsteak type tomato plant every year. I only get a handful of output, but they are without a doubt the BEST tomatoes of the summer.
- Mint - Cait likes to grow mint for her homemade mojitos.
- Peppers - Krissy grows these every year. She loves to grill sliced peppers marinated in olive oil.
- Cilantro - Again this is something Krissy grows. I can't have this around as someone in my household can't stand cilantro. (Pinch up your face and stick out your tongue. That's what he looks like whenever anyone says the word cilantro.) I find this amusing as I'm not even sure what cilantro tastes like and he still likes salsa.
- Strawberries - I am going to grow these again this year as RJ loves strawberries and it's nice to go out and pick him a little treat when he comes over. I think I'll get a bigger pot this year and grow a couple of them.
So, come on Spring, hurry up get here already. Heck, it's almost opening day at Tiger Stadium (oh..sorry, Comerica Park).