The shorter the distance food travels from farm to table, the better it tastes. Ask anyone who has snipped fresh basil over a homegrown tomato still warm from the sun.
Try these 5 tips for planting your homegrown garden:
- Whether you have a large traditional garden or a few herb containers, you’ll enjoy a steady supply of just-picked summer flavors. At summer’s end, just cut and thoroughly air-dry your herb harvest, then store in air-tight containers.
- Start by selecting healthy nursery stock of basil, parsley (both curly and flat), rosemary, cilantro, and mint for a flavor palette that ranges from savory to sharp.
- Plant after the possibility of frost has passed. Herbs love sun and generally take well to close quarters. You can tuck a few of each in a small patch of well-drained soil or a single generous container, with a few exceptions. Basil favors a bit more elbow room; it will thrive in deep, rich soil, and reward you with an ample harvest. Mint, incomparable for its bright flavor, is also aggressive. To prevent a hostile takeover, give it a pot of its own and avoid planting it directly into the garden.
- It’s easy enough to add a tomato plant or two. Look for varieties particularly suited to growing in containers. If you do have the room, nothing says “summer garden” like a lush, sprawling zucchini vine.
- Vitamix recipes often call for very small amounts of herbs. That’s because the powerful Vitamix blades extract maximum flavor from every part of the plant, similar to the way crushing a clove of fresh garlic releases significantly more flavor than merely slicing it.