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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.