Container Gardening: Herbs and Vegetables

houseplants-in-kitchen

If you live in a small space or apartment like I do, planting vegetables may seem daunting, but it is fairly easy. There are a variety of plants that thrive in containers. Creating a container garden is a great way to grow your own vegetables and herbs, whether you’re short on space, don’t have a lot of time, are new to gardening, or simply want an easy way to add to your existing garden area. Container gardening offers opportunities for experimentation, creativity, and personal satisfaction.

If new to gardening I would suggest starting off with herbs and then try your hand at growing larger vegetables.

Herbs: Long wooden boxes are great for herbs. Divide boxes into sections or plant individually in pots. Planting a selection of herbs in hanging pots by the kitchen are also useful for any cook.

  • Chives: Partial shade. Use for onion flavor in soups, salads, dressings.
  • Mint: Spreads very easily. Use in teas, salads, lamb dishes,
  • Oregano: Full sun. Water moderately. Trim to prevent flowering. Best with Mexican and Italian cooking.
  • Parsley: Full sun or light shade. Pairs well with meat and egg dishes, potato, and pasta dishes, vegetables, rice, salads, and soups.
  • Rosemary: Full sun. Do not over water. Use leaves to season meats, soups, root vegetables.
  • Sage: Full sun. Use leaves fresh or dried. Use in teas, stuffing, vegetables, pork, poultry, sausage, game.
  • Sweet Marjoram: Full sun. Keep moist. Good indoor herb in cold areas. Goes well with green beans, turkey stuffing, soups, stews.
  • Tarragon: Full sun, partial shade. Anise-like flavor. Used in soups, fish, chicken salad.
  • Thyme: Full sun, partial shade. Keeps best in porous soil that is fairly dry. Pairs well with other herbs-rosemary, parsley, sage, savory, and oregano. Goes well with pork, lamb, duck, or goose. Great for Cajun and Creole cooking.

Vegetables vegetable collage

  • Cucumbers: Needs lots of water.
  • Eggplant: Plant in early spring. Feed with fertilizer every 6 weeks.
  • Lettuce: Sow seeds in early spring. Needs partial shade. Regularly water and feed with fertilizer.
  • Kale: Great decorative container plants. Harvest outside leaves for cooking.
  • Peppers, Green and Red: Water often, but not too much.
  • Rhubarb: Plant roots in late winter, early spring in deep, rich soil mix. Water freely as leaves form. Allow two seasons of growth before harvesting.
  • Squash: Needs plenty of water.
  • Swiss Chard: Easy to grow from seeds. Plant in early spring in a sunny spot. After 2 months, should be able to cut outside leaves.
  • Tomato: Most varieties if staked and supported can be raised in big, deep containers. Dwarf tomatoes or cherry tomatoes grow better in a pot of basket.

Tips:

  • A hole at the bottom of your container is critical. It allows water in the soil to drain freely so adequate air is available for the roots. Make sure to use pots with holes on the bottom or figure out a way to make a drainage hole. Most pots at your local nursery should come with drainage holes.
  • Water your plants frequently. Vegetables in containers need more water because pots tend to dry out quickly. Herbs are generally more drought tolerant. I would suggest watering your pots every day or when the soil feels dry. Just make sure you don’t overwater your plants either.
  • Combine herbs according to their shape. To save and maximize space, plant certain herbs next to each other. For example, pair upright rosemary with creeping thyme.

For more tips and ideas check out Bonnie Plants‘ container gardening guide here.

What plants have you planted in containers? Let me know about your experience with container gardening in the comments below!

 

Peace,

-Jenn

 

 

Bibliography

Sunset. Gardening in Containers. Menlo Park, California: Lane Magazine & Book, 1967. Print.

 

 

Miso Hungryyy

Hi everyone!

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a long time now. I made this soup a few months ago and it was so easy and delicious! I had bought a bunch of miso paste and didn’t know what to else to do with it a part from traditional miso soup. I also had some soba (buckwheat) noodles and veggies on hand so I made this soup which is adapted from a recipe from Food 52. It’s kind of like a mix between miso soup and ramen. The main spice used in the soup is turmeric.

Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger. It is what gives curry its bright orange color. Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in Chinese and Indian medicine. For more information about turmeric check out WH Foods’ nutrition profile here.

Turmeric Miso Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8oz) package of soba noodles or noodles of choice
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil of choice
  • 2-3 turnips cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic diced
  • 1-2 bunches of kale or other leafy greens, chopped with stems removed
  • 1 1/2 ground turmeric
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

turmeric soba noodle soup

  1. Heat a tbsp of high-heat cooking oil of choice (I used coconut) into a large pot. Add chopped onions and saute until the onions “sweat”.
  2. Add chopped turnips, garlic, turmeric, and miso paste into pot and cover with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat then simmer for 15-20 minutes until turnips are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate pot add 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add soba noodles and cook according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse noodles.
  4. Add kale or other greens of your choice to the broth and let cook for a few minutes until leaves are tender.
  5. To serve, divide the noodles among bowls and ladle the vegetables and broth over the top.
  6. To store, add soup and noodles to an airtight container. The noodles may soak up a lot of the broth as mine did, so you might want to store them separately or add more broth when you reheat it.

This recipe is easy to adapt as you could use any kind of noodle, vegetable, or added protein of choice. This would be really good with mushrooms or a soft boiled egg. Hmm I definitely would top this with an egg next time 🙂

How do you like to use turmeric? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Peace,

-Jenn