Getting the Cook’s Garden of Your Dreams
Once you’ve mastered the basics of gardening and have grown to love the hobby, you may want to start to expand your garden into a fruitful array of herbs, fruits, and vegetables that can take your food from your garden to your table. A cook’s garden includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices that you can mix together to create delicious dishes without having to go to the grocery store on a daily basis!
We’ve put together some tips for creating a cook’s garden based on regional expertise and experiences of other master gardeners. Saving time and money is what a cook’s garden is all about – you’ll have the ingredients right in your back yard and you can go pick them in the morning or afternoon and get them ready for the evening meal with friends and family.
Herbs are an easy starting point to add to your cook’s garden. Some of these include thyme, bay laurel, French tarragon, chives, and parsley. When you plant fresh oregano and basil, you’ll have flavors meant for Italian dishes like pasta, pizzas, pesto, and salads. Cilantro is also a flavorful herb to add to your Mexican dishes and dips. It grows easily, but you’ll need to pick it right away as it does tend to go bad. Experts recommend growing it in a pot and it likes the sun.
Other experts suggest rosemary growing because it can tolerate drought but need full sun. It can grow tall in some instances. It is recommended to also be grown in containers – and don’t over water it. How about some mint? Recommended for container-growing, it does need to be well-watered. You can use it in desserts, dinners or add to your tea!
Peppers are another must-have in a cook’s garden. Adding a lot of impact to your dishes, you can use them with any type of meat or in your side dishes. They do like the sun, so give them a sunny spot in your garden. They’re pretty low maintenance – water and wait to harvest!
Tomatoes and tomatillos are another fan-favorite. They tend to be a little more difficult to grow, but once you get the hang of it, they’re great for salads, salsa, sauces, and sandwiches!
If you truly enjoy gardening, and you have more time, consider growing you cook’s garden with summer squash, kale, chard, and eggplant.
You won’t have to worry about getting dressed to go to the grocery store, returning back to the store for that one item you forgot, running out of an ingredient in the middle of the cooking process, or not having healthy ingredients with plenty of flavor and nourishment.
It takes time to grow your cook’s garden and also experience. Go visit your local farmer’s market and talk to the growers. Ask questions about plants that you’d like to grow – how far apart should you plant? How deep? How much sun? How much water? Good luck with your cook’s garden and let us know how it goes!