Grow an Edible Themed Garden!

By Judi Gerber
3/28/2013 12:40:19 PM

Since spring officially started on March 20, many gardeners have already planned what they are going to plant; still others are working on gardening prep. But, if you haven't planned yet, or even if you have, and you want to try something different, consider planting a themed edible garden or gardens.

A themed garden is a great way to get you in the mood for the new season. Not only do you get tasty and nutritious food, but gardening is also good for you in so many other ways-from reducing stress to working your muscles and increasing your flexibility.

Regardless of what you plant or where you plant, remember that vegetables need full sun and fertile, well-drained soil with a neutral pH and lots of organic matter. So make sure to choose a site that receives full sun and prepare the soil so it drains well.

What is a themed garden? Basically, it can be anything that you want it to be. You can grow what you like, whether it's your favorite color of vegetables, or your favorite type of cuisine, the choice is entirely up to you.

Here are some themes you can use to create your own edible garden:

-Pizza, Spaghetti or Italian Herb Garden - Do you love Italian food or at least Italian herbs? Then you might want to plant a garden with pizza and spaghetti ingredients including oregano, parsley, basil, thyme, garlic, onions, peppers, and tomatoes for all of those sauces. You can even plant spaghetti squash to keep the theme going in a fun way. Include some dark, leafy lettuce green varieties for salads.

-Chinese/Asian Cuisine - Include crops like mustard greens, snap peas, thai basil, Asian red kale, eggplant, coriander, radish, mizuna, endive and leafy lettuce varieties-your garden will be tasty and colorful too!

-Salsa and/or Taco Garden - In most parts of the world, salsa is more popular than ketchup. If you like to make your own, nothing is better than having fresh ingredients grown right outside your kitchen door. Consider using hot peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and celery, and herbs like cilantro/coriander, cumin, and dill. And, for those tacos, include lettuce varieties like butter and romaine lettuces.

-Herb Garden - If you don't want to limit yourself to just one type of cuisine, grow an herb garden with a variety of herbs. Perennial herbs will add to the foundation of you garden, and if you live in a warm enough climate like I do, they will overwinter. Perennial herbs include chives, lavender, mint, oregano, rosemary, thyme and tarragon.

-Tea Garden- While most of us can't grow our own tea, we can grow delicious things that go in tea, especially mint, chamomile, lemon balm, and anise for a sweet, licorice flavor.

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