There are several reasons I grow edible plants in my garden. It occured to me that people sometimes wrongly think that vegetable garden is something for country folk. As a women living in the suburbs with a post stamp garden I can tell you anyone can grow edible plants.
Chives in my rock garden
Vegetables and greens that are easy to grow:
Wild garlic, I took some bulbs from my mothers garden and planted them under my pear tree. The leaves and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. The garlic flavour and spinach texture combine well with steaks, mushrooms or salmon. I rarely eat mine raw, just because that’s safer.
Rocket in our gnome garden
Rocket, once you have had this plant in your garden, you will never need to sow it again. It spreads like a weed! When I have to harvest great amounts, I make my own rocket pesto. It is also great to mix through my salad leaves, or to garnish my pizza‘s.
Rhubarb, a zero maintenance plant! I have this plant thanks to my parents garden. My father made a rhubarb patch next to the house. He devided some rhubarb plants from my grandfathers garden to create this patch. Now I have a piece of this patch in my garden. I like to use the rhubarb to make rhubarb crumble. I freeze some rhubarb in the summer, so I can even enjoy this dish in the winter!
Nasturtiums. Another easy plant to sow. You can eat the leaves and flowers of this annual plant in a salad. On top of all this, they look great too. I like to grow lots of edible flowers, such as pansies.
Tomatoe salad with nasturtium
Herbs. Nothing beats fresh herbs, so I like to always have these herbs on hand:
Regular mint, balm mint and peppermint – also great for making (iced) teas
You can plant these plants in a seperate vegatable patch, but my garden is so small that I choose to let my edible plants live among the decorative plants. But all the plants in this list would also be very happy living in a flower pot or window box.
Adding edible plants to your garden or balcony is also a great way to teach your children how their vegetables grow. You could even consider making a gnome garden. For children I would always recommend including some strawberry plants. They are low maintenance, high reward plants for children.
I recommend choosing plants you enjoy eating and easy to grow & maintain. This way you are more likely succeed and reap the rewards soon!
If you ever tried growing rocket (or arugula) you know it grows like a weed. You can eat these lovely leaves every day once your rocket plants get going.
In Holland you find them in the wild too. They grow on sandy soil, so you find them in the dunes, next to rail roads and just on side walks.
If you are lucky enough to have an abundance of rocket, you might be looking for a new way to use it up. I like to do this by making my own pesto.
This recipe has no exact quantities, I suggest going with your instincts, and go by what you have in your fridge and adding ingredients to your taste.
Rockin Rocket Pesto
1 – 2 handfulls of rocket
1 handful of cashews (or hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, whatever nut you like)
a piece of hard cheese
1 clove of garlic
1 – 2 tbsp of lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
I grind and mix my ingredients in my trusty little blender. Make sure you have enough oil in the blender.
Store your pesto in a jar or container in the fridge. Keep a layer of oil on top of your pesto to keep it fresh. Eat it within a week, but for us this is not a challenge!
This pesto is lovely as a dip with some home made bread, on your (meat) sandwich or through your pasta. If you add some more oil and lemon juice, it makes a lovely dressing for your tomatoes and mozzarella salad.
The attention span of my toddler allowed for 5 minutes of sowing and gardening together. After this my little toddler got distracted by his sand box and left me to finish up. However, I am pretty sure he will be glowing with pride when the garden starts to grow.
I love growing my own veg and favorite flowers from seeds, and I have been searching for a way to get my toddler involved in this activity without letting him garden among my seedlings. This means my toddler should have his own patch of dirt in my poststamp sized garden.