By Kimberly Toscano for Southern Living Plants
Photographs courtesy of Southern Living Plants
My grandmother’s Italian dishes call for a ready supply of basil – lots of basil. So I grow it right outside my front door in mixed containers alongside flowering annuals, trailing vines, and showy cordyline. I also plant plenty of basil in the vegetable garden, but the containers outside my door are where I go most often when cooking. These containers are perhaps the simplest form of a kitchen garden and a fine example of why this type of garden is so important.
In addition to meeting those urgent recipe needs, kitchen gardens are a great way to promote healthy eating. It is hard to resist plucking a handful of blueberries when growing a container of Bless Your Heart™ Rabbiteye Blueberry on your patio. And with today’s stylish cultivars, edibles add panache to the mixed plantings rather than looking lost among ornamentals.
If my front door containers are any indication, location matters when it comes to the kitchen garden. As the name implies, these gardens are best located as close to the kitchen as possible to allow easy access to herbs and produce. Incorporating edibles into beds surrounding your patio or lining the back porch with containers are great ways to bring herbs and veggies close to the action.
Need to create a boundary in your landscape? Blackberries train well on fences, trellises, or on wire strung along existing walls. Growing in this way makes the berries from thornier varieties easier to pick; though our thornless blackberries varieties are a pain-free pleasure to harvest! Fig trees also grow well when espaliered — which is just a simple way to say that the branches are encouraged to grow to fit your narrow space.