At some point, it will cease to be winter in the Midwest and East Coast and continue to be the never-ending summer it has been in California. Usually the last of the snow leaves for good in April so there’s plenty of time for you to stock up on seeds, starter plants and pots for your future urban garden. Even if you have only a slip of space on a balcony, these plants produce throughout the season and give you something new to prepare with all your meals.
Now before I begin, I must nag you. My primary diet is heavy on the greens, and it shows through my skin. If you want luminous skin, just remember it won’t start from a bottle. It’s starts with what you put in your mouth.
Peas are one of the easiest plants to grow. Stick it a half-inch under the soil and you’ll have a seedling appear in a matter of days. Snap peas are my favorite, because you can pick them early and eat the entire pod. Peas are packed with thiamine, vitamin C and folic acid. Here’s something I bet you didn’t know: the sugars in peas convert to starch immediately upon picking. But guess what? If you have you own vine, you can pick them as needed and cook the amount you need and leave the rest.
Not all carrots require deep, loose soil. Next time you visit the garden center, pick up Carrot Tonda di Parigi HEIRLOOM Seeds by Botanical Interests. These cut little carrots are the perfect bite-sized snack when you’ve got the afternoon munchies, and they take heavenly with hummus. For this vegetable, I recommend a pot that looks like this:
Get two or three of these to hold all your plantings. You want to have plenty of carrots to munch on.
Parsley is notoriously slow to germinate. It’s easier to just get a starter seedling at the garden center and take it hime and repot it. Home-grown parsley dances circles around parsley you get in the store. The taste is more intense, and you can use less of it in your cooking. Parsley isn’t just a garnish–it’s good for you. It’s rich in vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, and potassium. It also contains cumanins and flavonoids, whatever those are. Parley is also often used as an anti-inflammatory. Try it in a tea…if you dare. I’ll just have mine with eggs, thankyouverymuch.
One of the best and most prolific vegetables to grow in a pot hand’s down are tomatoes. You’re looking at a seedling I started indoors a month ago and just transplanted into a large pot. A circular pot will do the trick, just make sure it’s on the large side, to give the roots room to stretch out and the branches to spread. In less than a month, this tomato will be twice the size it is now, and in two months it should be fruiting for me. Do we really have to review how healthy tomatoes are for you? They’re loaded with vitamins C, E and lycopene and beta-carotene, and studies saw the compounds in tomatoes reduce some forms of cancer. Tomatoes are heavy feeders, so be sure to give them some fertilizer. I have a 100% organic garden, so I don’t use any commercial fertilizers, but I do recommend E.B. Stone…they have a complete line of organic soils and fertilizers.
Chives also take a long time to germinate, so get the starters at the garden center. Once they get going, they produce quite a bit. And they’re not just for your baked potatoes–these subtle onion-y herbs can be mixed in with your morning eggs, as a finishing touch in soups. But that’s not nearly all. Click here for some recipe inspiration.
Never spend another cent on that $5 bag of mixed lettuces, not when you can grow them yourself. Salad greens–especially the ever-popular gourmet salad and micro greens are ridiculously easy to grow in a pot and can go from pot to table in about four weeks. Think beyond salad…every morning I cut off a few leaves to put into my green smoothie. It’s the formula for youth. I’m serious.
zucchini (if you train the vines up bamboo wigwam)
dwarf fruit trees