A Grazer’s Garden
Mint for a refreshing tea or aperitif, cocktail tomatoes as salad toppers, or a handful of strawberries to nosh on: bedding and balcony plants and summer flowering perennials can be perfectly combined with tasty edible plants. Among the advantages of a combination planting are the nutrient density of the harvest, since fruits and vegetables can be picked at peak ripeness and brought fresh to the table.
The blossoms of edible plants are in no way boring. Among herbs, thyme, sage, and rosemary present attractive blooms. Zucchini, pumpkin, and nasturtium delight with large, bright yellow or orange flowers. Swiss chard is notable for its appealing leaves and stems. Bush and fire beans are well suited for hanging baskets or for climbing up balcony fences or espaliers. Strawberries, with their sugary sweet, aromatic fruit on long runners, are also a good choice for hanging baskets.
Salad plantings can be combined with yellow or orange colored etageres or calendula (calendula officials). Tomatoes and peppers shouldn’t be left out, and for those who like some exoticism, figs, bananas, palms, olive trees, or hibiscus can come into play.
Most of these snacking plants are cultivated for one year and do not need to be overwintered. During the summer months they should be given sufficient water and fertilized regularly to ensure a rich harvest. Herbs may prefer a drier, less nutrient rich soil. They also differ, being perennials, in that they can stay outside in their pot when protected sufficiently from the elements.