Lisa and I eat a lot of fresh herbs and vegetables every day. The costs for staple items such as tomato and basil have gone through the roof, and we’ve also noticed that the quality of these products are often not very good. There are many alternatives to purchasing these things in the grocery store, such as local farmer’s markets, vegetable co-ops and even growing your own. Gardening is a big interest of mine, so for me the natural solution was to try my hand at growing my own. While I’d love to devote a large chunk of my backyard to a full-fledged vegetable and herb garden, doing so is not realistic right now. One of the biggest issues is that our automatic irrigation system uses reclaimed water, and that’s not safe for “wash and eat” vegetables and herbs. What we decided to do instead was pick the items that we use the most of and do some container growing on the back patio. We decided to start of with basil, tomatoes, cilantro, dill and jalapenos.
To grow the tomatoes, we used the Topsy Turvy Tomato Tree Stand. In this planter we’ve got 6 tomato plants, 2 cilantro plants and a basil plant. We bought this about 3 weeks ago, and so far everything is growing amazingly well. The tomato plants are covered in healthy yellow blossoms, and we should start harvesting in about 5-6 weeks.
I was reading some of the user reviews of this planter, and it seems like there is a strong divide between opinions. I think it really comes down to care. Tomatoes require a lot of sun and a lot of water; if you can’t water the plants daily and don’t have a spot that gets a lot of direct sun every day, this just won’t work. You’ll also need to fertilize the tomatoes on a regular basis.
Of all the herbs, we tend to use basil the most. Basil happens to be very expensive, and also doesn’t keep very long in the refrigerator. Thankfully basil is one of the easiest things in the world to grow. In addition to the basil we have planted in the Topsy Turvy Tomato Tree Stand, we also have a large container with three more basil plants in it (like I said, we use a lot!)
The basil plants are doing incredible! We’re able to use as much basil as we like and it’s FREE! In fact, we have so much basil now that we’re able to use more of it than ever before. Last night I made Chicken Ranch Salad and I used more basil than I used to use in an entire week. The plants don’t even look like they were touched.
We’ve also got some fresh dill, rosemary and jalapeno growing here. The fresh dill is fantastic in salmon recipes like my Broiled Salmon with Mustard and Dill.
If you’ve got a little outdoor space to devote to some containers, try growing your own favorite herbs and vegetables. You’ll save money and you can’t beat the freshness!