Don’t like Bugs, Dirt, or a Sore Back? The Easiest Garden

May 27, 2014   17 Comments

It is that time of year again, where everyone is out planting their gardens.

Easy Herb Garden

Me? I am sitting this year out. Honestly, I would love to plant a garden that would give me tons of tomatoes, zucchini, basil and kale, but I hate weeding in the hot sun. Also, I found that I don’t like picking vegetables much either.

Two years ago, we tried a farm share and part of the deal was that we go out to the field and pick our vegetables. As I crouched in the hot sun (as my children complained), I dreamt of the cold interior of a supermarket produce section. Once you pick your own green beans, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries you treat your food with much more respect. Somebody worked HARD to get that food to you.

What I do love is the taste of freshness in my food. There is nothing like a sprig of fresh basil on a tomato, or parsley as a garnish on a soup. I want my food to be both healthy and flavorful – fresh herbs are the easiest way to get a POP of flavor for almost zero calories.

I am going to buy a wee garden for my windowsill. All you need is about $8-$12 and you can have fresh herbs all summer long. My favorites are basil, cilantro, and parsley. I clip off some of the plant when I want to add it to a dish and it keeps growing! Best of all, I don’t have to weed or go outside to get my product and I keep them above my sink for quick watering.

You can buy these plants at any Home Depot or garden store.

What do I do with my herbs?

  • Layer leaves of basil on my tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Add cilantro to my salsa (tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, lime juice, salt)
  • Use parsley as a garnish for anything (eggs, fish, tomatoes, etc.)

Fresh herbs are a zero calorie way to add lots of flavor to your food.

Do you have a garden? How do you use fresh herbs?

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Sounds great. Fresh herbs solve so many taste problems! Another possibility for ease that might work for some people is the "garden in a bag idea". Here's a link:…. I've got lettuce, arugula and cilantro in mine at the moment. No slugs!

We do container gardening so there is no weeding! We have grown a TON of tomatoes (my teens favorite veggie since she was 2) this way. I purchased boxes on line so that I can't overwater and I have reused them for several years so they have definitely paid for themselves several times over! I would LOVE to plant herbs but have NO idea how to use them...what foods are best with what herbs...

I live in a condo, so I can't actually garden in my yard, but I have done a couple tomato plants in containers in the past. They didn't do well last year and combined with the fact that I can't really eat tomatoes anymore (too acidic) I will not be planting them again this year. I may still plant some herbs, but I haven't decided yet.

I LOVE fresh basil -- so easy to grow all summer; just keep it moist and pick/pinch off often -- it gets thicker and thicker with more leaves. I use it in salads,coarsely chopped; in grilled cheese with fresh tomato slices between the cheese; rub a plate with fresh garlic clove (discard clove), add sliced backyard tomatoes, thinly sliced Vidalia or red onion, slices of fresh mozzarella, lots of julienned basil, kosher salt and a heavy drizzle of good olive oil. These same ingredients are good in bowl with 1" chunks of hearty bread -- a salad of sorts and very satisfying.

Use fresh Rosemary on oven roasted red or Yukon gold potatoes.

Make your own Tabbouleh with bugler wheat, fresh parsley (Italian, flat leaf), fresh cilantro. fresh chives. --all these flavors are 'summer' to my palate!

If garlic is planted very near the garden perimeter bugs will not be a big problem. When we plant our gardens, we use a tiller and really did not have much of a problem with weeds. If in a drought area, it may be best to wait to plant. Veggies will cost much less at the market instead of the fortune one might pay in water and they will be certified organic. Check the soil too for toxic substances before planting. There are kits online that can be bought for this. Since the drought in our area, we have been planting in containers outside. However, plants not only need sunshine, they need fresh air to thrive. Plants really need to be in their native environment, outside. They are not meant to live indoors. Even some green house plants eventually need to be planted outdoors or continually fed as the soil will deplete quickly. My ex (still a friend) has been a successful landscape architect to celebrities for years and I learned a lot from him about plants and gardening. : )

Earth boxes or their generic equivalent (City Pickers) are the way to go. I'm an urban farmer now, I grow veggies on my deck and they're fool proof. We had terrible luck with tomatoes until we tried these. We bought two boxes last year and had so many tomatoes, we kept our friends and family stocked for the summer. We bought two more this year and are going to try other things like cucumbers and squash. Follow the instructions and you won't have any problems.

Snack Girl,

Here's an idea for future posts...

What to do with Herbs - you can focus on a different one each time. I know you've given some ideas above, but Barrie's question was echoed by several people at my WW meeting last week.

What goes with what? What should I use.

Maybe a picture of the herb, where to get it or how to grow it, how to store it, can you freeze it, and 3-4 recipe suggestions.

Just a suggestion! I have my basil, cilantro, thyme and lemon balm (a new one for me) ready to plant...


Libraries have wonderful books on growing and cooking with herbs.

Skillet cook a chicken breast,when cooked thoroughly add one large sage leaf on top,a slice of shaved ham and a piece of swiss cheese. Cover and when cheese has melted serve

All herbs,cherry tomatoes,even zucchinni can be grown in container pots outside. I bring them in in Autumn and have a shelf in the basement with timed grow bulbs and we have fresh herbs all winter- though by spring they are sparse!

Please please think about the bees. Get herbs that are organic and have not been treated with pesticides or are grownfrom gmo treated seeds. The bees are dying and we need to be responsible about how and what we grow even in our container gardens.

yes, and you can let Basil go to flower which they Love. I plant flowers just for them in garden.

Yes and I get a strange satisfaction from the sweat and pain of keeping up my veggie garden! I use fresh herbs all of the time. In fact today I nibbled on one raw asparagus stalk and paired it with a strand of fresh chives. An amazing combination! My favorite recipe is stuffing the cavity of a chicken with fresh thyme and a lemon. Here is the recipe -…

You can take a piece of basil and a small piece of cheese, I use mozzarella and put it in a wonton. Brush edge with a mixture of egg and a little water lightly so that the edges seal making a triangle. Let the triangles set in fridge for an hour or up to three days with plastic wrap over them.. Then deep fry in oil of your choice. Dip in homemade marinara or salsa.

I cut tomatoes in half and scrape out the seeds and pulp. I then grind the tomatoes, skin and all in a food processor or blender till fine. Skin has vitamins. Add salt and pepper, herbs of choice then simmer for two hours gently. Makes great base for soups and sauces. I freeze mine . Excess vegetables I blanch then freeze to add to stews and soups. Dried herbs keep in glass jars in a cool dark cupboard. Fresh basil makes great pesto and then freeze in ice cube trays. Once frozen put cubes in a strong freezer bag to use all winter. The Internet has many ideas for herbs. I even make herb wreaths for gifts. Small ones hang nicely over a kitchen sink and scents your area when the warmth of the sun or washing dishes releases their fragrances .

I got my feet wet by growing sprouts in my kitchen. Easy, inexpensive (you might even have the necessary equipment already), and fast.

I get a bag of regular lentils from the grocery store, soak overnight, and then drain and rinse every 8-12 hours until they taste right to me (usually three-ish days).

Great adds to salads or season and eat by themselves.

And you can pretend you're a gardener without the dirt. :)

There are lots of websites that give more details - my favorite has been (with which I am affiliated in no way other than being a happy reader and I think I bought one EasySprouter from them).

Strawbale gardening! No weeds...good for many locations! Amazing results. Sorry, I sound like a commercial, however I tried it last year and was very happy as I've got only sandy soil. Takes a litte prep work, but then you've got the best garden container around in the straw! See Straw Bale Gardens: The Breakthrough Method for Growing Vegetables Anywhere, Earlier and with No Weeding Paperback by Joel Karsten available on Amazon. :-)

Loved reading this. I share your love of fresh vegetables and hate of watering, weeding and all around tending! I have a difficult time keeping plants alive in pots on my little patio. It's just soooo hot here in Phoenix. I had just been contemplating using the window sill above my sink into an herb garden. I picked up a beautiful basil plant at Trader Joes. Now I need to make a trip to Home Depot for pots of parsley, cilantro, mint and thyme!

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