I first started doing vegetable pots for one of my clients a few years ago. I was so pleased with the results that I wanted to try one out for myself! In this planter I have all of the ingredients to make a fresh tomato-vegetable sauce (think Gazpacho for pasta or cucumber noodles). The planter may look a little sparse when you finish, but trust me your plants will use up that space. Cherry Tomatoes are what they call ‘indeterminant’ which means they grow like crazy and even need to be trimmed back sometimes for more abundant fruit.
Here’s the line-up: Serrano’s, Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Basil, and Cherry Tomatoes. Sweet 100’s are my favorite red cherry tomato and they’re pretty easy to grow. For the cucumber, you want to find a ‘bush’ variety as opposed to the ‘vining’ kind because it is more suitable for container planting. For my vegetable planters I like to use about 50% homemade compost and 50% potting soil for added drainage. If you’re using store bought compost I would go with 25% compost and 75% potting soil.
One thing that I forgot on my trip to the greenhouse was a tomato cage. I like to color code my cages with my tomatoes: orange for Sungold Tomatoes, yellow for the Yellow Pear, and red of course for the Sweet 100’s. That way there’s no confusion about which one is supposed to be red and which one is ripe when orange.
In addition to the Spaghetti Pot, I put together my herb containers. I love having a variety of herbs around because it can get expensive to buy them at the store. And really, when was the last time I used up the entire bunch of thyme? Oh, that’s right, never! I’ve haven’t yet found a way to use up that much thyme before it goes bad (yeah, thyme is always getting away from me). I like to put the Mediteranean herbs together because they all like well-drained soil. In the photo below we have thyme, golden oregano, and rosemary paired together. Still on my list to put together is Sorrel, Tarragon, Cilantro, and some exotic kinds of basil.
I just love having so many fresh herbs available just outside on the porch, it makes cooking so much easier to have a few things on hand. It’s got me thinking of a simple rosemary marinade for steak, thyme butter over new potatoes, or chicken wrapped with prosciutto and sage. We’ll have to see what unfolds over the summer!