By Glenn DiNella
From ginormous troughs to petite pots, tucking a few edible herbs and vegetables into containers around your landscape is a growing trend. It seems that more plants available today than ever before can produce tasty foliage, fruits, or vegetables, and look good doing it.
Go big or go home. These large, galvanized-metal water troughs above make excellent deep containers for growing lots of herbs and vegetables. Here, rosemary, basil, and parsley mingle with pansies and several varieties of lettuce. Be sure to drill holes in the bottom of your metal container to allow water to drain.
Watering troughs are typically available at co-op stores and other farm supply stores. Lowe’s stocks smaller galvanized-metal washtubs that also work well for growing plants.
Lettuces are great for creating showy containers. You can find them in many shades of green and burgundy, and sporting many different leaf textures, from long and slender to short and crinkly. And you can pick lettuce when you’re in the mood for a salad with guaranteed fresh greens.
For a cool-season container, try parsley, Bright Lights Swiss chard, purple kale, and snapdragons. Although snapdragons are not considered edible, they are nontoxic. If you have young children around, be careful not to add toxic plants to your containers filled with edibles. The kids might assume everything in the pot is fair game for a snack.
Another big, bold arrangement of Bright Lights Swiss chard, snapdragons, pansies, and ornamental kale dresses up this covered patio. Ornamental kale is technically edible, but because it was bred for looks—not flavor—you probably won’t find it very tasty.
This metal urn filled with rosemary and pansies makes for a simple, elegant arrangement that brightens this back entrance. Pansy flowers are edible, so add them to a salad as a cheery garnish.
Because mint can be a bully in garden beds, confining it to a pot is a good idea. Herbs work well in containers because they prefer well-drained soil. They also crave sun. Small pots are easy to locate in a sunny spot in your garden. Also, you can relocate them if the sun exposure in your garden is not quite what you thought it was, or if it changes. (Trees grow and sometimes die.)