Pickled foods make tasty appetizers as well as delicious additions to salads and main dishes. And if you use the refrigerator method, they’re super-easy to make. Cucumbers are the traditional choice for pickling, but lots of other foods—beets, onions, peppers—are equally tasty pickled.
This raised bed garden is designed to keep you in pickles summer and fall. It has hanging baskets to help you save space. And planting in a raised bed helps ensure success in multiple ways:
- Filling it with quality topsoil or a raised bed garden mix eliminates the potential problem of poor, weed-riddled soil.
- Making the bed 18 inches high makes tending easier, especially for your back.
- Keeping the bed narrow gives you easy access, too, because it requires less reaching.
- Raised beds warm sooner in spring, extending the growing season.
This garden is also beautiful before and after harvest. Purple-leaf beets and red okra contrast dramatically against the rich colors of compact bell peppers. And when displayed in a pickling jar or a serving dish, the orange carrots look fabulous next to golden beets.
A Beet: Bull’s Blood (8)
B Beet: Touchstone Gold (8)
C Carrot: Northern Lights Blend (16)
D Cucumber: Northern Pickling (1)
E Dill: Dukat (2)
F Okra: Red Burgundy (3)
G Onion: White Portugal (8)
H Pepper: Bellina (1)
I Pepper: Cayennetta (1)
J Tomato: Topsy Tom (1)
TIP: Bull’s Blood beet greens are a fantastic purple-red. Get double the rewards from the plant by harvesting some of the young leaves for salads. This variety takes only two months to mature, so be sure to plant more seeds after you harvest to get a second crop!
Even if your growing space consists of nothing more than a patio, balcony or deck, you can grow the ingredients for tasty salads all summer long. How is that possible? Containers! Salad greens are traditionally more compact plants than larger vegetables, so they’re perfect for pots.
Using just five containers—we selected different sizes to add more visual interest so the garden looks as good as it tastes—you can grow this salad garden anywhere, even on a large front stoop. And thanks to companion plantings in each pot, these containers will look full all season.
Sow the salad greens in early spring. They tolerate frost, so you can get an extra-early start, even in cold climates. Then, when it’s time to harvest the greens, cut the plants back and give them a healthy dose of fertilizer. They’ll regrow, and you may get three or four harvests from each plant!
To make the garden easy to maintain, use a drip-irrigation kit. Easy to install and typically inexpensive, drip systems can be automated by using a timer.
A Swiss chard: Bright Lights (3)
B Chives (1)
C Malabar spinach (1)
D Radish: Easter Egg II Blend (6)
E Tomato: Totem (1)
F Lettuce: Red Sails (3)
G Cucumber: Patio Snacker (1)
H Lettuce: Tropicana (3)
I Swiss chard: Bright Lights (1)
J Spinach: Tyee (3)
TIP: You can add watercress to this salad garden: Select a container that doesn’t have drainage holes, and partially fill it with water. Plant watercress in a slightly smaller container that does have drainage. Set the container with the watercress in the larger pot with water; the watercress will draw up the moisture it needs. Every three or four days, empty the water from the larger container and add fresh water.
Basil wears the crown as the king of pesto ingredients, and this garden happily pays it the respect it’s due. But it also gives a generous nod to a number of very tasty basil alternatives for pesto—Italian parsley, cilantro, spinach and more.
Because this garden is so compact, it will fit in just about any sunny spot. Locate it close to your deck or patio for convenient harvesting and visual appeal.
We chose a range of basil varieties to give you options, but feel free to substitute with your favorites or narrow it to just one or two varieties. We even included strawberry plants; pair strawberries with basil for an intriguing twist on classic pesto.
Though this garden doesn’t require special care, we recommend that you regularly pinch back the basil to keep it from flowering. Doing so ensures that it will continue to produce all the way through fall.
Cilantro, by contrast, is a short-season plant. Make sure you have a fresh supply of it by planting seeds right in the garden every three weeks or so.
A Basil: Finissimo Verde A Palla (6)
B Basil: Genovese (3)
C Basil: Pesto Perpetuo (4)
D Basil: Purple Ruffles (3)
E Chives (3)
F Cilantro: Santo (5)
G Dill: Dukat (2)
H Garlic: Spanish Roja (3)
I Italian parsley (3)
J Peppermint (1)
K Spinach: Tyee (2)
L Strawberry: Tristar (3)
TIP: Peppermint is an aggressive perennial plant that can take over a garden seemingly overnight. To keep it contained, plant it in a large container and sink the whole pot in the soil. Or, grow it in an attractive glazed container set atop the soil as a focal point.