Some tips to make small time gardening easy pickin's

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:41

    Expert tips for growing vegetables within arm’s reach of the kitchen Gone are the days when tomatoes, peppers and squash take a back seat to roses and petunias in the ornamental garden beds. Today’s home garden designers are incorporating “edible ornamentals” into beds, borders and even hanging baskets to bring vegetables and herbs within arm’s reach of the kitchen. “People don’t want to just ‘work’ in the garden,” says Justin Hancock, garden editor at Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living magazine. “They want their garden to work for them, and they are coming up with some great ways of mixing their edibles with their ornamentals.” Hancock says that homeowners don’t need a fancy landscape designer or a huge yard to create a kitchen garden that is right at their fingertips. “They just need a little inspiration.” Try these tips for growing vegetables among your flowers and close to your kitchen. • Hang Your Harvest — If you are short on space, consider growing edibles like cherry tomatoes in a hanging basket. ‘Patio Princess Hybrid’ tomato ( is a perfect choice for hanging baskets because of its short, compact habit. As the dark red tomatoes come into fruit, the plant creates an eye-catching display that is both beautiful and easy to harvest. • Contain Your Cucumbers — Cucumbers in containers…who knew? Simply start plants in a container and grow them up a 2-foot trellis over the course of the season. The plant’s bold foliage and textured fruits add interest to otherwise boring backdrops. Certain cucumber varieties, like Burpee’s ‘Bush Champion Hybrid’ have much shorter vines that lend themselves to planting in pots. • Herb Gardens in a Pot — Herbs are perfect companion plants for mixed containers. They add texture to mixed flower plantings and are a cinch to harvest when grown in a window box or pot just outside the kitchen. Add Burpee’s ‘Summerlong’ basil to a flower container, where it will grow vigorously right through autumn. • Pep-Up Perennial Beds — Perennials are great because they reappear every year, but many varieties only bloom for a limited time. To add interest to perennial flower beds into late summer, try planting ornamental edible peppers, like Burpee’s ‘Biker Billy Hybrid’ or ‘Salsa Delight Hybrid’. As the pepper fruits mature, their skin will illuminate beds with glorious shades of yellow, orange and red. • Recipe Gardens - This summer, plant a small kitchen garden, and you won’t have to go far to pick up the ingredients for your favorite salsa recipe or salad entrée. Just step outside the back door and harvest herbs and vegetables from your very own recipe garden. Plant a “pasta garden” of Burpee’s ‘Big Mama Hybrid’ paste tomato or ‘Health Kick Hybrid’, with its powerful antioxidants, along with ‘Biker Billy Hybrid’ peppers to add zip to a great sauce. With careful planning, you can grow all the ingredients needed for your favorite dishes in a themed garden. Grow herbs in mixed containers with perennials, or plant an entire salsa garden in a raised bed close to your patio. Look for Burpee Gardens™ vegetable plants at your local garden center this spring. The plant collection contains 32 of Burpee’s most beloved vegetable and herb varieties, like the legendary ‘Brandy Boy Hybrid’ tomato and the ever popular ‘Big Burpless Hybrid’ cucumber. For more ideas and growing tips, visit