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Moss' Kitchen Garden Plants

Gardening for the Table

Summer is the season for growing crops and herbs. Producing your own food (however minute) lifts the spirits and encourages the soul. On the practical side, growing some crops boosts your nutrition, sharpens culinary skills, and keeps you in touch with nature.

Most of us can't expect to be self-sufficient with our gardening. That's okay we enjoy visiting the friendly folks at the farmer's market. But sometimes you need a sprig of fresh parsley, some thyme clippings, or a vine ripe tomato. That's where the kitchen garden can save the day.

Whether you have a large space or just a few balcony containers all you need is sunshine, clean soil, and healthy plants/seeds. Mulching is also a good idea. The list below features some easy plants that will grow right outside your kitchen door (as long as there is enough sun). You only need a plant or two of these guys to keep you happy all summer.


Click on thumb for larger image





bumblebee on silver linden flowers


Bushy annual with fragrant leaves. Tender to frost. Purple Thai basil is less pungent with a hint of anise.

Pesto, flavoring in sauces

hyssop in barrel


Hardy sub-shrub with aromatic leaves. Flowers all summer. Fantastic for attracting pollinators to the garden. Drought tolerant. Cut back after flowering to promote bushiness and limit volunteers.

flavoring, salads, cough syrup, liquers, perfumes

peace rose


Large annual with bright flowers that last a day. Pick pods when they are less than 6" to avoid toughness. Drought tolerant. "Burgundy" is a colorful cultivar. "Louisiana Green Velvet" can grow to over 9'.

Raw, fried, gumbos, thickener in soup

jerusalem sage flowers


Decorative groundcover with fragrant leaves. Biennial flowers the following spring. Drought tolerant. Attracts swallowtails.

Flavoring, garnish, breath freshener, digestive aid

bumbleebee flying towards solomon's seal cluster


Mid sized to large perennial often grown as an annual. Banana peppers and chile peppers usually produce more for the home gardener than bell types. Drought tolerant.

Raw, sauteed, salads, dishes

maroon martagon lily


Hardy sub-shrub with aromatic leaves. Flowers in late spring. Prune out old woody stems to promote new, fresh growth. Drought tolerant. Clipped stems can be used fresh or dried. Great seasoning in sausage.

Seasoning, flavoring, sauces,

iris black gamecock


Large annual creeping plant. A couple of plants may be needed to ensure pollination. Winter squash can also be used like summer squash if harvested early.

Soups, roasted, steamed, dishes

butterfly weed

Sweet Potato

Running vine that produces roots and taters from leaf axils. Taters can be harvested early by "robbing" developing roots. These early taters do not store well. Drought tolerant.

Soups, dishes, souffles, pies, candied

blue globe onion


Hardy, low growing, aromatic groundcover. Some are strictly creepers. Cut back bareen twigs in spring to promote new growth

Seasoning, sauces, flavoring

aztec lily Large perennial grown as an annual in temperate climates. Weak stems require support. Cherry tomatoes, like "Sun Gold", are great choices for urban gardeners. Tomatoes occasionally attract hornworms which attract parasitic wasps. Raw, salads, sauces, dishes, roasted

wemoss.org 2007, Last Updated June 26, 2007