4 Easy Edibles to Grow in Pots
Some things are super easy to grow in containers, even if you are new to gardening, convinced you suck at it, or are just really busy. Plants grown in pots can be picky + needy, but these tend to be total troopers, regardless of sun, water and whether you’ve even thought about or check on them in the last two weeks. (These plants should do well in the ground, too, if you’ve got the space.)
Sorrel. Sorrel is a perennial, which means the plant keeps coming back if you live in a mild climate like I do, where we rarely even get frost. I started sorrel from seed last summer and it’s still growing in two containers at my house. (And exploding like crazy in JD & TC’s Oakland front yard.) Sorrel has a tart lemony taste when you’re eating it fresh, and has a sort of soft succulent crunch. I use it in salads, throw it into a mix of sauteed greens, and made a great frittata by substituting sorrel for spinach in the recipe. TC make bruschetta with ricotta and chopped sorrel. (SF Chronicle on cooking with sorrel.)
Chives. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love having fresh chives right outside my door. I’ve had the same chive plant growing in a pot for four years. It dies back in the winter, but pops back up in the spring. I cook with them in almost everything. The purple flowers are also edible. Get a start from a garden center rather than growing this from seed. Better for instant gratification.
Arugula. Arugula might as well be a weed, but such a tasty one. It grows really easily from either starts or seeds. I love the spicy, peppery flavor. I eat it fresh in salads, on sandwiches and make tons of arugula pesto. The flowers are edible too. There are several different varieties available, especially from places that specialize in Italian seed. I also have a perennial wild arugula variety growing in a pot right now.
Mint. What more can I say? Fresh mint is hella good, if only for tea and cocktails. Mint can be invasive so I’ve read lots of recommendations that it’s even best to grow it in a pot.
So what else can you grow in pots? Most herbs tend to do really well in pots, and make the most of a little space because you don’t always use a lot of them. Lettuces also generally do well in pots because they have shallow roots and don’t need a ton of room. If you’ve got a sunny window sill, a fire escape, a balcony or a deck, give it a try. See what works. Try growing what you like. If you’re new to gardening, I recommend getting plant starts from a nursery. An independent local nursery will have healthier plants than the big box stores, and will have more interesting varieties.
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