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Vegetables and Plants for Your Spring Garden – Even in Small Spaces Here on the Suncoast

| Angela Naff |

It’s spring and time to consider what plants to include in your patio garden or larger endeavors. While there are many great options for a garden, we have compiled a list of items to include this spring for a variety of options at your fingertips. Gardening can be a relaxing and sustainable activity this spring, so let’s see if these ideas can spark some inspiration.

Shallots – Shallots, a member of the onion family, give dishes a nice taste and texture and a fresh crunch when added to salads. It is fairly easy to plant; a single immature bulb can yield as many as five or six shallots. You can also easily store it during winter. Purple shallots our the best variety to grow. They are sweet and higher in nutrients than the white variety. 

Calendula – Calendulas, or pot marigolds, are annuals with daisy-like flowers. Only the petals are eaten, so remove them from the flower heads before using. Depending on the variety, they have a spicy, tangy, peppery, or bitter flavor. And they’re good for homemade butter, rice dishes, and salad garnish. They also can be dried and added as a garnish to soups, such as potato, leek, or winter squash soup.

Calendula in the Garden

Pole Beans – Many beans can easily take over your garden, so it’s best to keep them separate from your other plants. Vertical plants occupy the least space, so pole beans are a great choice for small gardens. Trinofo Violeto pole beans have a dual purpose; they’re tasty in salads and side dishes and look beautiful in the garden.

Tomatoes – A sunny spot and a container are all you need. Grape or cherry tomatoes are easy to plant and yield a cluster of fruits within a few days. Cherry tomatoes are especially easy to grow since you can grow them in hanging baskets, beds, or borders. Sweet Million is by far the most productive tomato and great for small yards as it produces heaps of cherry tomatoes all season.

Tomato Garden

Marigolds – only a few marigolds are palatable, including Signet marigolds ‘Lemon Gem’ and ‘Tangerine Gem’ and the Mexican mint marigold (Tagetes lucida). The blooms have a floral flavor with citrus and pepper notes. They’re good for salad garnish, frozen in ice cubes, sprinkled over egg dishes, or adding color to dishes. Be sure to give your plants some afternoon shade during the hot summer months.

Lemon Verbena – Lemon verbena has a high concentration of oils, with an intense citrusy aroma released by brushing against the foliage. Leaves make a refreshing addition to fish and poultry dishes, salad dressing, jam, and beverages. It has a host of health benefits and is also used in potpourri or cleaners. This tender perennial can be grown in a container in colder regions and brought indoors for the winter.

How many of these plants, herbs, or vegetables have you attempted to grow before? Is a garden a new year’s resolution for health reasons or to help curb grocery bills? Whatever your reasons, we hope you discover a green thumb and a love for this relaxing activity. Additionally, wonderful recipes and new dishes could be on the horizon with your fresh produce. We hope everyone has a wonderful spring, and the garden is just the start of your new ventures with the turning of the seasons here on the Suncoast.

Happy Spring, Suncoast!

Images Courtesy of Deposit Photos, Gardener’s Magazine, Krblokhim/Getty Images

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