Gardening rocks! There’s no better complement to a beautiful Michigan summer than a lush backyard, bursting with color and life (especially after the winter we had this year). For me, that means a mix of flowers AND vegetables – it’s the only way to satisfy my plant geek side and my foodie side. I’ve been growing vegetables in containers for most of my gardening life and I share my experience and ideas in my new book, Edible Spots & Pots, published by Rodale this past March. In it, I cover the details of growing edibles in containers and raised beds, sharing tips and tricks to set you up for a successful, beautiful harvest. For example, did you know that the secret to growing good cilantro like you buy at the grocery store is to grow more than one plant, and sow seeds regularly? Cilantro naturally has a very short life cycle, so to keep a continuous supply, you have to sow seed frequently. When your cilantro plant goes to seed, don’t just rip it out right away. You can let the seed turn from green to tan and sow it and grow more cilantro, or collect it and put it in a glass jar – it is the spice, coriander!
Because I work for one of the partners in the Proven Winners brand, colorful containers are pretty much a way of life. So in the book, I adapted the popular thriller-filler-spiller method of composing fabulous floral combinations to vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. The book includes over 30 “recipes” for gorgeous and edible combinations, plus all the information you need to mix up any herb or veggie that you like to grow into your own unique combo.
But I’m going to need to leave my container garden in the care of my husband (who fortunately loves to garden as well) when I head up to the Grand Hotel at the end of August for the Proven Winners Grand Garden Show. I am so excited to go back and enjoy the grounds of the Grand and all of the gorgeous private gardens on the tours. And, I get to do my favorite thing – talk about plants and gardening – for three whole days! Last year’s show was amazing, inspirational, and so much fun. I mean, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a cocktail on that legendary porch in the company of P. Allen Smith, Jon Carloftis, and Jack Barnwell – three of the nicest, funniest, most talented gardeners you’ll ever meet? I hope you can find someone to mind your garden and take the time to escape with us. It really is an unforgettable experience!
P.S. Master gardeners (http://www.extension.org/pages/9925/state-and-provincial-master-gardener-programs:-extension-and-affiliated-program-listings#.U7RO1PldVA0) can earn 5 educational credit hours for attending!