We just arrived in New Jersey for 8 weeks in my most favorite place! I love Stone Harbor, NJ for so many reasons…spending time with family, seeing friends, going to the beach, sailing and surfing…and my mom’s beautiful herb and vegetable garden!
Each year, my mom plants a garden in a 12’x14′ space. She starts in late May, weather pending, and creates a beautiful and edible oasis. We eat out of the garden all summer and make yummy appetizers and meals from all of the fruits of her labor.
Growing a garden is both fulfilling and sustainable. Think of all the endless possibilities: herbs like basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, mint, tarragon, thyme, and fennel bulb, just to name a few. And vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, spinach, arugula, and the list goes on and on! And although my mom doesn’t grow much fruit, beside strawberries, you can be advertourous there, too!
Here are some reasons you should plant a garden this summer:
1. You can grow herbs and veggies that are healthy and nutritious. Since you are doing the planting, you know what is in the soil. As long as you don’t use pesticides and just feed your garden the natural way, with sunlight and water, your garden and all the comes out of it will be organic!
2. It is cheaper and fresher to grow your own herbs and vegetables. It’s a shame how expensive organic fruits and veggies are in the supermarket. When you grow your own, you save money and assure they are fresh! Just pick them as you need them!
3. Vegetables, fruits and herbs are full of vitamins, photo nutrients and antioxidants. Growing your own garden will keep you healthy!
4. It is fulfilling to dig in the soil, plant your seeds or mini plants and watch them grow. My grandmother always said that getting your hands dirty created a sense of accomplishment.
Although it is best to plant your garden in the late spring, it is not too late to plant a garden now! And if you are tight on room, you can easily get some large pots and start simple with some herb and tomato plants. I promise you won’t be disappointed in your work!
Here is a fresh chimichurri recipe (which is my son’s favorite!) that is great on steak, chicken, fish, even eggs!
1/2 cup parsley
1/2 cup basil
1/4 cup oregano
(Feel free to add other herbs to taste, such as cilantro, or mint!)
2/3 cup olive oil
Juice from 1 fresh lemon
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp. chopped shallots (optional)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until chopped, but not puréed.
I will continue to send more recipes throughout the summer that include herbs and vegetables from the garden. Stay tuned!!