Edible Gardening

Edible gardening has been a growing trend in the past few years. With everyone going green and eating organic, edible gardening is an inexpensive way to do so.  While lots of herbs and vegetables can be easy to grow here in the Midwest, it can also be tricky.

We are in Zone 5, not only meaning that we’re somewhere in the middle, but that not everything can handle our drastic temperature changes. This also means that not all edibles are perennial here.  Here are some of the best herbs and vegetables to grow in our region, as well as the best to grow for your culinary needs.

The best perennial herbs for Chicagoland (Zone 5) are chives, lavender, mint, chamomile, oregano and tarragon.  A lot of these, however, can be quite invasive when planted in the ground. To prevent them from invading space, plant the herbs in a sunken container or in an area you don’t have to mow or maintain.  Another solution is to create a container herb garden. 

Creating a container garden also allows you to use annual herbs that you may need for your cooking.  Some of these annual herbs that are culinary necessities are dill, anise hyssop, basil, thyme, cilantro, parsley, rosemary and sage.

You can also use these herbs for making tea catnip, mint, lemon balm, lemon verbena, horehound, and chamomile.

Right now we have some herbs in stock, but the majority will be arriving with our perennials in a few weeks.  For more information on the herbs we carry, check out our herbs page.

Vegetables in zone 5 can be even trickier.  With the general first “frost free” day being May 30, planting tender vegetables out like tomatoes and peppers can be risky.  Below is a great calendar from veggieharvest.com that shows when to start each vegetable indoors, to plant, and to harvest it.

By starting vegetables indoors, much like we do here at the greenhouse, you help ensure a better harvest.  If you don’t have room to start seeds in your home, you can always plant the vegetables we start out in your garden, but towards the end of May. If a late frost does occur, covering tender plants with landscaping cloth, lightweight dish towel or bed sheet is the best solution.

If  you look at the chart, you’ll notice that there are some vegetables that can be planted before the last frost.  Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, peas and onions are just a few examples of what you can be planting now.

If you don’t have a space to plant vegetables, you can always create a raised bed or plant your vegetables in containers.  Just remember that with certain vegetables, like tomatoes, need a large pot for just one plant.  It may seem ridiculous when you first plant a little tomato plant in a huge pot, but it will definitely grow into it!

For a list of vegetables available for purchase here at Vern Goers Greenhouse, check our Vegetables page here.  We also have a variety of flower and vegetable seeds available for purchase now.

Planting Calendar from www.veggieharvest.com

Christian Goers