Summer Herbs and Vegetables: Our Home Garden


Summer is quite possibly my favorite season for many reasons. In early summer we plant a fresh herb and vegetable garden and the girls and I spend countless hours observing and cultivating our seeds and plants. There is nothing more rewarding than eating the “fruits of your labor” and I take such pride in watching my girls learn how to use our small bit of land to grow and then eat their own fruits, herbs, and vegetables.

I think gardening in general can seem quite daunting – but I can assure you that if I can do it you can too! It isn’t too late to get your garden going for this year. I just planted mine 2 weeks ago. If all this rain persists you too can have your own little jungle soon! Herbs are the least intimidating things to plant and enjoy immediately so we always start with our potted herb garden in early June. So far John and I have had three tomato, basil, and mozzarella salads with fresh basil from the herb garden. They were delicious!

Once the potted herbs have been planted (details below) you just have to water them every few days and they will bloom and regrow all summer long. The Vegetable Garden also needs to be watered every other day during the hot summer months. Aside from that we just weed the ground around our plants, give them time to grow, and then we enjoy the veggies. We expect to be eating Lettuce (planted from seeds), Green Beans (planted from seeds) and Cucumbers (planted from small plants) by mid-July. Tomatoes, Squash, Peppers, and Eggplants will be ready by early August. Its our first time with Watermelon so I can’t guess when they will be ready… Oh, and the herbs are ready to use and eat as soon as they are planted!


Fresh Herbs from Home Depot


Last years pots looked a little worse for wear… The chives were the lone survivor. That basil was bought on a whim and planted the week before I purchased my new herbs. I had to doctor the Basil up a bit when I planted all the others.


A pot that has been cleaned out – no more roots, flowers, twigs or rocks.


After digging a well for each plant I sprinkle some potting mix into the center of the well to invigorate the plants and hep them grow.


Freshly planted mint with one small sprig that survived the winter from last year on the left side of the photo.


Rosemary and Thyme are great for seasoning fish and chicken on the grill. I also cut and dry it each fall to use it for making spiced nuts in the winter!


My two favorites – Tarragon and Basil! Both strong flavors that are great in salads or chicken dishes. This is the Basil after I added some more soil and got it standing upright again.


Texas Tarragon in honor of my niece and nephew who are now “Texans”.


Oregano for Italian food and Dill for salmon and salads.


The Finished Pots



Our little 20′ x 3′ plot of soil – the fence’s hanging plants have been trimmed and leaves, rocks, twigs will be removed before we start planting!


Soil has been roughed up with the rake and plants are placed in rows to make sure we have enough space allocated for each plant to grow into.


For planting seeds shallow long wells have been dug. A small amount of potting soil or fertilizing soil is sprinkled on top prior to dropping seeds in.


My little helpers dropping seeds into the wells and covering them with soil.


Plants after being planted in 4 inch wells sprinkled with fertilizing soil. I always bury at least 3 inches of the stem so that the plants are sturdier and less likely to fall over. I also use cages for Cucumbers, Tomatoes, and Eggplants because they tend to shoot up really quickly and the weight of the vegetables will bend them towards the soil.


This year I planted Heirloom Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, and Beefsteak Tomatoes. All taste slightly different and can be used for cooking and in salads.


Japanese Eggplants are great for grilling!


The key to Cucumbers is picking them early before the skin gets tough and seeds grow inside them. My girls literally eat them whole – right off the vine!


These Miniature Sweet Bell Peppers are also great for picking and eating!


Our first foray into fruits! We’ll see how these little Watermelons work out.


The Finished Product

And the Afters… these photos were taken just a week after the first batch!


Summer Squash has sprouted from seeds to small plants!


Bib Lettuce has just started to appear as well.


Cucumbers are starting to wind their way around the cages.


Tomatoes have grown up to the second level of the cages!

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  1. Kathy Altomaro says:

    As always you are amazing! Is there anything you can’t do?!!! Thank you soooo much for your note & the lovely book… are my inspiration & my idol. Keep up the good work…the world is better with you in it. Xoxo

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