4 plants every foodie should grow at home
Know your lemon balm from your ice plant? Your fiddle leaf fig tree from your Canary Island date palm? No dramas if not. That’s what the hungry gardener is here for.
Green Space is all about making gardening and growing your own produce a fun, easy, accessible hobby that anyone and everyone can get involved in.
Every week we’ll bring you short clips filled with awesome tips and hacks from our green guru, otherwise known as The Hungry Gardener. From fuss-free plants for lazy gardeners to trend-setting greenery for hipsters, Capomolla will share expert knowledge on two of his favourite things: gardening and food.
This week it’s all about the foodie. Whether you’re a novice or die-hard cook, these are the four best plants to grow at home.
Capomolla is a firm believer that growing your own herbs is a great way to save money. Not only are they cheaper than buying cut herbs at the supermarket, they also provide you with far better flavour.
“Of all the herbs, the one I use the most is parsley,” says Capomolla. “There are two types – curly and Italian. However, when it comes to cooking, Italians often do it better; curly is really only used to garnish the Friday night ruffle meat tray.”
Rich in vitamins, particularly vitamin K, this herb that originated from the Med is super easy to grow – and makes a whole lot of difference to the flavour of your meals.
Fab’s 3 ways to care for parsley
- Parsley grows best in full sun with well-drained soils.
- Water regularly – stressing the plant will force it to bolt to seed.
- The plant will die after it goes to seed, so the option is to buy another one – or let the seeds fall. if choosing the latter option, before you know it the whole garden could be covered in parsley plants.
2. Dwarf lemon tree
If the idea of buying $4 lemons from the supermarket kills you, you’re not alone. Make the jump and buy yourself a dwarf lemon tree instead.
“Many dwarf varieties remain small and require little pruning,” says Capomolla. “They hate wet feet, so my tip is to purchase an established tree and plant in well-drained soil.”
“They grow well in pots and once established there’s no need to prune – you just keep their shape. Give it three years and you’ll have a decent crop.”
Fab’s 3 ways to care for dwarf lemon trees
- Dwarf lemon trees like a sunny position out of the wind.
- Water regularly but allow the root zone to dry out before watering again.
- They’re heavy feeders, so fertilise with an organic palletise fertiliser every three months.
3. Cherry tomatoes
“For a long time cherry tomatoes were only grown as ornamental plants as they were thought to be poisonous,” shares Capomolla.
Belonging to the same family of plants as potatoes, peppers and eggplants, cherry tomatoes are easy to grow – particularly in pots – and have less issues with pests and diseases than regular tomatoes do.
“The best thing about cherry tomatoes is they give you great bang for your buck,” says Capomolla. “You don’t need as many plants – and they don’t ripen all at once.”
Fab’s 3 ways to care for cherry tomatoes
- Cherry tomatoes like a position in full sun.
- Apply regular, organic fertiliser high in potash.
- Water regularly and deeply, preferably in the morning. Avoid wetting the foliage to prevent disease and pests.
The ‘king of herbs’ makes all your dishes sing, says Capomolla. “The word ‘basil’, meaning royal plant, is derived from Greek and is the ultimate seasonal herb as it’s limited to the summer months.”
Basil is generally used as a fresh herb rather than dry, so it’s ideal for growing at home. Depending on your space, it’s best grown outdoors, however, can also be grown inside.
Fab’s 3 ways to care for basil
- The easiest way to get started is to buy seedlings from your local nursery.
- When it comes to harvesting, picking off the tips of the leaves will encourage growth.
- Water and fertilise regularly and apply seaweed extract.