Grillscaping: Grow Food You Love

in the Space You Enjoy
by NGB
June 17, 2019

We’ve all heard the expression, “You are what you eat.”

Nowadays we also want to know more about the sourcing and production processes used to grow the vegetables and fruits that we consume. Are they organically grown? How far did they travel to get to me? One way to know the answers and have control over what you are eating is to grow it yourself. Grow your own and enjoy your garden when you start grillscaping!

An idea I developed on a recent trip to California for the California Spring Trials is something I will call grillscaping. Grillscaping is planting herbs, vegetables and flowers you can use in your meals and drinks right next to and around where your grill is located. But a bit of advice before you begin: start small and grow only the things you love and know you’ll use.

The first step is planning your space. You have lots of options for growing, from using what you already have, such as containers, to repurposing items such as shipping pallets, to purchasing raised or elevated beds.

Don’t forget food for our pollinator friends too! Planting annual and perennial flowers around your grill and patio will keep the pollinators coming back to ensure veggies like cucumbers and squash mature properly.

Why not plant some herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, and whatever else you commonly use that you can pick right off the plant and add straight to the grill to spice up dinner? Or a beverage? Planted in containers around your grill makes it super easy and super fresh! Check out these delicious herb-A-licious combinations on our Combination Page to try. Everleaf Evergreen basil is a new upright basil to try in containers or in-ground.

Shipping pallets make great planters, with no digging in the dirt required! You can hide the nursery containers your plants came in right in the pallet by removing some of the pallet slats and placing the pots in the gaps. Make sure your container is large enough to provide the water and nutrients the plants will need for the entire growing season and make sure the wood hasn’t been treated. This is simple, shabby chic, repurposes and recycles, and you can change things out as you fancy! Pallets can be laid on the ground, made into tables for growing, or even suspended in the air.

Raised and elevated beds are a fantastic way to grow your plants, with countless options to choose from.

You can build your own or choose from a variety of styles from retailers such as Gardener’s Supply, Garden Trends, Green Valley Supply, and Burpee Seed. A simple, low to the ground, raised bed drains better, warms up earlier and simply makes gardening easier. While an elevated bed has those advantages plus makes harvesting easy with no bending or kneeling required! Plus, elevated beds can be used to define your space, create seating areas, or even be a garden bar!

Are you starting to crave dessert? How about sun-warmed strawberries straight off the stolon?

Buried Treasure™ red strawberry from Proven Winners® not only has fruit but also shows off semi-double red flowers throughout its ever-bearing season.

Check out this link for more ideas on adding other Proven Harvest® plants to your grillscape.

Another strawberry to grow, eat, and love is All-America Selections (AAS) Winner Delizz® which is especially suited as a trailing plant in a container. Since Delizz® is day-neutral it blooms and produces berries all season long! It can also be grown from seed.

No matter your pleasure, there are vegetables, herbs, and fruits that you can easily grow and eat right in your own outdoor cooking and living space. You’ll know how they were cultivated from garden to table, and they won’t be traveling far from bed or container to your mouth!

Don’t delay, Grillscape today!

Written by Mark Konlock, Director, Green Bay Botanical Garden, Green Bay WI

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