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A Pantry on Your Patio


Even with the growing awareness of how important and delicious it is to grow our own food, a lot of us think that it is only possible for people with gardens, but that is not true! One of the many reasons that Japanese cities are beautiful is how they use every bit of space that is available to them for container gardens. Even narrow strips of side walks and tiny little balconies have beautifully arranged pots and boxes with flowers, vegetables and herbs. It is amazing to think that these tiny “gardens” grow more food than the average house with a big yard does here.

This summer with some containers, dirt and a few seeds we grew a salad of baby greens in 19 days! And not just one salad either, we kept picking from that container for weeks. our little tomato plant had 89 tomatoes (yes we counted)! We did not once have to buy overpriced herbs in a plastic container, because they were happily growing in a box out side.

Plants want to grow! That is what they are bursting inside their little shells to do. All they need is a little bit of help from you. First, read the seed package! It will tell you exactly how your seeds like to live. Then get some containers, you can use a traditional planting pot, but how about being playful and recycling some of all that old stuff that is everywhere. Make sure there are a couple of drainage holes in the bottom, throw in a handful of gravel or pottery shards to help water drain out, top with rich earth bought from a garden center or borrowed from a neighbors yard. Pat in your seeds, and prepare to be amazed, delighted and filled with satisfaction!

Here’s a great recipe for a salad made from scratch:


A few tablespoons of mixed salad seeds (you can make your own mix, I like to add herb seeds as well, like basil, dill and chives)
A few gallons of rich dark earth
Pick your pot, or a casserole, a rubber boot with a hole in the sole, a wine box, an old tin can, a tub, a fabric grocery bag, a toolbox, a teapot, a fancy vessel from a gardening store
Olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper


Plant according to the seed package. Gently warm in 6 hours of sunshine a day, water to keep the earth moist but not soggy. One fine morning when the leaves are two or three inches tall, pluck your first salad harvest, and do a little victory dance. Toss with your finest oil and vinegar, a sprinkling of sea salt, Enjoy the best salad in the land, because you truly made it from scratch.


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