(BPT) - If a big part of your weekend is dedicated to experimenting with recipes and combining ingredients to create new flavors, you just might be a foodie. If you have a checklist of restaurants you've been meaning to try but haven't had a chance to because you've been busy eating elsewhere, chances are more than one friend has called you a foodie. Like many people who seek out delicious meals, you probably know what every chef knows: the secret to great cooking is always fresh ingredients.
The best way to ensure fresh ingredients is to grow them yourself. Many who live in urban areas, in condos or in apartments feel that because they don't have a yard, they can't grow their own herbs or vegetables. But brands like Burpee are encouraging urban gardening, and have opened a world of herb and veggie plants for those who only have a deck or a windowsill.
To give you an idea of what kind of culinary adventures you can have, here are five tips for vegetable gardening in a small space.
Window box gardening
You don't need a big backyard, in many cases all you need is a box and a window. Window box gardening is not only an efficient way to maximize space, but a great way to add an edible aspect to your dÃ©cor. Try small-space vegetable plants like peppermint stick celery or masterpiece pea for their unique taste and texture.
Become a homegrown mixologist
Use the fresh herbs you grow to make exciting cocktails for your guests. Herbs add depth and personality to cocktails, and even provide some much-needed vitamins, so you'll be drinking to your health. A few ideas are mint for the perfect summertime Mojitos, rosemary infused greyhounds, or a sprig of parsley and thyme in your Bloody Mary.
Color your world
There's an old saying that you should eat the rainbow. Well, you should also grow the rainbow! Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are just some of the veggies that can make up a colorful home display. Best of all, these healthy and delicious veggies, like Burpee's sweet savour pepper plant, can be grown on your doorstep, balcony or patio.
You're never too old to play with your food
Growing your own vegetables means you have ample opportunity to experiment and "play" with your food. This can be as easy as adding some fresh herbs like mint or rosemary to ice cream or experimenting with pickling using those extra cucumbers you've grown.
Whip up a batch of cherry pepper bites
Here's an example of a killer recipe that brings out the best in your homegrown ingredients.
Prep time 0:15
24 mini sweet peppers like 'Cherry Stuffer' from Burpee plants
1 8-oz package cream cheese
Â¼ cup fresh oregano, basil or tarragon chopped
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
1 Tablespoon of milk
Fresh herb leaves for garnish (optional)
*Cut tops off mini peppers and remove seeds.
*In a small bowl, blend cream cheese, herbs, lemon juice and milk until smooth.
*Pipe or spoon cream cheese mixture into the peppers.
*Garnish with additional herbs if desired and serve.
These five tips are only the beginning of what you can do with a home garden. Drawing on its 136-year history, Burpee plants offer an online Garden Coach to help you be a better gardener through inspiration and information. It's never been easier to enjoy fresh ingredients from your garden, no matter how small a space you have to work in.
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