Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mediterranean diet garden

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to be great for your health.  It is also fun and easy to grow!  It is heavy in vegetables, nuts, and fruits.  All things you can grow in your own back yard or patio.  That is a triple win-the freshest produce is the highest in nutrition, growing your own is cost effective, and it tastes great.

You may think that you can’t grow what they can grow in the Mediterranean region, but Zone 6 is at the same latitude as France and Italy.  Their temperatures are more moderate than ours so some things we can’t grow without bringing indoors for the winter, but this is exception.  We can grow almost everything right here in our own backyard kitchen gardens.

Potted orange and fig trees
Mediterranean garden plants

Fruits, vegetables, and nuts
Artichokes
Asparagus
Beets and turnips

Broccoli raab
Carrots
Celery
Cucumber
Dates (needs to winter indoors or heated greenhouse)
Eggplant
Beans-chickpeas, fava beans, green, navy beans
Fennel
Figs
Grapes and grape leaves
Oranges, Lemons & Limes (need to winter indoors or heated greenhouse)
Lettuce, radicchio, spinach and other greens
Melons
Mushrooms
Nectarines
Nuts-almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts
Okra
Olives (needs to winter indoors or heated greenhouse)
Onions, shallots & leeks
Peaches
Peas
Peppers-sweet and spicy
Potatoes
Radishes
Tomatoes
Zucchini and other squashes

Potted pimento pepper

Herbs
Basil
Bay
Chervil
Chives
Cilantro
Dill
Garlic
Marjoram & Oregano
Mint
Parsley
Rosemary 
Saffron (stamen from a crocus flower)
Sage
Tarragon
Thyme

Dates, olives, pistachios, and citrus are the only things on this lengthy list that cannot be grown outdoors in our zone.

The key to Mediterranean eating is eating lots of vegetables, to plan around what produce is in season, the liberal use of fresh herbs, cooking with olive oil, and very little red meat.


So what could a compact Mediterranean garden include if you only have a small space?
Herbs (1 each)-thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, and flat leaf parsley
3 basil plants (for pesto and seasoning)
2 tomatoes-1 Roma type for sauces and 1 slicer type for salads
2 sweet pepper plants
1 zucchini
1 eggplant
8 red onions
8 garlic plants
Arugula, spinach and lettuce scatter sowed

If you also have room for pots on the patio, you could grow the spicy peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and cucumber in pots  (only 1 plant in each pot) and add 3 bush or 6 pole bean plants in the garden bed.  Traditional bush beans would be lentils, Romano, Capitano, Cannellini, fava; pole beans-Roma, Helda, Supermarconi.  Personally, I would stick with the beans you eat whole as shelled beans you do not get as much food per plant.



If you have more room, you can add almonds (yes, they survive Midwest winters), beets, chard, fennel, chickpeas, figs (grows well in a pot), asparagus, cardoon, chicories, radicchio, endives, broccoli, cauliflower, or annual artichokes.

If you are interested in growing an heirloom Sicilian garden, Heirloom Sicilian kitchen garden

1 comment:

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