When it’s hot outside I spend time inside planning my next garden.  As I get older, I find that the heat and I don’t get along all that well, and in fact if I get overheated I get migraines.  Ugh.

So, I settle in with my pencils, garden journal, and tracing pad with a backlight and begin to dream on paper – which is what planning really is, right?

I ran across a great idea in one of the books I cherish, called Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening In Florida by Ginny Stibolt and Melissa Contreras.  I met Ginny at an FNGLA/FANN conference in Bradenton a few years ago – I had her sign my copy!  I’m such a nerd, I know.

Anyway, one of the things I have been considering is a Recipe Garden, where you grow everything to make your favorite things.  This article will give you some ideas to make your own!

cabbage starts in the garden

Recipe Garden Planning

The opportunities to grow our own food are nearly endless.  The variety of vegetables and fruits seem to expand all the time, and we can certainly take advantage of the opportunity to not have to visit the produce aisle.  

Organizing your garden by ingredients for your favorite recipes is really just another way to look at gardening.  I consider it planning “a room”, just like placing furnishings in your living space.

Let’s try out a few rooms in our garden, shall we?

Cabbage Soup

Cabbage Soup Garden

Cabbage soup is one of those hardy dishes that I always love, especially in the Fall and Winter.   I look at Cabbage Soup as a collection of whatever veggies I have in the fridge or on the counter, as you can put almost anything in it.

Your Cabbage Soup Garden could include:

  • cabbages (of course) – purple, white, green
  • garlic
  • onions (bulbing and bunching)
  • carrots (any color!)
  • potatoes
  • eggplant
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • radishes
  • kale
  • chard
  • parsley
  • thyme

Of course, you don’t have to plant everything, you could just plant what you like. I find that potatoes are hard to start in September, I like to wait on potatoes until late Fall. Staggered plantings take a little extra work, but once you’ve done it once or twice it becomes routine.

And as Ginny says in the book, you could make Carrot Soup if you plant more carrots than green leafies.  Brilliant!


strawberry rhubarb

Strawberry Rhubarb and ?

So, obviously in this Recipe garden, you would put Strawberries and Rhubarb.  But there are OTHER things that pair well with this classic tasty pie.

Things to plant in your Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Garden

  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Stevia (you can cut the sugar with this plant – dry and grind up the leaves)

If you have blueberries, blackberries, and/or raspberries nearby you can make a berry-rhubarb pie for even more flavor!

italian herbs in a garden

Italian Kitchen Garden

OK, so this isn’t a recipe for a specific thing, but rather for a specific ethnicity of cooking – Italian!

Suggestions for an Italian Kitchen Garden:

  • Tomatoes (Roma is a great sauce tomato)
  • Eggplant
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli or Rapa (Rapini, or Raab)
  • Zucchini (for fruit and flowers)
  • Artichoke (does well in Florida!)
  • Beans (like Cannelini)
  • Lettuce
  • Radicchio
  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram
  • Rosemary
  • Fennel
  • Oregano

I can taste the eggplant parm right now….

Root Crops

More Planning Ideas

These are just some of the things that came to mind as I was writing this article.  Here’s some other ideas that I won’t expound upon, but can start the creative juices flowing:

Juicing Garden – Like to juice? Greens, Carrots, Ginger, Tumeric, and if you’re wanting to have some fruit trees, a Mango, Florida-hardy Apple, and Peach tree would be great!

Bean Salad Garden – Bean salad – you either love it or hate it (I’m in the love category). So grow your own beans!  Have those Favas with a nice Chianti…(bonus points if you get that movie reference).

Make-Your-Own Veggie Chips Garden – You’ve seen them in the health food store – they’re making chips out of all kinds of things! So grab your mandoline slicer for your root crops (potatoes, beets, turnips, rutabaga), grow some dino kale and get chippin’!

OK, that’s what I have for this week.  I hope you’ve gotten some inspo from this article.  What Recipe Garden will you plan and grow this Fall?


Until next time, Keep Growing!



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