Container garden with a purpose:
The cocktail container
I plant an herb garden every year with the intention of expanding my culinary portfolio beyond what I have been making for years. Whether Chimichurri, Pesto, or Spaghetti Sauce starter with lots of Oregano, my goal is to use every single herb I plant. Where I run into problems is with herbs like Rosemary and Thyme. Probably the prettiest to grow but for me the hardest to use creatively in cooking.
If you are like me there are maybe three things I can think of use Rosemary in and two of them are potatoes! Rosemary is so hardy that when I get my herb garden out of storage, the stems are as green as when the planter was put away in Fall. As I was agonizing over what to make with all of my herbs this summer, we can’t create a simple gardening showpiece that all of your gardening friends are going to want to try themselves.
What to plant in your cocktail container
Start with a deep wide container with plenty of drainages. Start this project outright by repurposing wine bottle corks as additional drainage in your container, not only do they provide excellent drainage but are biodegradable as well! Add soil, find a sunny spot and get ready for planting.
When it comes to planting selections, the sky is the limit. If you are going for savory cocktails (e.g. Bloody Mary, Savory Margarita) start with a dwarf tomato or pepper plant (being mindful that tomato plants love to spread out) at the center of the container with herbs like Basil, Tarragon, Rosemary and Sage flanking vegetables.
Cucumbers are a fantastic addition to many cocktails but need a bit more room than your container can provide, keep creeping plants like cucumbers and beans to your primary garden. If space provides consider adding a few marigolds to the container, natures pest control provides protection as well as a pretty edible accent to any cocktail!
If sweet cocktails are more your thing, many of the herbs will work but there are many more options too. Lemon Verbena, Rosemary, Cilantro and Lavender compliment an array of summer cocktails including; Rosemary Bliss, Sparkling Jalapeño Cilantro Lemonade, Lavender Mojito, Lemon Verbena Gin & Tonic and more.
Mint belongs in every one of these cocktails but needs to planted in either it’s own container or in the primary garden because Mint’s favorite thing to do next to making food and drinks taste amazing is taking over the whole container.
Time to harvest your herbs
Whether cocktail or mocktail, herbs can elevate any drink from boring to bright with a minimum of effort. Use vintage or rustic tags to identify plants as well as jot down some simple cocktail recipes to finish the look. As summer comes to a close, drying remaining herbs can keep the party going all year round. Simply cut, bind with twine and hang in a cool dark room then crush dried leaves and store in an air tight container.
Gardenize for your cocktails
Gardenize is the perfect companion to your container gardening. By tracking individual plants and how to complement each plant in your container, you will be able to enjoy a successful container garden year after year. With the Gardenize app, you don’t need to limit your cocktail garden vision to the container!
By using the plant feature, you can start planning your large-scale planting dream at the touch of a finger, and when you’re ready start mapping out where in your garden the cocktail bar will be, simply shift your focus to the area feature. In no time at all, you go from container to full-scale cocktail garden and Gardenize will walk you through the entire process.
Once you catch the themed container bug, you will want to do more. From pizza to salad garden containers, the only thing limiting what to focus on is your culinary vision and imagination.
Here are some bonus recipes for you, that you can use to fully enjoy the outcome of your cocktail container.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy Meinhardt grew up gardening but not by choice. Her parents were born in the post-Great Depression generation, they grew and canned literally everything (we have an annual family reunion with our 100 plus cousins just to make Sauerkraut). Every day from May to October was spent weeding, canning, and pickling. If someone had told her that she was going to not only garden as an adult but weirdly learn to love it, she would have fallen over laughing. Cooking is her true love but buying herbs at the store is so expensive and doesn’t even last a day. For Mother’s Day one year, her husband and kids built her a raised herb box to grew her own herbs, and a new love was born. Amy loves gardening, so much so that rather than sit by the lake she lives on, she sits by her plants. Cooking with her herbs and vegetables usually includes skipping to the herb garden then making everyone in the house smell everything she brings in.
When she’s not gardening, Amy runs a non-profit serving family in need, volunteering at a no-kill animal shelter with her kids and husband, and buying books. Amy checks in on her 85-year-old parents daily and usually can’t reach them by phone because they are in their garden
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