I’ve never considered myself a green thumb, but by the looks of my garden this summer, you’d never know it! Over the past few years, my husband and I have really taken a liking to gardening, and it all started with a few empty terracotta pots we found in the backyard.
During springtime this year, we upgraded our garden from individual pots of herbs to a container garden we fashioned out of a 4-foot horse trough set on cinder blocks. After drilling some holes for drainage, layering gravel and a mixture of professional potting soil and fertilizer, the scene was set for a successful growing environment. We planted English thyme, sweet basil, rosemary, parsley, jalapenos, tomatoes and red and green bell peppers. In just three months, our plants have produced 16 red-ripened tomatoes, 7 bell peppers, countless jalapenos and all the fresh herbs you can imagine—and it’s still growing! I have been amazed at the abundance, and like a kid on Christmas eve, each evening I walk outside when I get home from work to see what’s new, what’s ripened and to pluck the fallen pine straw out of my plants. The basil is sky high and the tomatoes have grown all the way up over the cages. It’s been so fun to watch the tomatoes and peppers turn from green to red, and quite educational really. If you’ve never planted a garden, I highly encourage it. Start small with an indoor herb pot—you can even use a 5-gallon bucket! Learning how to grow food and nurture plants is important and helps us understand where our food comes from and how it’s produced.
With all of our garden fresh goodness, we’ve made everything from jalapeno margaritas, fried green tomatoes and Georgia peanut pesto to charred salsa and homemade tomato sauce. On social media, I share live garden check-ins from my backyard and often feature these recipes from my kitchen. Be sure to like Some Kinda Good on Facebook and follow @SKGFoodBlog on Instagram to come along!
One of the best ways to enjoy red-ripened tomatoes is the good ol’ tomato sandwich. Just three ingredients is the classic preparation: 2 slices of white bread, slathered with mayo and layered with thick slices of seasoned tomatoes. Instead of mayo, I like to make an easy herb butter. It’s softened butter, with a few chopped herbs stirred in, such as basil, thyme and parsley. Season the butter with salt and pepper and spread on bread, before laying on the tomatoes. Simple and seriously, Some Kinda Good.
Whether you grow your own garden vegetables or visit your local farmers’ market to experience the flavor of homegrown, I hope you’ll take advantage of what’s local and in season now. It tastes good and wholesome, like summertime. Have a Happy Fourth of July!
*A version of the article originally appeared in the Statesboro Herald on June 30, 2019.
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Food Network Star finalist Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a food enthusiast and writer. Her blog, Some Kinda Good, features Southern, coastal recipes, locally sourced and in-season. A Georgia Southern University alumna, Rebekah also attended Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah. To learn more, connect with Some Kinda Good on social media, or visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.