The Crisper Whisperer's Edible Garden: 5 Fun Themed Gardens

Crisper Whisperer

Cook through your crisper surplus with ease.


[Photograph: Carolyn Cope]

Sure, fruits and vegetables are good for you. But just like the act of eating them, there's no reason the growing of them needs to be all serious and virtuous. Why not plant a little fun in your yard or containers with one of these themed gardens?

Planting a theme garden can be worthwhile purely for entertainment value, but it's also a smart approach to choosing what to plant. If your fruits and vegetables make sense together and you've thought over how you might use them even before you put them in the ground, you'll be more likely to use them well when they're ready to eat. Have you ever planted a theme garden, or do you have any great ideas for one? Please share your inspiration in the comments!

1. Cocktail Garden

With all the creative, culinary cocktails in the world these days, just about any ingredient could be at home in a glass. But here are a few classic choices to grow:

  • Baby watermelon
  • Oranges
  • Meyer lemons
  • Limes
  • Strawberries
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Chocolate mint

2. Mad Men Garden

Just thinking about Mad Men as you go about your regular daily life makes everything more fun. Imagine how much more glamorous you'd feel digging out potatoes from a Mad Men garden than a regular old potato bed. The best part is that all of these plants are simple and versatile ingredients.

  • Tobacco (just kidding)
  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Corn
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Plus any ingredients from the Cocktail Garden above

3. The Simon & Garden-funkel

If you're looking at this list thinking, hey, that's just an herb garden—maybe it's time to reread The Polar Express. Life is better for those who can hear the bell.

  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Chives
  • Oregano

4. Italian Grandma's Garden

This garden is full of easy-to-grow foods with all the comfort of a hug from an Italian grandma, but none of that pesky cheek pinching.

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Onions
  • Garlic

5. Big-Salad Garden

Whether or not you're channeling Elaine from Seinfeld, a big salad is always a good order. These are some no-brainer salad ingredients, but the options are virtually limitless.

  • Lettuces
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Shallots
  • Radishes