Homeowners have discovered that homegrown food fit almost any lifestyle. They also bring fresh flavors to your meals, better than anything you can buy at the grocery store. Growing your own food is a good way to save money that you would be spending on groceries. Not only does growing your own food save on money costs, it also helps you know that the food you are eating is as healthy as possible.
Here is a selection of herbs, fruits, and vegetables for healthy gardening and landscaping. These less demanding plants can be incorporated into a garden setting, grown in raised beds or simply placed in containers just outside the kitchen door.
The list below gives the names of herbs, fruits, and veggies with a brief description of each plant.
Vegetables | Peppers | Hybrid Tomatoes | Heirloom Tomatoes
Basil ‘Pistou’ - Compact habit, with small leaves. Mild flavor; plant in full sun. Height 24”.
Basil (Greek) ‘Columnar’ - Extremely upright habit, height 2-3’. Flowers late or not at all which is it's greatest attribute; plant in full sun.
Basil ‘Dolce Fresca’ - Mounded, controlled growth habit. Short inter-nodes. Traditional flavor. Height 12-14”.
Basil Genovese ‘Nufar’ - The first Genovese type basil resistant to fusarium wilt, height 18-24”. Same sweet basil taste; plant in full sun.
Basil ‘Siam Queen’ - High yielding, large-leaved Thai type. Spicy & very aromatic. 24-36”.
Curry - Silver needle-like foliage and mustard yellow button-like flowers are an asset in mid-summer, height 2’. Best uses - to add curry ‘flavor’ to rice/vegetable dishes, chicken or egg salad; plant in full sun.
Chives ’Common’ - Use in herb butters, on baked potato & in sauces. Makes a nice edging plant for your herb garden. Plant in full sun. They will go dormant in the winter, but are hardy to zone 3!!
Chives ’Garlic’ - As you would expect, these chives have a distinct garlic taste. Use as you would common chives. They are hardy to zone 3!!
Chamomile Roman - Feathery foliage with tiny daisy-like flowers. Known for it’s culinary and medicinal uses. Plant in full sun to part shade. Will spread up to 12”. Hardy in zones 4-9.
Cilantro ‘Santo’ - Use this leafy green herb in southwestern and Asian cuisine. Looks a lot like parsley. The seeds of Cilantro are known as Coriander which can add flavor to a wide range of foods such as sausage and marinades. ‘Santo’ is slower to “bolt” than standard Cilantro.
Lavender ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’ - Silvery foliage w/ lavender-blue bloom, height 3’. Does well in heat & humidity; which is usually a challenge for most lavenders. Blooms all season. Zones 7-10; plant in full sun.
Lemon Balm - Easy to grow and use. Great in iced tea, soups and sauces. Prefers afternoon shade. Hardy in zones 4-9.
Lemon Grass - In Thai cooking use the thick base of the grass. Tea drinkers can steep a few of the long leaves in hot water. Plant in full sun or part shade.
Lemon Verbena - Intense lemon scented herb. Dried or fresh, makes a delicious tea. Also add to stuffing, salads & potpourri. Plant in full sun. Height 3 ft.
Mint ‘Chocolate’ - Use as you would other mints, but great in iced coffee! Vigorous grower, height 2-3’. Benefits from frequent trimmings. Zones 4-9; plant in full sun to part shade.
Mint ‘Grapefruit’ - Taste resembles spearmint with a twist of unsweetened grapefruit. Garnish for drinks, fruit salad & desserts. Height 18-24”.
Mint ‘Mojito’ - Great mint for sauces & jellies or any recipe calling for Spearmint. Perhaps it’s best use is for making Mint Juleps and Mojito’s!! Hardy in zones 5-11.
Mint ‘Peppermint’ - Best used in teas, iced drinks or as an essential ingredient for the Mediterranean salad “tabouli”. Height 2-3’. Vigorous grower. Full sun to part shade. Zones 4-9.
Mint ‘Pineapple’ - Green & cream variegated foliage. Provides pineapple flavor to teas, jellies and sauces. Full sun to part shade. Height 2-3’. Hardy to zones 4-9.
Mint ‘Spearmint’ - Used in teas, iced drinks or lamb dishes. A vigorous grower, but cutting is encouraged as it will produce flavorful new growth. Height 2-3’. Zones 4-9; plant in full sun to part shade.
Mint ‘Strawberry’ - Light green serrated strawberry scented leaves. Lilac flowers. Use in drinks, teas, desserts. Height 36”.
Marigold ‘Lemon Gem’ - Abundant petite single blooms with a lemon, citrus flavor. Blooms are edible and can be used as a garnish as well. Plants are 10” tall with finely dissected green foliage and have a lemon fragrance. Plants may repel biting insects, but will also attract butterflies!!
Nasturtium ‘Tip Top Apricot’ - Apricot blooms, edible foliage and flowers will add a peppery flavor to foods. Height 12”. Grows best in cool seasons and will subsist during hot summers, but will perk up & flourish during cool days of autumn. Plant in full sun.
Nasturtium ‘Tip Top Mahogany’ - Red blooms, edible foliage and flowers will add a peppery flavor to foods. Height 12”. Grows best in cool seasons and will subsist during hot summers, but will perk up & flourish during cool days of autumn. Plant in full sun.
Nasturtium ‘Tip Top Alaska Mix’ - Cream & green variegated foliage with gold, red or orange booms. Flowers & distinct foliage make a great garnish. Plant in full sun. Height 12”.
Oregano ‘Golden’ - Mat forming hardy perennial will offer brilliant year-round color; Lime green in shade to bright yellow in full sun. Great for herbal uses, but just as valuable for its colorful foliage. Height 6-8”; Zones 4-9.
Oregano ’Greek’ - A superior culinary oregano used in Italian, Greek or Mexican cuisine. As an added bonus the white to purple flowers are also edible. Height 15-20”; Zones 4-9.
Oregano ‘Hot & Spicy’ - Perennial herb with rich green foliage. Bears vibrant pink flowers in the summer. Has a uniquely intense spicy flavor. Height 18-24”; Zones 4-11.
Oregano ‘Italian’ - Use it’s leaves fresh or dried to enhance foods, especially Italian dishes. Plant in full sun. Hardy to zones 4-9.
Oregano ‘Margeritha’ - Robust Italian type. Great for pizza! Strong, superb grower.
Oregano ‘Supreme’ - Highly aromatic, semi-trailing habit. Hardy to zone 5. Leading potted oregano in Italy!! Height 8-10”.
Parsley ‘Curled’ - Not only for the herb garden, curled parsley can add interesting texture to your flower garden as well. Most well known for it’s use as a garnish, but don’t forget it’s flavorful attributes to many dishes. Height 8-10”. Does best in full sun.
Parsley ‘Italian’ - Bolder flavor than Curled Parsley and a much taller grower at 18-24”. Plant in full sun.
Rosemary ‘Barbecue’ - Strong upright branches can be stripped of foliage and used as skewers for kebobs. Bundle shorter stems together for an extra flavorful basting brush. Plant it near the grill and toss a branch on the coals to flavor meats while grilling. Height in the garden is 4’. If grown in a container, bring it in for the winter to a well lit location. Plant in full sun. Zones 7-10.
Rosemary officinalis ‘Upright’ - Blueish-green needle-like foliage adds distinct flavor to a variety of foods. Also used for medicinal purposes. It’s upright habit makes it a perfect candidate for topiary or other “formal” pruning techniques. Loves full sun.
Rosemary ‘Tuscan Blue’ - Vigorous upright growth habit. Ideal for use as a fragrant hedge or topiary, can reach 4-6’ in height. A great rosemary for seasoning meats, breads and herbal butter.
Savory repens ‘Winter Creeping’ - Prostrate habit, 4-6” height. Small green leaves, tiny white flowers. Great in meats and stews. Hard to find variety!!
Sage ‘Berggarten’ - Large rounded leaves have superior culinary flavor. Grows well in the heat of summer. Compact growth - height 18”. Plant in full sun. Hardy in zones 5-9.
Sage ‘Golden’ - Variegated gold & green foliage enhances the garden. Best known culinary use is for sausages, stuffing and poultry. Height 18”; Zones 7-9. Plant in full sun.
Sage ‘Purple’ - Same great sage flavor, but dramatic purple foliage. Makes a great accent plant. Plant in full sun. Zones 7-9.
Sage ‘Tricolor’ - Although this sage has the same herbal flavor used in stuffing and sausage, it’s greatest asset is it’s boldly variegated foliage in green, purple and white. Plant in full sun; Zones 7-9.
Stevia ‘Honey Dip’ - Incredibly sweet leaves are an herbal alternative to sugar. Bushy, high-yielding plants will grow 36” tall. Use leaves fresh or dried. Does best in full sun.
Thyme ‘English Compact’ - Best thyme for culinary use. Great in cooked dishes as well as for use in herb vinegar & butters. Height 4-5”; Zones 6-9. Full sun.
Thyme ‘Foxley’ - Large broad, cream and green leaves make it a standout in the garden. Typical thyme flavor. Height 8”. Full sun to part shade.
Thyme ‘Golden Lemon’ - Bright golden edged foliage provides ornamental value to the garden in addition to it’s lemon flavor. Height 8-10”; Zones 5-9. Plant in full sun.
Eggplant ‘Black Beauty’ - Bushy spreading 24-28” plant with 4-6” oval purple skinned fruits. High quality with fine flavor.
Eggplant ‘Patio Baby’ - High-yielding, compact variety with 2-3” purple skinned fruits. Early producing with a wide harvest window. Thornless plants make for easy harvest. Well suited for containers as well as the traditional garden.
Kale ‘Redbor’ - Finely curled deep red leaves makes a beautiful ornamental or edible plant. 14-18” tall.
Kale lacinato ‘Dinosaur’ - Crinkly blue-green strap-like leaves. For culinary & ornamental use. Winter hardy!!
Swiss Chard Bright Lights - Uniquely colored variety with stems of yellow, gold, orange, pink and violet. Mild in flavor. For edible and ornamental use.
Pepper ‘Basket of Fire’ - Well-rounded cascading plants are covered with plenty of spicy hot peppers. Great for container growing or hanging baskets! 80,000 Scoville Heat Units.
Pepper ‘California Wonder’ - 4-lobed, smooth, blocky fruit. Ripens from green to red. Sweet tasting.
Pepper ’Cayenne Long Slim’ - Wrinkled and thin walled, green to red fruits. Excellent for processing. Hot with slight sweet flavor. Pungency rating 3,500-5,000 Scoville Heat Units.
Pepper ‘ Cute Stuff Red’ - Apple shaped mini bell variety. High yielding. Great for eating fresh or for stuffing.
Pepper ‘Habanero Orange’ - Thin walled fruit wrinkles at maturity. 150,000-325,000 Scoville Heat Units.
Pepper ‘ Habanero Red’ - Short wrinkled green fruits on 14-18” plants. Fruits turn red at maturity and pack a searing heat!! 350,000-575,000 Scoville Heat Units.
Pepper ‘Hungarian Sweet’ - Sweet Banana Pepper. Tapered yellow fruit with thin wall. Used mostly for pickling.
Pepper Hungarian Hot - Light yellow to dark red tapered 5-1/2” long fruits. Pungency rating 2,000-4,000 Scoville Heat Units.
Pepper ‘Jalapeno’ - Deep green, maturing to red. Tapered fruit has thick flesh and are very hot. 2500-6000 Scoville Units.
Pepper ‘Marconi Red’ - Italian heirloom variety. Large sweet red fruits. These 12” long peppers are excellent eating, fresh or dried.
Pepper Poblano - Large chili type, Dark green to brown 5” long fruits. Great for stuffing. Pungency rating 600-1800 Scoville Heat Units.
INTERESTING NOTE In 1912, Wilbur Scoville, a pharmacist, devised the first modern technique for measuring a pepper’s bite. The measure is still used today by spice companies and sauce manufacturers everywhere. To understand the scope of this rating system; Bell peppers are the least “hot” at “0” Scoville Units (SHU)and Mexican Habanero peppers are rated at 350,000 units. Habanero peppers were previously ranked as the hottest pepper in the world. But, in November of 2013 the ‘Carolina Reaper’ Pepper measuring 2,200,000 SHU has surpassed the Habanero as well as the previous title holder the ‘Trinidad Moruga Scorpion’ and is now considered the “Hottest Pepper” in the world!!
Big Beef - Large 10-12 oz. fruit. Beefsteak type tomato, great for slicing.
Big Boy - Large 8-9 oz. fruit with thick walls & smooth skin; good yields. Great juicy flavor.
Celebrity - Large, glossy 8 oz fruits.
Early Girl - One of the earliest slicing varieties, produces 8 oz. fruits all summer long.
Homeslice - Round red slicer has true tomato flavor. Early, very productive variety. Small plants are suitable for containers and small gardens.
Husky Red - Early maturity, good yields of 7-8 oz. vibrant red fruit. Excellent flavor. Fruits all season until frost.
Husky Cherry Red - Good yields of sweet flavorful fruit in large clusters. 1” diameter; 3-5 oz. fruit.
La Roma - 5-8 oz fruits. Great for eating fresh or for making sauces.
Rapunzel - Unique, long cascading trusses hold up to 40 very sweet, bright red cherry tomatoes per truss!!
Red Robin - Dwarf variety, 8-12” tall. Thrives in small pots or hanging baskets. Produces masses of 1-1/4” sweet cherry type tomatoes.
Sun Gold - Beautiful golden orange fruits, borne in large clusters, ½ oz. fruits.
Sweet 100 - Bears abundant 1 inch fruits in clusters on long branches.
Tidy Treats - Tons of fruit on compact plants! Good for small spaces and containers. Produces red cherry tomatoes all season long!
Tomatoberry - Garden Strawberry shaped fruits have a superior sweet taste & aroma. Produces high yields of bite-size fruits.
Brandywine Red - Deep pink skinned fruit with red flesh. Distinctive “spicy” taste. Fruit can weigh up to 2 pounds.
Cherokee Purple - Purplish-pink 6-12 oz. Fruit, sweet in flavor.
Tomato nutrition facts: Tomato, a nutritious fruit commonly used as a vegetable, is another wonderful gift of Mayans. The humble vegetable has grabbed the attention of millions of health seekers for its incredible phytochemical properties. Interestingly, it has more health-benefiting properties than that in an apple! Tomatoes are one of the low-calorie vegetables containing just 18 calories per 100 g and just 5 mg of sodium. They are also very low in any fat contents and have zero cholesterol levels. Nonetheless, they are excellent sources of antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins.