June is a great time to add these colorful and flavorful plants to your patio, deck, or backyard garden. Not only will they brighten up your outdoor space, they will brighten up your mealtimes too! Recipes abound for every one of these plants, all you need is a little imagination.

Pansy

The prolific pansy is a hardy plant and if you pick the flowers often it will continue producing flowers. The blossoms come in all kinds of colors. It has a mild taste that is best described as, you guessed it, floral. You can sprinkle it in your green salads or use it as an edible garnish for just about anything. It can be especially beautiful as a dessert decoration. Put them on your pudding, cake and ice-cream. For a festive summertime drink you can add them to lemonade or iced tea.

Pansies do best in partial sun with weekly watering.

 

Cherry Tomato

This plant is an obvious pick for your patio. It’s an easy addition to just about any dish and also is a fantastic right-off-the-vine snack. Besides the fruit itself, the leaves are edible too in small quantities. A deeper pot and a tomato cage will help the plant grow tall and upright. Other varieties of tomato can also be grown in this manner. (If you have a curious canine, be careful. The tomato, leaves and stem can be toxic to dogs.)

Tomato plants should be watered every 2-3 days. If it is very hot and sunny, daily watering may be necessary.

Nasturtium

This South American flower has a vibrant peppery flavor. It adds an exciting kick to green salads, providing a burst of taste similar to arugula. Nasturtiums also shine as an ingredient or garnish in savory dishes from stir-fry to pizza. Not only do they pack a powerful amount of flavor, they are also an excellent source of Vitamin C. The leaves are edible, too!

Nasturtiums do well in full or partial sunlight and should be watered every 2-3 days.

 

Herbs

There is a wide variety of herbs to choose from if you think you’d like one outside your home. Choosing the right one depends on your cooking preferences and the amount of sun available. You could have multiple herbs in individual pots, which is great for containing plants like mint and chives which can take over a garden. You could also plant a hardy rosemary shrub and bring it inside over winter where it will continue putting out fragrant and delicious needle-like leaves. UCONN’s Home and Garden Education Center is a great resource for choosing an herb that’s right for you.

Most herbs love full sun and frequent watering.

 

Lavender

Lavender can do more than perfume your deck or patio, it can enliven many dishes. Although technically an herb lavender has a distinctive and powerful flavor that sets it apart from the others. Because the flavor is so powerful you only need a few flowers at a time, and dried flowers are even more potent. Use lavender blossoms in chocolate desserts, sprinkled in sweet wine or sangria, or as a rub for chicken, lamb or pork.

Lavender thrives in full sun and dry soil. Water weekly.

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