It’s never too late, or too early, to start your own kitchen garden. Herbs are quick-growing and many varieties are perennials, meaning they will return year after year. While certain plants are known for being needy — looking at you, basil — planting your seedlings or seeds in pots allows you to move them around so they’re always in your line of sight. It’s also great to be able to enjoy fresh herbs all year-round, from the convenience of your very own kitchen counter! To start, make sure you’ve scoped out a sunny spot for your herbs; most don’t do well in shady locations. You can promote drainage by putting pebbles around the hole in the bottom of the pot, then filling almost to the top with gardening soil. If you’re uncertain about plants surviving outdoors where you live, you can always check your local climate zone online. It will give you a better idea of future cultivation capabilities. Once you get cracking, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh herbs all summer long. Here’s a recipe to get you started!
1⁄2 teaspoon minced fresh chives
1⁄2 teaspoon minced fresh dill or basil
1⁄2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
6 small, thin slices good-quality whole-wheat or white sandwich bread, cut on the diagonal to form 12 triangles, crusts removed, or 12 slices baguette, cut on the diagonal
1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
4 radishes, thinly sliced crosswise
Garnishes, such as mixed fresh herbs (mint, chive, dill, basil), baby arugula or microgreens, or edible flowers like pansies, nasturtiums, rose petals, and violets
* makes 4 servings
In a bowl, stir together the cream cheese, chives, dill, and lemon zest.
Dollop heaping teaspoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture onto each slice of bread, then spread in a thick layer to the edges of the bread. Top each with a few slices of either cucumber or radish. Arrange on a platter.
Garnish each piece of bread with snipped pieces of herbs or a pinch of arugula or microgreens, and an edible flower or two. Serve right away.