Nothing quite says farm to table like a fresh, delicious salad right from your own garden! The taste of supermarket salads just can’t compare, because the produce at your local store has often been packed, shipped, and stored for a week or more after it was picked. Once you’ve enjoyed a salad made with tomatoes still warm from the sun, there’s just no going back. Of course, we don’t all have time or garden space to grow multiple vegetables. But nearly everyone can manage a caprese salad garden, even if you only have a small patio. Tomatoes and basil can be grown in pots, so all you need is a small, sunny spot on a balcony or in your yard.
You can choose any variety of basil, but most people agree that sweet basil goes best in a caprese salad. Grow your plants from seed, or purchase a few starter plants from a garden center. Just remember to thin the plants if multiple sprouts cluster together. You can harvest your basil in about 40 days, by pinching off the top of plants or cutting stems. The plants will continue to grow back until the first hard frost starts to kill them off.
You can grow any type of tomato you prefer, but smaller ones like cherry or Roma tomatoes work best in pots or hanging planters. There’s definitely nothing stopping you from growing larger varieties in a big pot, though. Come visit our nursery to explore different varieties, and we’ll help you decide which one will work best in your garden. Some types of tomato can be ready for harvest in as little as 55 days.
Plant them together, if you can. If you have garden space in your yard, or you’re using oversized pots, grow tomato and basil together in the same soil. Tomatoes and basil are “companion plants”. Due to the way they interact with nutrients in the soil, the tomatoes actually taste better when grown alongside the herb! The strong scent and taste of basil act as natural pest repellents.
Add mozzarella cheese and dressing. Slice your tomatoes and mozzarella, arrange on a plate with your basil leaves, and drizzle with a delicious balsamic vinaigrette. You can purchase this dressing pre-made, but it’s simple to make your own.
Just whisk these ingredients together:
• 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 minced clove of garlic
• ½ cup olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
That’s all there is to it! Get started on your caprese salad garden as soon as the first frost has passed, and in about two months you’ll be enjoying the freshest summer treat you’ve ever tasted.