Summertime. A time to get outside, to get some Q-time in, to relax and eat well.

Tending to a garden is a great way to spend your lazy days. If heat-tolerant plants like tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and berries are planted, all you have to do is water. Just touch the soil, and if it’s dry, break out the watering can.

Just remember to wear a hat, sunscreen and to stay hydrated to combat that summer heat. So, we’re getting Vitamin D, our plants are growing beautifully, now what the heck do we do with ’em?

We teamed up with Garden of Eatin’ to figure it out. Garden of Eatin’ is a Jacksonville-based company that installs culinary gardens in your backyard. They build the boxes, fill them with organic soil, and then plant just-about-ready-to-harvest herbs and vegetables.

“The most popular plants are the lettuces as it’s just so wonderful to be able to go outside each day and pick beautiful fresh salads for a simple healthy meal,” said founder Zak Foley.

Founder Zak Foley next to a garden he built in Fernandina Beach. Photo by Kalee Ball.

Founder Zak Foley next to a garden he built in Fernandina Beach. Photo by Kalee Ball.

But, there are more options than salads. “[Herbs] can perk up any meal with a simple sprig,” Foley said.

“Harvesting is the most fun of all and there are so many options available such as drying herbs to create teas, freezing to use herbs that aren’t available in certain seasons, making herb oils and creating herb and garlic vinegars. Everyone loves to can items such as beans, tomatoes, pickles and carrots.”

Below are some simple recipes to get you started. More are available on Garden of Eatin’s Facebook.

Dry herbs
Hang in a dark, well-ventilated location until they are crisp to the touch, then grind in a clean coffee grinder and place in clean jars.
Freeze herbs
Harvest, rinse, allow to dry for an hour, then pop into freezer bags and label.
Herb ice cubes
Fill and ice cube tray halfway with water. Place a few sprigs of your herb of choice in the tray, cover with water and freeze. Suggested use: Infused waters or cocktails.
Herb vinegars
Take several small bundles of your favorite herbs, garlic and onions and place in a glass bottle with a good quality vinegar (champagne vinegar is Foley’s favorite to use). Allow this to steep for two weeks, then strain out the herbs and replace with a fresh sprig for decoration if desired.
Courtesy of Garden of Eatin's Facebook

Courtesy of Garden of Eatin’s Facebook

Herb Spread

1 tsp. fresh oregano

1 tsp. fresh chives

1 tsp. fresh sage

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

Blend all ingredients well and serve with crackers.

Courtesy of Garden of Eatin' Facebook

Courtesy of Garden of Eatin’s Facebook

Basil Cheddar Breakfast Burritos

1 cup cubed peeled potatoes

1 pound ground sausage

10 eggs

1/8 cup chopped basil and chives

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 cup cheddar cheese

8 soft flour tortillas


Boil potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside.

Brown a pound of sausage. Drain off the fat.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, herbs, sea salt, pepper and the cheese. Once your sausage is browned and drained, add in the potatoes and stir to combine over low heat. Combine the egg and cheese mixture with the sausage and potato mixture. Gently stir over low heat until done.

Wrap in tortilla shells and serve. These also freeze well to make a hectic morning easier.

To get your own garden, contact Garden of Eatin’ via Facebook or at (386) 972-1891.