This is just one of the Italian kitchen gardens I saw in Cinque Terre. Gardens ranged in size from big to tiny, but they all used every square foot for growing herbs, fruits, and vegetables. None were anyplace close to the size of an American yard but they supply their households with all of their produce year round.
Even the smallest plots were gorgeous: they were all beautifully tended and used only natural materials – stacked stone, gravel, terra cotta, and supports and edging of lashed-together wood.
All the gardens I saw were very simply arranged, in rows or grids. Trees and taller plants were planted along a wall, fence, or on the north side of an open garden, so they wouldn’t shade the shorter plants. Plants were grouped by water requirements: rosemary and thyme don’t need much water, tomatoes and basil need a lot.
Here’s what was growing: basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, sage, fennel, tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, and squash. Citrus, fig and bay trees were either in the ground or in pots placed right in the garden.
GET THIS GARDEN
I just go to my local nursery or hardware store for plain terra cotta pots, but there are some stunning ones here.