(Image credit: rez-art)

BBQ season is here, tantalizing our senses with the flavor of grilled or smoked meats and all the fixins. Yes, the star of most every BBQ is the meat, but the vegetable sides are just as crucial, so maybe it’s time to plant a barbecue garden. 

BBQ Herb Garden

Since the major player at most barbeques is the meat, an herb garden is a must. Just think what kind of tasty marinades you can come up with when you have a garden filled with basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, oregano, and marjoram. For those who prefer fish on the grill, plant dill, chives, and tarragon

All of the above may be useful with barbecue plant based side dishes. Other useful herbs to incorporate in your sides are cilantro, fennel, lemongrass, and celery seed

Don’t forget the cocktails or mocktails. Lavender and mint are flavorful additions to many beverages. 

BBQ Plants

Now that you have the flavorings nailed down it’s time to consider what type of veggies to grow in a BBQ garden. Everyone is different, but a crowd pleaser is always potato salad, so plant some spuds

Celery is the base for many cold salads or as part of crudités with your choice of dip. Carrot, cucumber, cherry tomato, bell pepper, summer squash, beans, snap peas, and radishes are also delicious dippers and can be used in other side dishes. 

Cabbage for coleslaw, fresh corn on the cob, and wedges of watermelon are all staples of the BBQ as well. Collard or mustard greens are the green of choice in many southern states but there are plenty of other options from arugula to mache to good old iceberg to use as a base for a refreshingly cool, tossed green salad. 

Whatever you choose to grow in a BBQ garden should reflect your palate as well as those of your guests. Have a great BBQ!

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.