Food-Lover's Garden: Grow Your Own Desserts

With smart planning and some new varieties of seeds and plants, you can create a garden based on your favorite dishes.
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Desserts
Find all your sweet fixings right out back.

Roses: Use Tradescant red rose petals to make homemade rose water and give desserts a subtle floral flavor and a pink color. Make sure to purchase a fully grown bush and toss a banana peel into the bottom of the planting hole; it'll act as a fertilizer. Rose petals and leaves don't like to be wet, so water the plant at ground level only.

Tip: To make your own rose water, pour boiling water over a packed cup of petals; chill the water overnight and strain the petals in the morning.

Raspberries: Try the thornless Canby variety. Buy and plant a fully grown bush, clear four feet of space around it and you'll enjoy years of raspberry harvests. The first summer's yield will be just enough to use as a garnish, but the following year, the bush will produce enough berries for a pie. You'll know the raspberries are ready to pick when they come off the stem easily; if you have to tug at the berry, it's not ripe.

Strawberries: Small strawberry plants quickly start producing fruit early in summer. Try a non-runner type, like alpines, which won't take over your garden floor. Use straw or pine needles as mulch to keep berries off the soil.

Lemons: Meyer lemons taste like a cross between an orange and a lemon, so they're less acidic and good for sorbets or lemon curd. Dwarf Meyer lemon trees can be grown in a 12-inch wide container. Bring the tree inside during winter, and its fragrant flowers will continue to bloom. Be patient: The trees yield only about three lemons the first season but twice as many the following year.

Mint: Plant chocolate mint -- it's unbeatable in mint ice cream. Mint isn't picky; it will grow in sun or shade, as long as the soil is moist. It's also an aggressive herb, so keep it in check with regular pruning.

Use your home-grown produce to make Charlotte Russe With Raspberries.

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