There are some plants that wreak havoc on your garden unintentionally and a wine barrel is the perfect solution. Take mint, for example. I planted some pineapple mint amongst a few other varieties two summers ago. This Spring it came back again full-force. If it was in my beds, it would spread aggressively and take up too much space.. especially for the amount that I use it.
Mint is great for Mojitos, obviously.. but its also used in Mediterranean dishes, which I make a lot in the summer with all the summer veggies. I also make this Mint Sauce that is fabulous with grilled lamb chops or lamb kebobs.
3/4 c. mint, coarsely chopped
1 c. flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon zested
3 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. olive oil
Puree the mint and parsley in a food processor until smooth, then add the remaining ingredients to the processor. Add the olive oil last and in steady stream.
Strawberries are another plant that I keep out of my main beds. I don't get a large harvest by putting them in a wine barrel, but that's okay for now. I nibble on them while I am working in the garden or pick a few to put in my cereal in the morning. Strawberries need a lot of water and they like nitrogen.
Pam Peirce (Remember her? Did you buy the book yet?) says that the strawberry pots you see in the nurseries, the ones with large holes in the sides, don't really work. She claims that strawberries need four inches in each direction for root growth.
I bought an artichoke plant to put in my winter garden from Green Thumb Nursery. Join their Facebook Page and learn about specials going on and other fun information. I didn't know much about artichokes other than they take up a lot of space. And mine proved that theory right! They are supposed to bear fruit February and April, but mine didn't bear any (garden failure). However, its the most beautiful, sculptural plant and I couldn't get rid of it, but I also couldn't let it use valuable summer real estate. So, I used a wine barrel! Transplanting can be tricky, but I've had as many successes as failures. If anything, it will add a new element to the back end of my garden. I read that artichokes grow in the same place for several years so I may have found a wonderful solution. You'll be the first to know when I eat my first artichoke.
Oh, it's Boulder All the Way. Go Buffs! Getting closer to that day of real transition.