Backyard Bruschetta Garden

Garden-fresh ingredients turn this go-to appetizer into the ultimate happy-tizer!

To kick off a festive dinner or appetizer party, you can't go wrong with a classic bruschetta—the hand-held crunch of grilled bread, topped with fresh garden flavors like garlic, tomato, and basil transports your taste buds directly to Italy. Why not give it your own twist with new, homegrown flavors? Grow a Bruschetta Garden to have the key fixings for this impressive, yet deceptively simple, appetizer on hand in your backyard.

These instructions are for planting in a 4' x 6' raised bed. If you have a smaller bed, follow the spacing guidelines to figure out how many plants you can fit. Either way, be sure it's filled with premium quality soil designed especially for raised beds, like Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Soil. No room for a raised bed? You can grow a mini Bruschetta Garden—with a few, favorite plants—in containers.

What You'll Need

  • The following herb and veggie starter plants, like these choices from Bonnie Plants®
    • 1 each of the following plants: tomato (choose early-producing varieties like Celebrity or Tidy Rose), zucchini, eggplant, oregano, thyme, and parsley
    • 12 onion slips (like Georgia Sweet or Sweet Red)
    • 2 spinach plants
    • 2 basil plants (like sweet, Genovese, or purple)
  • Trowel
  • Watering can or hose
  • 1 cage-style plant support
  • 1 plant stake and twine

Plant Your Bruschetta Garden

Use this planting plan as your guide to what goes, and grows, where in your Bruschetta Garden. Pay special attention to the distance between plants: Your garden may look small and sparse now, but it will fill up fast.

Area 1: Plant your two spinach plants 12” apart. Leave 12”, then plant your basil plants, 12” apart.

Area 2: Plant your tomato plant about 12” from the side of the bed, and 18” behind the spinach. Put a wire cage around it now for support as it grows taller and heavier. Plant the eggplant next to it, about 24” apart. Add a stake beside the eggplant. As it grows, you’ll need to tie the plant to the stake to support the stem and fruit.

Area 3: Plant your onion slips 6” apart in two rows, about 36” long.

Area 4: Plant your zucchini plant about 18”-20” behind your onions, about 12” in from the back of the bed and 18” in from the side. Zucchini needs lots of room to crawl and spread—eventually, it will grow right out of the garden!

Area 5: Put your parsley, oregano, and thyme plants in the remaining space, behind the eggplant and about 6” from the side of the bed. Your thyme may want to creep and spread, so put it in the corner to give it lots of space.

Give your new plants a thorough watering, then tend to them while they grow. Be sure to feed with Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food every one to two weeks. You’ll replenish nutrients in the soil while you water—no extra work needed.

Style Your Own Bruschetta

While traditional bruschetta is made with diced tomatoes, who says you need to follow the rules once your garden is ready to harvest? Try marinating, baking, caramelizing, frying, grilling, or simply leaving the veggies raw. Consider adding unexpected ingredients, such as: light cheeses like ricotta, feta, Parmesan, or herbed goat cheeses, savory meats like prosciutto or bacon, spreads like chutneys or fruit compotes, and even gourmet mustards, dressings, wines, vinegars, and relishes. There’s really no limit to how many flavorful combinations you can create, like …

  • Fresh or wilted spinach, caramelized onions, goat cheese, and balsamic reduction
  • Whole strawberries with julienned basil and goat cheese
  • Baked eggplant with oregano, feta, and olives
  • Sliced tomato with prosciutto, parsley, and onion
  • Spinach with bacon, ricotta, and oregano
  • Sliced strawberries with ricotta, thyme, and honey
  • Or even the classic: diced tomato with chopped basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, parmesan, salt, and pepper

When you serve your homegrown ingredients atop crispy grilled or toasted baguette slices brushed with olive oil, pretty much any flavor combination is a recipe for success! Simply spoon a few heaping tablespoons onto each slice to surprise, delight, and impress guests at your next dinner party