DC Chefs know that the best ingredients are local ones. Their mouth-watering dishes full of seasonal ingredients are the perfect inspiration for a DIY at-home garden. We asked some of the best chefs in Washington, DC what produce stands out in their dishes. Bonus: these ingredients are easy-to-grow and will have your little foodie picking through potting soil in no time. Keep reading for five foods you can grow from seed to plate.


Executive Chef Matteo Venini of Lupo Verde uses delicious tomatoes in many of his pizzas and pasta dishes. Tomatoes are easy to grow in containers on the front porch or balcony. Slice them up for a kid-friendly margarita pie on family pizza night. Or, make a mess in the kitchen with your favorite homemade marinara sauce.

Where to Buy: This veteran-owned garden shop serves all of  DC as well as Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church and McLean in VA and Bethesda, Chevy Chase, College Park, Silver Spring and Takoma Park in MD. Due to Covid-19, Old City Garden is only accepting delivery orders (minimum order, $50). 

1325 Rhode Island Ave NE
Online: olde-city-garden.myshopify.com


Uprising Muffin Company offers pastries with delicious and nutritious ingredients. Spinach is a great hidden veggie in mini muffins for your kiddos, and it is easy to grow at home. Grow the leafy greens in a container, snip off some leaves one week and snip a few more the next. It is a healthy veggie that keeps on giving.

Where to Buy: Home Depot carries a number of spinach seed packs as well as starter vegetable plants. Going to a hardware store to source seeds means it just takes one-stop to gather all you need for raised garden beds. 

901 Rhode Island Ave NE
Online: homedepot.com


Herbs are the perfect and easy at-home garden choice. Last season, Executive Chef Adam Howard of Blue Duck Tavern shared recipes with his weekly community supported agriculture (CSA) pickup. He wanted locals to easily be able to turn their dill or dandelion greens into something yummy. Mason jars are a space-saving way to plant herbs, and your little ones can help take care of the plants as they grow.

Where to Buy: Foliage by Frager's is a boutique garden store with a wide variety of indoor plants. But they also carry seeds perfect for a windowsill garden. You'll find soil, fertilizer and more. Too much to carry? Borrow one of their carts to tote your greens home. 

1115 Pennsylvania Ave
Capitol Hill


Ocean Prime's Executive Chef Leo Harvey is known for epic side dishes featuring the usually dull potato. Find a variety that matures quickly when you plant your spuds at home. Who likes to wait? The kid-friendly options with potatoes are endless. Fry them, mash them, roast them, and your whole crew will eat them up.

Where to Buy: A DC institution since 1933, Johnson's Florist & Garden Centers is a one-stop shop for everything from lawn care to indoor plants. They even offer fresh floral arrangements. Don't forget to pick up potatoes: you'll find a variety of ready-to-grow options here, along with other herbs and vegetable plants. 

10313 Kensington Pkwy. 
Kensington MD 
(301) 946 - 6700

5011 Olney-Laytonsville Rd.
Olney MD 
(301) 987-1940
Online: johnsonsflorists.com


Chef Amy Brandwein of Centrolina's restaurant-market hybrid uses seasonally-available ingredients in her creations. She's all about the peas when it comes to yummy side dishes. Littles love those tiny veggies, and they are fun to grow in your backyard. Don't forget to add tall supports to give the little pods room to grow.

Where to Buy: Ginkgo Gardens is a full-service garden center in the heart of DC. You'll find veggie starter kits along with the know-how staffers that can help walk novice gardeners through their first plantings. They can answer questions like which way should your container face for adequate sunlight and how much should you water a starter-plant. 

911 11th St SE
Captitol Hill
Online: ginkogardens.com

​​​—Angelica Kajiwara and Meghan Yudes Meyers

featured photo: Pexels


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