As chef and owner of two restaurants in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, when Michael Ayoub is not in the kitchen he can be found tending his thriving organic garden that oftentimes supplies the ingredients for his restaurants' menus. And as any cramped New Yorker or backyard-less dweller should know, you certainly don't have to have a massive area to put your green thumb to good use.
Five Things Everyone Can Grow in Five Square Feet: Michael Ayoub
1. Black cherry tomatoes
"They have a different, interesting color than other tomatoes. And though they’re small, they have a rich tomato flavor. Perfect in salads and pastas."
2. Genovese basil
"This type of basil is really popular with chefs for many reasons, but mainly because its broad leaves have such great flavor. It’s perfect for pesto. The plant will keep giving and giving too. All you have to do is just not let it flower."
3. Rainbow Swiss chard
"I really love Swiss chard, particularly the rainbow variety because not only is it tasty, but it grows into so many beautiful different colors. Once you cut it, it keeps coming back. Swiss chard is so versatile too: you can eat it raw in a salad, sauté it as a vegetable side or braise it with cooked meals."
4. Hot peppers
"Perfect for when you need to give that dish that extra punch. You can choose any you like, but I happen to be partial to the serrano. I love adding these to salads or putting them into sandwiches."
5. Fairy Tale Eggplant
"This plant grows pretty compactly - it’s about an 18-by-18-inch bush - and grows pretty quickly. They’re very sweet and you want to pick them when they’re about four inches long. Roast them on the grill or serve them in pasta."