GARDENING IN YOUR KITCHEN
Making the best of your garden can mean having access to the very freshest flavors of all your favorite fruits, herbs, and veggies every day of the summer. If you’re planning on growing even a single planter of edibles to elevate your taste buds, chances are you’re already taking part in the kitchen gardening trend. It’s all about having easy access to your favorite garden flavors all season - whether it’s planters, a couple pots of herbs, or a veggie garden built for grazing.
WHAT IS A KITCHEN GARDEN?
Kitchen gardens go all the way back to pre-evolution France - and we hardly have to point out that the French likely know a thing or two about what they’re doing in the kitchen. The French kitchen garden was a departure from the classic gardens at the time that were meant to reap row upon row of produce at harvest time - all planted, grown, and harvested in bulk.
Instead, kitchen gardens were meant for grazing, where the freshest of ingredients could be pulled from the garden and put straight to work in the kitchen. This way all of the best things about your garden were accessible right to the kitchen where fresh food is its best, instead of those grown and preserved for storage and eating later.
Now, kitchen gardens have made their way across the pond to North America, where we all fell in love with having fresh food on our tables. Kitchen gardens are meant to be close to your kitchen and have food ready at a variety of times during the season, harvesting a little to savor at a time. With a kitchen garden, whatever you grow can be an inspiration for what you eat that night, and you’ve got your own private produce aisle ready to serve you all season.
HOW TO START YOUR OWN KITCHEN GARDEN
Your kitchen garden, when you get down to it, is a reflection of you, your family, and your dinner table. It’s an extension of your pantry and fridge, so starting with the herbs and veggies that you cook the most with is a great idea. Start small and manageable with some pots of herbs - rosemary, basil, thyme, and any other classics you use a lot of will keep you snipping away sprigs to use in your dishes.
Once you have the habit of checking your garden to see what is ready and fresh, you can start to think about adding simple vegetables, like tomatoes, salad greens, or peas. These are all easy to grow with bountiful harvest to enjoy all season. The more you use it, the bigger your little kitchen garden will become.
Your garden is about function and your lifestyle - giving your kitchen the produce support it needs for the best foods all season. This isn’t the place to worry about style and matching when it’s really all about the taste. Leave the matching pot sets for the front porch, this is a place where some mismatching and eclectic charm is ok, as long as it works for you.
KITCHEN GARDEN DO’S AND DON’TS
Some of our favorite garden flavors are able to cut it in the smaller scale garden environment of a kitchen, while others struggle and are best left for bigger garden beds. Here are some of our favorites that are excellent matches for a kitchen garden:
Herbs are basically designed for kitchen gardens, as they are hardy and easy to grow, with minimal care and lots of sun. Pick herbs you use a lot of already, as your plants will thrive the more you challenge them by tearing off parts to eat. You’ll never want to go back to dehydrated once you’ve had fresh herbs in your cooking. Try thyme if you love cooking chicken. For flavors from further East, try some coriander.
Add some fruits and vegetables to expand your garden. We love Salad greens and cherry tomatoes for their bountiful harvest - it’s like growing a salad in your backyard! Strawberries are another ideal container fruit, but other berries like blueberries and currants are better left with more space.
Of course, some plants simply need a bit more space than a kitchen garden to thrive. Here are some plants better left to a bigger garden bed:
Planting in containers means that your kitchen garden gets treated to lots of heat in the summer. Ideal for tomatoes, herbs, and some veggies, some plants that like conditions on the cooler side, like broccoli and cauliflower, may struggle in a kitchen garden container. Leave them in the garden bed to prevent them from bolting too soon.
Plants with a long maturation time or those that grow to a big size are better for a large harvest at the end of the season instead of grazing through the summer. Squash and zucchini are delicious, but not suited to share any small spaces with other vegetables. Plant them in a garden bed where you wait all season and harvest everything at once.
Kitchen gardens are the best of your garden for flavor-focused cooking. They offer a bridge between your garden and your table, giving fresh flavors and tasty treats all season for your grazing pleasure! Kitchen gardens are very personal and all about what fits your family and home, making delicious homegrown food convenient for the everyday.