You don’t have to be a gardener to provide your cooking with home grown produce. And you don’t have to spend a lot of time tending your plot to harvest the produce. For busy people a kitchen garden is a great and cost effective idea to provide you with a variety of herbs to elevate your food from boring to super and it provides a safety net for eating well when you can’t make it the shops.
It doesn’t matter what size your plot or pot is, whether you own it or it’s part of a community garden, nothing is as nourishing as digging, planting and harvesting your own food.
When it comes to gardening don’t set your self up to fail by thinking you will become a sustainable urban gardener. It takes time to garden, plants grow slowly (and die) and no matter what you do (organically) the bugs move in! Always plant a plethora of herbs, salad leaves and kale. They all grow easily and at different times of the year. Each major season try a few different fruit and vegetables because um well it’s fun and educational and nothing beats saying “I grew this’. But don’t get upset if you only get a small crop or the possums beat you to harvest.
Saying that – I have put together a simple, seasonal guide when pants are harvested in a temperate climate. If nothing at all it will help you know what you should eating that season!
- VEG. garlic, asparagus, peas, artichokes, sprouts, silver beet, kale
- FRUIT: strawberries, cumquats, loquats, edible flowers
- HERBS: all
- VEG: beans, salad leaves, tomatoes, eggplant, carrots, radishes, sweetcorn, zucchini, cucumber, capsicum, beetroot, celery
- FRUIT stone fruit, mango, lemon & limes, melons
- HERBS: all herbs inc basil, coriander, sage.
- VEG: mushrooms, pumpkin, silver beet, kale, salad leaves
- FRUIT: olives, grapes, quinces, figs, pomegranates, pears and persimmons, apples
- HERBS: end of basil + all other herbs but growth slowed.
- VEG: kale, silver beet, spinach, silver beet, avocado, root vegetables, celeriac, leeks, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, garlic & ginger, fennel, sweet potato
- FRUIT : oranges, rhurbarb, pears, mandarin, Lemons (lots)
- HERBS: No basil, little sage, chervil and mint thrive.
My kitchen garden
For me, a kitchen garden is the ultimate – a sensorial place to escape, to teach my children about food, life and the seasons, a simple way to turn everyday food into something special (herbs, herbs and more herbs) and most importantly a source of fresh ingredients to ensure we eat a bowl full of greens everyday.
For 20 years we have had a vegetable garden. We are up to version #3 in the design and this time it’s a bit more serious. The beds are high, the dirt is well composted so what ever we put in thrives, especially because the floppy fences keeps the possums and chickens out. Best of all it’s chemical free, looks gorgeous and inspires us all to get our hands dirty.
We always have tomatoes, asparagus and green leaves such as lettuce, rocket and spinach are easy to grow in summer and, in winter kale and sprouts take off when it cools down. We toss in strawbs, snow peas, eggplants and beans – just a few bushes of each to get the kids involved and the melons and pumpkins are always popping up and taking over. We tried blueberries last year (yum) and might pop in a raspberry cane this spring.
If you cook and juice a lot you get loads of compostable scraps. A worm farm is easy-to-manage and fab idea so why not why throw in a few chickens too (we have Hussy, Rosie & Emma) so you get instant payback. Nothing beats creating your own fertilizer and having fresh boiled eggs for breakfast. Just think of those happy skin cells being fed protein to eat away the wrinkles – I know it’s a bit simplistic but eggs = facelift!
As our garden moves thru the seasons I will share some of the comings and going of our kitchen garden as well a visiting a few fabulous gardens and sharing community sustainability news.