A kitchen garden is, to me, a magical place. To some it is a place of convenience or something very practical but to me it is filled with daily wonders. Vegetables growing, flowers blooming, birds singing. You feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, you smell the scent of roses, lavenders and herbs and you come to understand the circle of life.
The sensation of making a really nice meal with home-grown produces is indescribable. I feel so proud every time I pick something from the garden, whether it is a kilo of ripe tomatoes in the summer or just a few thyme leaves in the winter.
My kitchen garden in June.
When put this way, it all sounds very grand and impressive, and it is, but it is also hard work sometimes and you have to take good care of your garden.
Living in the countryside, like we do, means I have more than enough space for perennials, roses and rhododendrons but for some reason, it is always the kitchen garden that has my full attention.
Somewhat due to the fact that there is always things to do in a kitchen garden but also that I find the kitchen garden very beautiful with all the variety in shape, colour, size etc. These contrasts can be found in any bed, e.g. flower bed, but getting beautiful and tasty vegetables, berries and fruits add an extra dimension. It still amazes me that a small seed the size of a pinhead can grow into a tasty tomato, colourful salad or a herb a meter high.
To me, a kitchen garden must as functional as it is beautiful, and vice versa. My kitchen garden is a mix of vegetables, berry plants, fruit trees, a green house, perennials, roses and climbing plants. By using raised beds I have created a kind of symmetry and the gravel paths make it easy to use my wheelbarrow. The beds help me control the rotation of crops and I like the strict, rectangular shapes.
Mixing vegetables, herbs and flowers
Many kitchen gardens are just a plot of dirt with vegetables grown in long rows and I believe that is the most common way to have a kitchen garden. It is a quite productive way to grow the vegetables and no space is wasted on paths, hedges or flowers. I like, however, my kitchen garden to be a mix of vegetables, flowers, herbs, perennials etc. and I am very inspired of the French potager (French term for kitchen garden) which does exactly that to enhance the garden’s beauty.
Vegetables mixed with flowers are beautiful and create diversity.
The beauty in a potager is made by adding contrast in size, shape and colour. Imagine the feathery top of a fennel to the coarse leaves of parsnip or orange tagetes against the purple colour of a red cabbage. A potager is supposed to be very attractive to the eye and beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
Find your dream garden
There is a kitchen garden for everyone. You just need to find yours. Maybe you don’t have as much space or you are very busy attending family and friends. Maybe you are new to gardening. Maybe you don’t have a plot of dirt but just a balcony.
My point is, even the smallest plot of dirt, or maybe just a few window boxes, will give you so much joy. If you have children focus on carrots, strawberries, peas and flowers. If you have a balcony focus on herbs, tomatoes, lavenders and maybe potatoes in flower pots.
Don’t expect a perfect result the first time. With time you will get the experience but you will never stop learning, thank god. I am still learning every day. Some crops I do really well, others fail every year.
My wishes are that I with Food and Garden can give you a glimpse on how to have fun in the garden and that I am able to pass some of my happiness on to you.
I love my kitchen garden!