A DAILY DOSE OF JOY..
3 Components for making your kitchen garden work
If you are looking for a way to bring the beauty of nature back into your hurried life then consider planting a small kitchen garden. The joy of walking right outside the kitchen door and gathering a handful of aromatic herbs for a recipe in process is truly what makes the experience of cooking so fulfilling. It affords us the opportunity to stop and appreciate all the senses that contribute to the process of cooking; the beauty of herbs and vegetables glowing in the sun, the aroma of each herb as it’s cut, the sound of the summer birds and bugs, and the taste of warm cherry tomatoes that are hard to resist popping instantly into the mouth. For me, that moment is a time that I am pulled out of my hurried life of prep work and busyness and into the world of nature. It always brings me back to the reason I love to cook and eat wholesome food. It’s possible to get this feeling with every meal you prepare if you consider these steps in making a kitchen garden.
Whether you plant an 8 x 8 square or a small tub outside the door, there are 3 important components that I think are essential to making a kitchen garden easy to use:
- Easy access. This is crucial because so often we are hurrying to prepare our meals and will forgo the step of fresh herbs and ingredients if we have to walk a ways to get them. I know this because I do it. I am lucky enough to have one large garden with a big selection of vegetables and herbs and fruit trees that is located a few minutes from my kitchen door, through a gate that I have to unlock. My kitchen garden however, is much smaller and contains only the essentials for the recipes I prepare, but is located right outside my kitchen door. Which do I use most when I’m in the midst of preparing a meal? The kitchen garden of course gives me the daily contact with nature that touches all the senses and brings me joy.
- Plant with the seasons so you can eat with the seasons: Be sure that your choice for this garden only includes those items that you actually use, especially if space is at a premium or time for gardening is limited. This may not be the garden to experiment with unusual herbs and vegetables that you may never use. You can pick those up at the farmers market. Think about the meals and recipes you prepare weekly. Which herbs are your favorite? Which vegetables would you use daily in your salad or in a soup? What vegetables could you eat at every meal? This is what you want to plant. Consider the progression of the season in your planning. Make way for the cool weather plants like kale, broccoli, lettuce and spinach to be planted in spring and also in fall. Be sure to have space for annual herbs like basil, dill, cilantro, marjoram, etc. Leave a spot or two for a fall squash or pumpkin and some root vegetables like parsnips to stretch the garden season.
- Pleasing to the senses; Consider each sense as you make your plan for the garden; The aroma of mingling herbs as you brush by or cut sprigs for the salad, the beauty of the plants growing in unison in the sunshine or after a summer rain or fall frost, the sounds of insects and birds as they buzz in the hot sun and also enjoy the fruits of your labor, and finally, the taste of that warm cherry tomato just as soon as you pick it off the vine (because who can really resist eating them until they get in the house!). Consider which ideas and creative visuals will appeal to you and make this a personal expression of joy.
So what are you waiting for? Time to get started with ordering your seedlings…