Delicate snowdrops herald the start of spring
Spring feels finally like it has finally sprung after what has been a long and hard winter. The snowdrops are braving their beautiful heads into the brighter and brighter sun. I love the spring, the light after the dark, everything is fresh and green, full of hope & possibility. It also could be the time to create something rather special – your very own beautiful and productive kitchen garden.
Although much has been written on the practicality of growing your own, the reality of a kitchen garden can be overwhelming. I believe this is why many would love the idea of a beautiful kitchen garden but very few act. So here are a few useful pointers to guide your way, with more to follow as the season progresses. Of course, this creation takes time and patience but March and April is the time to take action!
Environmentally friendly Pots for nurturing your seedlings
Growing seeds has a few simple but critical requirements. Warmth and water of course but essential is sufficient light to ensure the first shoots are not etiolated (all pale, yellow and elongated). Get that first stage right and the rest is pretty much plain sailing. I love these gorgeous wooden paper pot makers from Cox & Cox, a creative, practical, beautiful, and totally environmentally friendly way of potting up your new and precious seedlings.
Inspiration for growing your very own fresh edible favourite vegetables
Salad is another easy and great crop to grow. Last year, I used my beautiful Victorian cloche from Crocus, an inspiring gardeners web site. This allowed me to start crops early in the season and effectively monitor the slug situation, as I’m a total organic aficionado. Once you have had the joy of stepping outside and cutting your lettuce that is minutes later served on your plate, you’ll never be able to taste another leaf without reference to that freshness. Yes, you are utterly spoilt after that experience but the economics of doing it this way are also pretty compelling. All that’s needed is a small area, even a window box, and you can have fresh salad all summer for next to nothing. You’ll be able to buy seed from many garden centers but my choice this year is from the excellent Sarah Raven with her wonderful vegetable seed collections, and really great practical advise on what to do.
Growing your own can be both wonderfully aesthetic as well as producing a fresh crop of gorgeous vegetables
Connecting to the knowledge of the past – your own Kitchen Garden is your own small haven of tranquility
I remember being asked to sign for my allotment in which I planned and created my kitchen garden. When the book was produced, it looked really rather scruffy. The pages were creased and a bit worn, the front of the book a little threadbare. I then put my signature at the bottom of a long list for plot 14, and noticed that the first signature was dated 14th May 1895. After that, I revised my opinion of the book – it had been kept and cherished in that village parish for over a 100 years. It was wonderful to be part of that.
I confess that it took quire a bit of work to clear the site. I decided that raised beds would be the way forward for optimum production and minimal management. Start small, with a few simple crops. Keep your enthusiasm going by imagining just stepping outside your door to your very own favourite fruit and vegetables, into a kitchen garden of your own. It’s actually quite like being on holiday, a day out, with a flask of hot water to make tea and a picnic basket full of wholesome goodies to keep you going while you are digging and planting. My advice is to grow what you love to eat, as you’ll have plenty of it from even a little plot.
Growing your own food allows you to witness the time and skill that it takes to produce it.
My wish for this blog is that you are inspired to start your own kitchen garden, even on a small scale. Feeling the earth in your hands and looking out for the weather takes you beyond yourself to ensure your latest plantings will survive. Nurturing a garden connects you to the world in a way that is unique and inspiring. The fresh air, the physical enterprise, and community, especially of the allotment, are wonderfully connecting and healing. Give yourself the time to watch things grow. The slower pace of the garden takes you with it and you are the better for it.