Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kitchen Garden Thoughts

Outside the kitchen window is a windowbox planted with Virginia Stock and Scented Night Stock. These white flowers smell fragrant in the evening, whereas the Virginia Stock smells fragrant during the day. Gorgeous flowers to sniff both night and day.

The White climbing Rose Iceberg looks silky in the evening glow. They smell very sweet too and the petals are just perfect.They are in my view from the sink in the kitchen climbing up the left side of the outhouse on the wooden trellis. I was thinking about the garden as I looked outside...

The garden today supplied the New Potatoes, Baby Carrots, Spinach, and Parsley.These were cooked with some Garlic Piri Piri chicken.
I dug the New Potatoes up today as the leaves were dying and discolouring. I unearthed five and a half pounds of New Potatoes from the two grow bags I got from Marshalls.
I grew all the vegetables and Potatoes in my small twenty foot by fourteen foot garden. I planned on paper a kitchen garden before I got the allotment.
I have lots of containers and grow bags. For example the African grow bags (hessian sacks with a stone column in the centre and sticks to keep bag open) are growing Mustard Greens, Rocket, Spring Onions, Dwarf French Beans, Beetroot, Parsnips, and Perpeptual Spinach Beet.They are compact in the corner on raised paving stones.
A lack of soil has not limited me. It has made me more creative in how to cram as much as possible into a small space.
I read somewhere the popularity of growing your own fruit and Veg in the Uk, means for the first time Vegetable seeds are outselling Flower seeds.
Jamie Oliver has led the charge, along with other celebrity chefs getting people into growing edible plants. I was a chef before so i can see the attraction of growing fresh produce to cook with. You cannot get fresher than pulling it from your own garden and taking it into your kitchen to cook it.
Allotments are booming now and people have to wait for ages to get one.A large chunk were sold off during the 1980's when it was not in vogue.
I saw on gardeners world some people in London had turned a vacant building lot into a mini allotment. Builders two tonne sacks were filled with soil to give people maybe four or five square feet of soil. Row upon row of Bag gardens for the gardenless people in London. There were no empty bags and people were on waiting lists to get one.
Another reason for me to try and create a functional kitchen garden was to see how these plants grow. I have bought Carrots and Potatoes in the supermarket. I now know how they are grown, and what the plant looks like. I had no idea how Cabbages grow, or Brussels Sprouts for example. I was used to them being vacuum packed and in a box. Most of the time they have had the soil washed off them.
In the old days people knew where the food they ate came from, as either they grew it or bought it locally from someone who had done. Maybe the dirt was still on it when they bought it.
Supermarkets have taken us away from the earth where the food has grown.They have turned people from Farmers and Growers into consumers. Maybe change is not always good.
The Jamie Oliver/Allotment/Growing fruit and veg is the antithesis to consumerism.Taking up a spade and trowel is making people feel better about themselves and reconnecting them back to the earth and the growing seasons.
I have been inspired this year, and the plate shows my first results.


clairesgarden said...

nothing like the taste of home grown! its amazing what you can cram into a small growing space if you put the work in.
well done you!!

Philosophical Karen said...

A lovely post with lovely photos. And boy am I envious of your harvest! (Not envious enough to start my own kitchen garden, but still...)

David (Snappy) said...

Hi Claire,thanks for your nice comment.I have converted myself.I only managed Tomatos two years ago which tasted divine.This year I have thrown myself into edible plants and soft fruit growing!The results early on have been fabulous..
Thanks Karen,I wanted to see if i could grow things in an enclosed urban garden.The challenge has helped me garden creatively and pack more in than you would expect!
The summer will bring a glut i think..I still need more experience to be able to produce something edible all year around.
Next year I will not grow as much in the garden.I think the allotment will be in better shape next year.
I hope you try something though like Chillis or Tomatos.One plant of each is all you need :)