The Best Garden For Cooks

The Best Garden For Cooks

To grow a kitchen friendly garden begin by choosing a sunny area as close to your kitchen as possible. Make sure it also has easy access. You do not want a chef’s garden right out side your kitchen window but you have to walk half way around the house to get to it. Plan your crops so the low growing herbs and veggies are along the edge and the taller plants are towards the center of the plot. Keep the tallest plants and those needing support for the back row of your garden.

Garden Preparation

Before you plant you need to prep your garden bed. You want your soil to be nutrient rich and well drained. Clear weeds and grass from the desired area. Usually a plot that is 5 feet by 5 feet provides enough produce to satisfy the busiest cook. Spread about 3 inches of compost over the area and work it into the soil.

So you are not trudging out to your garden through dirt, grass, and mud plan a walkway around your kitchen garden. Lay paving stone or some other type of material around your garden so you will have easy access.

Planting and Aftercare

Begin in early spring sowing your seeds into the soil. Or, start your seeds indoors a few weeks before the last frost if you live in the north. Plant shorter plants like Lettuce or Parsley along the outside rows of your garden. Try planting Onions toward the center of the garden bed and Rosemary at the back. Spread soaker hoses along the rows and cover your bed with mulch.

You want to plant herbs and veggies that suit your tastes. However here are a few suggestions. In the first rows of your garden try some varieties of Lettuce. Leaf Lettuce is a tasty choice. It will only grow up to 10 inches tall and its ruffled green and burgundy leaves are quite attractive. Leaf Lettuce is full of vitamins and has a sweet flavor. It prefers cool conditions but can be grown in all zones. Or try Batavian Lettuce, which gets 10 inches tall. This Lettuce likes cool conditions and is an annual for all zones. Another type of Lettuce to try is Romaine Lettuce. This plant will grow up to 12 inches. It has a ruffled texture with a mild flavor. It too can be grown in all zones. Some of the smaller herbs can also be grown in the outer rows of your garden. Chives will get up to 18 inches and have a nice onion flavor. This herb will grow in zones 3-9. Another short grower is lemon balm. It has a minty lemon flavor and does well in zones 3-9.

In your next rows you might want to try Onions. They can get up to 24 inches tall and their grass-like leaves have a lovely greenish blue color. Onions also do well in all zones. Along with Onions plant Parsley. It will get up to 15 inches tall. Parsley is sweet tasting and full of vitamins. It can be grown in all zones. Sweet Peppers are another plant that will fit this row. They are very colorful in red, green, yellow, purple, or orange. They will get up to 2 feet tall and do well in all zones.

Moving inward to the next rows you might want to try some ‘Red Giant’ Mustard. It will get up to 24 inches tall and has gorgeous purplish leaves with a Dijon mustard flavor. This plant likes a cool climate so plant in spring or fall. It is an annual that grows in all zones. Another plant to try in this row is Shungiko, also known as Edible Chrysanthemum. This plant will grow up to 30 inches and has lacy gray leaves. It works well in salads and for stir-fry. The flowers are a bright orange and yellow and it can be grown in all zones.

In the back of your kitchen garden plant a Rosemary shrub. It will grow up to 6 feet tall and has a very strong aroma. Because it prefers zones 8-10 you might want to over winter it indoors. The back row of your garden is also great for herbs or veggies that require some type of support. Try growing Beans or Cucumbers, as they need a trellis to grow effectively. Another tall herb to plant is Elephant Garlic. It will get up to 3 feet tall and flourishes in zones 6-9. Greek Oregano is an herb that will get up to 30 inches tall. It grows in zones 5-10.

Last Thoughts

Before you plant your chef’s garden plan it out carefully. Take note of the veggies and herbs you use most in cooking and do your research to determine what plants will be easiest to grow. Go on-line, visit nurseries, and talk to friends and family with gardening experience. There is oodles of information out there just waiting to be found. And above all, have fun!! There is nothing like the taste of a fresh salad that was growing in the garden just 10 minutes ago!

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