Planning a Kitchen Garden


There are recipes to write and boxes to pack, but I’ve only just realized that once we move my office view will no longer be my office view.  So I took a picture.  It’s not much to look at – mainly phone wires and concrete.  Still, that tree has kept me company through a lot of thinking, daydreaming and eating.  Some afternoons it’s so green and the sky so blue that together they blot out the boulevard below.

I’ll miss it.

But I’m looking forward to the new place with its giant jacaranda and space for gardening.  As my experience is limited to potted herbs, outdoor pots of carrots, radishes, and fingerling potatoes seem a safe way to start.  Maybe Lydia will help me plant an organic herb garden.  Should my container gardens grow, the following resources might embolden me to actually strike ground.

Gardening Resources & Good Reads:

A Way to Garden – Horticultural “How-to and Woo-Woo” from Margaret Roach, former editorial director of Martha Stewart Living.  Roach is monastic in her approach – she considers gardening her spiritual practice and life partner. She’s also funny, writes simple recipes and, like any good monk, knows the Latin word for everything her garden grows.

The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball – This memoir is about farming, not gardening.  But  Kimball writes a sexy tale about just how difficult and satisfying farming can be.  Here’s the review that inspired me to download and read it in one sitting.

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Crockett Johnson – A childhood favorite in which the little boy remains steadfast and patient while naysayers predict his carrot “won’t come up.” Then he wins the state fair.

The Moosewood Restaurant Kitchen Garden: Creative Gardening for the Adventurous Cook – The Moosewood in Ithaca, NY (shoutout here) may not sound like best place to start when planning a garden in Southern California, but this book helps you organize the garden according to your kitchen needs.

If you’re looking for practical information only, I recommend going straight to Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman.  They’ve done it all and explain their methods in such a calm and lucid way that I finish reading convinced it’d be easy to build and maintain thriving hothouses and lettuce beds, even if it were winter in upstate New York.  It’s the kind of delusion I love to indulge in.

So tell me, do you have your own patch of green?  What are you growing?


P.S. Happy birthday one day early to my dad, who is an exceptional gardener.  Here’s hoping I inherited your (ginormous) green thumb. I love you.


3 Comments on Planning a Kitchen Garden

  1. Julie and Lauren
    June 29, 2011 at 9:39 am (12 years ago)

    Haha- very cute! He does have a big, green thumb : )

  2. Vanessa
    June 29, 2011 at 11:15 am (12 years ago)

    These kitchen garden guidebooks sound great! thanks for the tips. Would make great housewarming gifts, too, with a little starter plant!

    July 6, 2011 at 8:36 pm (12 years ago)

    thanks -you always touch my heart, your dad.

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