I started with a smallish plot near the orchard:
Meanwhile, I continued to drive past the neighbor's garden. My now-more-trained eye noticed how, well, tidy their garden was. Mine was a mess; the surrounding grass and weeds were a constant battle. We decided to relocate the kitchen garden to a sunny spot in the pasture, and did a better job clearing and marking off the beds. We also thought that, if our first garden was good, a garden four times the size would be four times better! Right?!
On the plus side, we had plenty of room for new crops like carrots, leeks, onions, parsnips, peppers, melons, and pumpkins. The design was easier to maintain, rivaling our neighbors in tidiness. On the other hand, there were too many crops. There was no way we could eat it all, and we didn't have the ability to preserve much of it, either. Sometime in mid- to late summer, I would throw up my hands in despair, unable to keep up with it all. Oh, and did I mention this garden was quite some distance from the house? Our role-model neighbors need only step outside their kitchen door to ingredients for dinner. We had to walk clear to the outer edges of our property.
When Chris began thinking about situating a formal garden right behind our house (I'm sure he'll have more to say about that later), we decided to allocate space on the end for a new kitchen garden. Learning from previous experience we started small, and focused on crops we were certain would make it to the family table. Now, at the end of our first season, I'm mulling things over, still searching for the perfect kitchen garden:
- What crops do we actually enjoy eating? (or: why grow pumpkins?)
- How much do we need? (or: enough zucchini already!)
- How do you design a kitchen garden that is pretty as well as functional?