An Easy-Peasy Organic Garden
Good Eating from the Garden
The French call these food gardens “potagers”, the English called them “kitchen gardens”, Americans have always called them “the vegetable patch”, but growing your own little plot of ground with fresh tasting produce for the table is a growing passion. And a delicious one!
Lots of people think about paring their food bill by growing some vegetables in their own backyard. Some people are even moving food growing plots into their front yards. However you plan to landscape your property, why not tuck some gourmet quality into your kitchen, by way of a little vegetable patch?
Veggie gardens can be quite pretty, and once you have the basics for a food garden, it may interest you to try the kind of produce that costs much more in the grocery stores (if you can even find them) then your budget may allow.
In fact, some people grow their own food simply for the superior taste and knowledge that it was produced without chemicals.
Whichever motivation most compels you -cost or tastiness, look over some summer garden plans for a little gourmet garden of your own.
How To Grow Delicious Vegetables
There are plenty of ways to make a productive spot in the yard.
- Good Soil: Improve your soils with amendments and regularly adding compost (which you make yourself by recycling many wastes such as kitchen scraps, and plants past their prime)
- Find the right spot for your plot: sunny, with good drainage. Away from competitive tree roots.
- Grow heritage or heirloom vegetables, or special varieties bred for flavor and nutrition, not shelf life.
- Organic methods preserve the healthful qualities of your food and the environment.
- Invest in some equipment to make your gardening experience easier and more comfortable. Composters, garden shoes and gloves, good weeding tools, maybe even raised beds are useful components of a productive garden patch.
Your Own Little Potager
Little gardens are perfect for baby vegetables or growing only the very best tasting varieties. Find good quality seed, and reap succulent success.
Excellent seed house with heirloom and gourmet varieties of veggies, herbs, and more. Very high quality seeds.
A planting plan example
Here is my ideal little gourmet garden and how it would look:
Nothing is better than homegrown strawberries and tomatoes, so I would have both of those in my garden. (And I do!). I would have a circle bed in the center that held a tomato tepee planted with a pink Brandywine heirloom tomato plant, then fill in below with 15 strawberry plants of the Honeoye variety.
Rectangle beds on either side and square beds at each end would hold the rest of the plantings.
One rectangle bed would hold graduated sowings of loose leaf and mesclun lettuce mix. Lettuces grow quickly in cool weather, and you have baby lettuces coming along if you graduate the times they are sown. Rows of “Bertan’ or “Littlefinger” carrots in between the lettuces, after harvest these would be replaced with Maxibel Haricot Vert beans grown on tepee trellises.
The opposite side of the circle bed, the rectangle would hold another tomato, some sweet peppers, and a zucchini squash plant, all underplanted with Italian leaf parsley. The one end square bed holding eggplants of the Chinese Round Mauve variety surrounded by dill plants and a few Johnny jump up violas, while the other square bed is filled with herbs of thyme, savory, marjoram.Small space , but produce fabulous foodSmall size garden
Another beginners garden plan, a starter vegetable garden is found on my garden site.
Organic and Gourmet, Kitchen Gardens
Learn about this beautiful way to make a vegetable and fruit garden.
History Of Kitchen Gardens
- The Kitchen Garden
Growing food can look as beautiful as it is tasty. A kitchen garden how-to and history.
The garden of the true gourmet. The French are renowned for their love of cooking and eating, including fresh seasonal produce. who better to look to, for wonderful gardens that combine cut flowers for the table and delicious gourmet vegetables for the table?
Get The Whole Enchilada
Gourmet Garden Seed Collection: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Corn, Cucumber, Dill, Endive, Lettuce, Marigold, Nasturtium, Mizuna, Parsley, Sorrel, Spinach, Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatillo, Tomato, Turnip
When you want to supply your kitchen with a gourmet mix of tasty vegetables this is the selection to buy.
The greens are easy to grow and nutritious, some of the selections are veggies that taste best when harvested from your own gardens. Marigold and Nasturtium flowers are important companion planting additions.
Want to Grow Exceptional Tasting Food?
Video Vegetable Gardening Tips
A video on growing some special foods for yourself. See the great “organza bag tip” in the edible landscape video.
Improve The Taste and Nutrition Of What You Eat
What’s in a Gourmet Garden?
There are a few tricks of the trade… one is to rotate your crops each year. See the tips on that technique on this page.
Another is the use of companion planting techniques to help plants stimulate each others growth and repel pests. There are lots of combinations which both help and hinder each other. The use of companions can range from helping to stimulate growth to serving as a “catch crop” for destructive insects such as aphids.
Adding the “Gourmet” to garden usually means varieties that are tastier, more tender, and meant for earlier harvesting (baby vegetables).
Slightly unusual types which have special flavor qualities, like Thai Basil instead of simply “Basil” create your own supply of high quality ingredients for flavors that wow your palate.
Look for “Heirloom” varieties for superior taste, as well.
Beets Gourmet Blend Certified Organic Heirloom Seeds 100 Seeds
Beets are especially easy to grow, and you can eat both the roots and the greens. They are nutritionally dense with plenty of folate, a unique source of phytonutrients, and the greens contain lutein, which is good for preserving eyesight.
Try Mesclun Salad Greens
SimplySalad Seeds Global Gourmet Mix – Pellitized Seed
The best varieties for delicious greens in your salad bowl. Colorful and nutritious.
Why pelletized seed? It makes tiny seeds much easier to plant. and growing your own greens couldn’t be easier than this. They provide tasty salads full of nutrients, ready from the garden in a regular supply. Baby greens quickly grow and are ready for eating as you thin out the plantings.
Go Organic, Tips
- Improve the soil with natural, not chemical fertilizers. Bone meal, blood meal, cottonseed meal, green manures, and many more. And yes, compost.
- Use companion planting and timing to help thwart pests and disease, and help plants thrive to produce.
- Mulch, cultivation, and other means to conserve moisture, and lower plant stress.
- Find solutions to pests, using beneficial insects, soap and pepper sprays, and other common methods.
- Crop rotation is a tried and true way to productively plant vegetables for good results.
You can begin in August and extend through September for a second crop.
Seeds of Change Certified Organic Chinese Cabbage, China Choy – 150 milligrams, 50 Seeds Pack
Broaden the horizons of your kitchen with yummy Asian veggies. Chinese cabbage, aka Nappa cabbage, is a cool season crop which means that it will bolt during hot weather.
Consider it for your late garden (second sowings or fall garden), planting in August for Zone 5 (here in Ohio). Easy to grow, it likes to be manured and given regular moisture.
The plants are frost resistant, ready to harvest in 50 – 85 days.
Be Sure To Rotate Crops
Crop rotation cuts down on pests and plant diseases; it helps replenish the soils nutrients.
Rotating crops in the simplest form means simply not growing the same kind of crop in the same place twice in a four year cycle. Plant are grouped as to types according to their needs. There are leafy plants like lettuce, root crops like carrots, fruit crops like tomatoes, and legume crops like peas. Leafy crops need nitrogen, legumes put nitrogen back into the soil. Fruit bearing crops need potassium, and root crops need potash.
If you have a schedule of changing the crops, there is less chance for insect pest damage, and it gives the soil time to recover fertility.
There is no one way to do this rotation, but there are a number of theories on how to do it. One to try… Factsheet Here
How to grow your own gourmet produce in your garden, greenhouse, or even in a window box. From baby vegetables to herbs, fruits, mushrooms- just all sorts of things.
Use Containers – Add more plants and grow vertically
Trellises train plants upward and are a great way to grow more produce even if you are short on space. Beans, tomatoes and melons may all grow on trellises.
100% CERTIFIED ORGANIC NON-GMO Culinary Herb Set – 12 popular Easy-to-Grow Herb Seeds by Zziggysgal
Grow your own fresh herbs with this high quality mix.
I would always plant these choices
…For my dining table
Heirloom selections are sometimes the most flavorful. I’ve started growing more heirloom tomatoes for the past couple years.
Start With Growing These Herbs and Vegetables
Grow Alpine Strawberries
Grow Your Own Woodland StrawberriesAlpine Strawberries
This is one fruit you probably can’t find in a store, and they are pretty easy to grow. Try a row of these diminutive berries for a taste treat that will have you looking forward to their appearance each year.
How To Begin Growing Nutritious Food
Composting For Good Dirt
Feed Your Soil- Feed Yourself
Every Organic Garden Should Have A Compost Pile
Compost is simply rotting organic material which helps create humus. Ever seen dark, rich, crumbly soil? It likely had a lot of humus in it.
To make compost is quite easy, but there are many people who favor certain methods…some to get quicker results, some to get more plant nutrients. If you decide to collect kitchen scraps, you might want a small covered pail to keep smells to a minimum and neatly store.
In a small yard a composter saves space, and it can speed up the process, turning the contents with ease. Or you can make a pile in an “out of the way” place in the yard like I do.
Plow Natural White Cedar Slat-Side Composter Composting
However you make compost, be sure to add it to your vegetable garden for increasing the nutrients of your harvest and improving the quality of the garden soil.
Kitchen Composter Pail
RSVP PAIL-SM Steel Compost Pail, 1/2-Gallon
Charcoal filter reduces odors. Stainless steel means great looks and easy clean-up.
Wonder How To Compost? Find Out Here
Make Your New Kitchen Garden Space
Find a sunny location
A Kitchen garden is simply a garden dedicated to keeping your kitchen full of fresh grown food. It can have fruits, vegetables, herbs, all growing together in happy harmony. The choice of what to grow is yours. All that is needed is plenty of sun, good soil, and ready source of water when it’s needed.
Don’t skimp on preparing the soil and keeping it in good fertile condition because that is what create good healthy plants, nutritional components of the food produced and flavor.
Compost is a great amendment to your soil, and a good way to recycle kitchen wastes. Read more about composting in the “Cheap Gardening” lens.
If you use raised beds it will be easier to keep the soil in good tilth which contributes to better seed germination and carrots that grow straighter, etc.
Outfitting The Garden
The easiest tiller – A Mantis Tiller
When we moved out to the country, we had to have a tiller for the large vegetable garden I put in. We had a back tine tiller after our front tine one went kaput. These were good quality machines with Briggs & Stratton engines. But they had to work hard.
Besides, they were Behemoths, and while I was the main one to use them, and manhandled them into submission, now that I’m older I appreciate the ease of use of the one I have now.
I finally bought one of these tillers- I wish I had started with the Mantis from the beginning of my garden career.
Mantis 7225-00-02 2-Cycle Gas-Powered Tiller/Cultivator (CARB Compliant)
I finally got one of these Mantis tillers. I wondered why I had waited so long! Don’t make the same mistake… these are really handy -especially if you are going to grow a food garden.
Are all those tools worth it?
Like your kitchen, a garden is something of a factory… a workplace. That is why there are special tools involved, and not just the hoe, spade, and trowel. Whatever keeps the soil productive, solutions to eliminate pests and diseases, ways to keep produce in good condition, clean-up, these are all parts of an efficient space.
We don’t usually think of it this way, and sometimes wonder why all the bother?
Why should we grow our own food – buying equipment, sweating, and expending hard earned coin for something we could more easily pick up in a store?
Some of the argument for growing these foods has been said: the freshness, the flavor, the variety. Often these are just not available in the grocery. Tomatoes are probably the best example of that. But there is another reason…
I think the answer is in the importance of good health. Preventive care through good nutrition is now more important than ever. Rising food costs are increasingly of concern. And then there are some of us who really care about food tasting delicious and fresh.
All those concerns are reasons to grow a gourmet garden in you backyard.
Great Investment For Gardeners
EASY ON, WATERPROOF SHOES
Footwear gear can be a great investment in utility and comfort. Sometimes you want a waterproof shoe to walk around a rain-drenched mucky soil or trod through the pathways still wet with dew. Something that is easy to slip on and off, and sturdy enough to put some heft into digging with a spade.
This Is A Garden Tool, Too
This is the shoe you are looking for- it will be your favorite garden footwear.
Sloggers Women’s Rain and Garden Shoe with “All-Day-Comfort” Insole, Midsummer Black Print – Wo’s size 8 – Style 5102BK08
One of my favorite purchases has been a pair of these garden clogs. They are easy to slip on and off, and you can use them when tilling, walking in a wet garden, or just anytime.
Add to your garden patch… – Grow transplants.
One way to give more space to the garden is to use trellises or some other structure like a tuteur to direct bean vines, squash vines or tomatoes upward. Certain nasturtiums will climb, too. A vertical area not only saves space, but gives visual interest, too.
Frame It All Garden Trellis
A trellis for growing vines, whether your own grapes or annula plantings of beans. A beautiful trellis is not for roses only, think outside of the box and use
What Grows Vertically?
Tomatoes, Beans, Squash, and Melons are some of the most common plants to grow on a trellis. These plants vine or tend to spread far and wide on the ground.
Tie them up to a support, perhaps cradle the growing fruits and you will find this is a great space saver that improves fruit quality and makes it easier to control the plant (and find the fruit).
Tuteur – Useful garden sculpture
Garden Tuteur for beans, melons, cucumbers, or flowering vine accent. Plus, structures like this make things pretty. Yes, just for the sheer beauty of it, we add garden ornaments to our yards, so why not make them useful AND pretty?
You can build your own, look for them in garden centers or order them from Amazon right here and now. But get growing up off the ground and discover what a great tip this is.Essex Trellis, Tall Decorative Flower and/or Vegetable Support
You can make your own plant support, but a metal tuteur will lend elegance with sturdy support for your climbing nasturtium or melon vine… or a Heavenly Blue Morning Glory!
Garden Trellis – For your squash, melons, beans, and more
Vertical gardening doesn’t support itself- you need to provide the framework.But the reward is better vegetables, up out of the reach of many pests.
Gardeneer By Dalen Trellis Netting Heavy-Duty Nylon Tangle-Free Net 5′ x 30′
To grow vertically in space saving method or to keep squash and melons safely off the ground, this netting can be used to support your precious harvest.
Front Yard Fit To Eat
More people are growing vegetables in their front yards!
Fruits and vegetables can be grown in your front yard and look like a colorful garden landscape.
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
Like fruit? Why not a cherry tree with a cloud of spring blossoms and a crop of ripe red cherries in June? Need some groundcover underneath? Strawberries will tolerate the part shade. Line a walk with marigolds, border the sideyard with nasturtiums, make a patchwork of lettuce and herbs with areas of Swiss chard and kale for contrast. Blueberry bushes are pretty if you have the acid soils they like, and raspberries can be trained on a fence. Bush beans grow low with attractive leaves, and some herb plants alongside give subtle colors with their leaves and blooms.
Walk out your front door to harvest something for your meal that evening, what could be more natural?
Front yards can be used for food gardens. when you use decorative herbs, and ornamental supports such as well made tuteurs, the front yard food garden is beautiful landscaping as well.
USE YOUR POTS
Many of the best crops are harvested young- some are smaller sized and can be grown in containers. Use your containers for exotic peppers, or a variety of herbs. Even a balcony in the city can hold the makings of the best Italian sauce: Roma tomatoes, oregano and basil, even onions or shallots if you want them.
Flowers that you can eat…
Give color and fresh taste with edible flowers. Some may have been growing in your yard all along, and some, like squash blossoms are just a different way to eat a food plant.
Watch the video to garner great tips on the best way to grow and use blooms to garnish your plate with taste and color.