Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kitchen Gardens

I snapped these photos at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.  Botanical Gardens are great places for ideas.
I do A LOT of reading and experimenting in the garden.  I have watched hours upon hours of landscaping design, gardening, and themed ideas.  Then there are the hours upon hours of reading.  Now put that with all the putzing around I do at El Presidio, conferences, shopping for plants, travel, volunteering, and oh yeah....this blog!..... and you've got a guy who has a lot of thoughts and sharing to do.  Graduate school is my next step.....horticulture. A new adventure lies ahead and a new chapter of my life will begin in the next few years.
Many of your favorite restaurants will have their own herb gardens hidden somewhere on their property at work or at home.
Before I begin, a lot of people ask how I have the time to write everyday for this blog.  Well it's quite simple....scheduling.  I plan out a month and look at where I'll be during that time. For example, in June, I was in Panama and in July, San Diego.  I then plan from there scheduling events with people and places.  On Saturday mornings before I go work out in the garden, I sit down with my coffee and write. It is very relaxing and therapeutic for me and has really changed my life.  In fact both photography and writing have had a huge impact in guiding me to take full advantage of life's little events.  I'm also getting more comfortable going up to people saying, "Hi, I'm from Las Aventuras Garden and Travel blog. Do you have some time to answer some questions?:)"  My first time was during the avocado tree search and it was alien to me.  Now it's become second nature.  I'm proud of this blog and what it has to offer.  However, you may have typed in Kitchen let's begin:)  I found this article from AZ Master Gardener Cathy Cromell.  Here is what she has to say.....
"A kitchen garden contains any mixture of edible vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs to tempt your taste buds, and a spacious back yard isn't a requirement. Your potager, the French term for an edible garden, can take whatever shape your space allows and household requires.  A family with hungry teenagers might maintain a large vegetable garden and several citrus trees.  A retired couple might enjoy the convenience of a raised bed.  A busy single may want only the simplicity of a pot of oregano to enhance a jar of prepared spaghetti sauce.
When deciding where to start your edible garden, try to situate it near the kitchen.  This allows the cook to step outside and quickly gather fresh salad ingredients, or snip a few herbs to add zip to a simmering pot on the stove.  And when located near doors and patios, it also brings color and fragrance close to the house. 
Another key consideration is what to plant.  Anything edible is a possibility for a kitchen garden.  And anything that can be repeatedly harvested during a long growing season, including leaf lettuce or lemon thyme, is a good choice.  Vegetables that are quick to mature, such as radishes, can be harvested and resown for a second or third crop.  Mesclun mixes, which combine seeds of four or more types of leafy greens in one packet, are a fun way to experiment with unusual varieties.  Unless your kitchen garden has plenty of space, ignore vegetables that take a long time to mature or have one main harvest, such as Brussels sprouts or cabbage.  Information on days to maturity is listed on the seed packet or can be found in catalog descriptions.
Fall is a lovely time to plant a kitchen garden.  So many different herbs and vegetables thrive in the low desert from October until summery weather rolls around in May.  Choose a location that receives at least 6 hours of full sun a day. If you lack a suitable spot, "build" your kitchen garden using containers.  Set them on wheeled platforms for added flexibility.  Select pots that have drainage holes and are at least 12 inches deep and wide to allow for healthy root systems.  Before filling a container with potting mix, place a piece of window screen mesh over the drainage hole to prevent soil from washing away.  Here are some cool season plants for your garden now in the desert southwest.....
Cool-Season Herbs. borage, chives, cilantro, dill, garlic chives, garlic cloves, marjoram, oregano, parsley, sage, salad burnet, thyme.  Cool-Season Veggies.  arugula, asian green like bok choy, mizuna, tatsoi, baby beets, baby carrots, chard, kale, looseleaf lettuce, mesclun mix, radishes, scallions, and spinach. "  Source:  Cathy Cromell, Arizona Master Gardener and co-author of Desert Gardening for Beginners.


  1. Oh! I like Kitchen Gardens. Sometimes, while cooking, I go out there and snip some chillies or herbs to add into the cooking.

  2. Everyone who cooks should have some type of a kitchen garden. It definitely does not take a lot of space.

    I'm happy to hear how much your blog has influenced your life. How wonderful that you are going back to school and are planning a career change! I didn't start college until I was 39.


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