Kitchen Gardens: Combining Beauty and Utility

As the child of a serious home vegetable gardener and home cook I have been surrounded with talk of these two subjects for my entire existence, and all recent conversations with my father are related to either cooking or growing vegetables. Because of this upbringing naturally I am also a home cook and have tried my hand at

Kitchen Garden provides color and texture to the yard

growing a variety of herbs, veggies and of course flower bulbs! My fiancee is also the product of a similar up bringing; a huge vegetable garden and great home cooks, we have a lot to talk about on any given night because of this similarity. It appears as though many of my friends are very interested in growing their own fruits and vegetables. They want to know the source of their fresh produce and know that it has been grown in a safe and healthy way, plus growing your own fruits and vegetables is very rewarding and economical over the course of time. Therefore from the three important F’s in my life; fiancée, friends and family, the idea of a Kitchen Garden has grabbed my interest!

At first I thought a kitchen garden was a fancy term for Vegetable Garden, at least in my world it was 🙂  I wanted to be accurate when talking about vegetable and kitchen gardens so I did a little research on kitchen gardens and found out that a true kitchen garden is more than vegetables.  From all the research I have gathered I have come to the conclusion that a traditional kitchen garden (also referred to as a potager) consists not only of vegetables and herbs, but also ornamental plants such as flowering bulbs, perennials, trees and shrubs. Another aspect of what I call a traditional kitchen garden is that it is a small space garden, and often follows a repetitive geometric pattern.  From this knowledge I started envisioning my perfect kitchen garden as defined by the description above and it has a home for yummy fruits and veggies as well as butterflies and hummingbirds. What you envision your kitchen garden to be may be completely different from mine. And that is great and exciting, as variety is the spice of life, and especially in gardening there is no set way to design, there are always guidelines but you are free to choose whatever plants you enjoy for your special garden space!

Dill is a great addition to the Kitchen Garden and a host plant for the Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

If you are not sure where to start on your kitchen garden there are plenty of books on growing fruits and vegetables. Another great resource is your local County Extension office which is staffed with knowledgeable gardeners whom can help you get on track to your perfect kitchen garden. Many online retailers of plants and gardening supplies such as Holland Bulb Farms also have great advice on how to start a kitchen garden. Holland Bulb Farms has even made it easy by creating a complete kitchen garden kit, it comes with a traditional kitchen garden guide and all the plants you need to get started! My suggestion is be adventurous and try your hand at a kitchen garden which encapsulates gardening to its fullest offering beauty and utility!

Keep Growing,

Lynn Arndt

Horticulturalist & Lover of the Outdoors