The kitchen garden is the best cultivated, least neglected, and most appreciated section of our garden. It is located in the southwest corner of the yard, where the old rose garden used to be. We picked the spot because it has (or had) the most abundant sunlight and the best soil. The roses were carefully moved to other spots, and we started off by fencing in the area, mainly to keep the dogs from running through the beds. Over the years we have tried different configurations and designs, and last year we decided to install raised wooden beds. It has made a huge difference. The drainage is much better and although the weeds still will find their way in, it is so much easier to take care off the confined beds.
lemon thyme on the stone steps by the gate
My lovely husband loves to build things. He has a demanding and sometimes stressful day job, so carpentry and construction are some of his favorite ways to decompress. He designed and built the beds, the arches, and the beautiful jeffersonian gate at the top of the garden. He is also responsible for the brick laid paths, which are only partially finished, but hopefully will be completed this year.
the jeffersonian gate and the herb garden
the east arch/gate, and the brick path
At the top of the garden are the herb beds, backed by two espaliered asian pears. This year we have tomatoes in the top raised beds, 'sungold' cherry tomatoes, and the heirloom 'brandywine'. Next come the chard/lettuce and snow peas. Basil will probably replace the lettuce that is already bolting. In one of the small raised beds I have a beautiful stand of rhubarb. This is the first time I have managed to make rhubarb return. Normally it doesn't like our hot humid climate, or maybe it didn't like me...
this year's plan
snow peas ready for harvest
The surrounding trees, both ours and our neighbors, have grown since we first started the kitchen garden. The bottom quarter really doesn't get enough sunlight to grow much of anything anymore. The bottom fence is lined with espaliered plums. They always bloom happily early in the spring but rarely bares fruit due to lack of sunshine. Earlier this spring I met with garden consultant Tracey Gerlach of life in sugar hollow, who suggested berry bushes that like dappled shade in their natural habitat. So now I have planted several varieties of bluberries as well as raspberries in the bottom section of the garden. Tracey also suggested shiitake mushroom logs nestled in the shady spots, which sounds both easy and delicious. That will be next on my list...
espaliered plums and 'the fairy' in the shady part
the kitchen garden in relation
Eventually we will extend the kitchen garden further north to make room for more sun loving plants. We are also working on the new paths and a stone circle/sitting area in the bottom part of the garden. Over the years the kitchen garden has become a refuge for me. Not everything here is edible, roses, ponies, and clematis reside nearby. The result is a peaceful, harmonius, and often sweet smelling place...
rosa 'almost wild' by the lettuce bed, and fennel close up
rosa 'the fairy' and mallows by the herb garden
clematis buds on the fence
clematis on the fence, allium in the peony bed