Saturday, July 21, 2012

Kitchen garden - tick✓



A few nights ago, on the one year anniversary of our great caravan adventure departure, I sat down with my farmer boy and we went through our checklist.



We wrote that checklist on the South coast of WA late last year when we were starting to think about returning home. The checklist is a list of questions about the way we are living our life.

I've never published this list because my farmer boy prefers to keep it private, but its all about the type of decisions we are making. The ways we spend and manage our time. The life we are making for our family. And how well we are sticking to the resolutions we made about life at home.



And honestly I think we are doing really well. We are mostly living a conscious, creative, environmental, country, sustainable, slow, love filled life. 

I added in the mostly because there is always room for improvement and because there are times where we are exhausted and it all falls in a heap.


And I think the point on the checklist that has made me the happiest, that has made me feel like the best mama, that has kept us healthy, that has saved us money and has kept me the sanest, is the kitchen garden.

The depths of winter is probably a funny time to be writing this post considering the lack of variety in the garden right now. But never-the-less, having a range of herbs, salad greens and leaves, broccoli, silver beet, carrots and spinach growing a few steps from the front door is brilliant.

Growing our own means:

  • We know exactly what went into growing the vegies we feed our family. What they were grown in, sprayed with and how they were looked after.
  • We know that our vegies haven't sat for hours and days in a refrigerated truck or for months in a cool room somewhere. 
  • We know that having been picked and travelled the few steps into the kitchen our vegies are still filled with nutrients and as fresh, as fresh can be.
  • Our kids are more likely to eat something they have been involved in growing. 
  • I can escape, deep breathe and pull weeds when necessary.
  • We have pride in our food.
  • We are all more aware of what foods are planted, grow and are harvested when.
  • Our meals are full of taste and love.
  • We save money by planning meals around the foods we are growing.
  • We have a gorgeous looking, vibrant kitchen garden in the front of our house.
  • When we are sitting down to lunch and the four year old demands purple carrots, getting her what she wants is a pleasure.

A kitchen garden doesn't happen overnight and I am totally grateful to our farmer boys for building our raised beds and trusting me with the mandala layout. I am grateful to Mother Nature for the sunshine and rain and warmth and frosts that make our garden grow. And I am grateful that sitting in the caravan park thousands of kilometers away, we saw the importance of prioritising the kitchen garden, it has changed our lives.

So how about you?
How and what does your garden grow at the mo?
Do your green leaves please?
Do you love to weed and seed?

Happy weekend you guys. xx

56 comments:

  1. we have the veggie garden close to the house in raised beds too and i like to look out the window and see it. we have a load of broc, salad greens, herbs, celery and PINEAPPLE!!the pineapple is so good- its worth the heartburn it gives me at the mo.

    I like that you and Bren made a list together and its nice that you are keeping it private too. xx

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  2. Dear Kate you have the loveliest of blogs and I enjoying reading your posts, they make me smile. I'm trying hard at the mo to grow tomatoes, carrots and beets. It's not going well, but I will keep trying!! Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    Louise

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  3. I'm just weeding the brick paths between our vegie beds at the moment, have come in to boil the kettle to pour on the stubborn little shits! We have picked the first if our broccoli this week, we are harvesting lots if lettuce, beetroot, herbs and carrots . Some beds have been planted with green manure, ready to dig in for the spring planting. It's a lovely sunny day over here, better get back to it, kettle has boiled

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  4. So perfect this post! I love your love of it, and what it means to you and your family.

    Every few years we have an off year in our little garden, this is one of those years. A matter of a soggy summer and a bit of life doing what it does has put us squarely on the tangled wreck side of things. Still the peas arrived much to my surprise, snacking on peas from the garden is like eating the color green! The chard (silver beet?) was resplendent in the misty weather. Today I squealed and said an out loud "Well Hello!" to the new lemon cucumbers just coming on. The heirloom beets have been pickled. Even in the leanest of garden years we find plenty, enough to share even, and it is so much apart of our lives.

    I went to a party last night, a small group of dear friends gathered to share food and company. We sat at a table in the garden, passed around plates of food that were almost entirely culled from our gardens, backyard chickens, and even wild fish some of us caught in our local streams. As we watched lightening streak across the sky in a rare Northwest summer storm and talked about our gardens and our lives; it struck me how amazing it was that all of us - so varied in our occupations and backgrounds - have found this common bond and are so excited to share it with one another. A community of small to minuscule kitchen gardens in the city, growing our own and cooking with love and passing it on to others. I left the party with 2 cases of amazing canned goods, heads of lettuce, home made jam, a huge bouquet of sunflowers, and a couple of bottles of home brewed beer. I felt impossibly rich, happy and grateful.

    Hooray for the kitchen garden!

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  5. Your kitchen garden looks and sounds wonderful Kate. Beautiful, warm photos as always. Loving my kitchen garden at the moment too; harvesting broccoli, beetroot, spinach and mint. Just starting to make plans for the spring crop! Happy weekend and happy gardening :)

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  6. Such a gorgeous post and most relevant for me as we just moved into our new house the other week, and I'm currently planning our kitchen garden. I'm so excited! I've wanted one forever, and I can't wait to be at your stage... or somewhere in the vicinity of your stage!

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  7. What a beautiful garden. I have a kitchen garden however it is small and we can not grow everything we need but growing a small amount is pleasurable and makes us happy.

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  8. I've just harvested some large and scrumptious beets that I have roasted and pureed - ready for adding to (and hiding in) various recipes. The first inclusion was into some pancake mix for what proved to be very popular "pink pancakes". Hmmm - might go and have one right now. K

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  9. We have our vegies growing in gardens in our tiered back and Matt also has some at his nursery for us. Lots of pumpkin cooked today! Your garden beds look fantastic

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  10. I have a little veg plot on our garden. I have courgettes, cauliflowers, onions, carrots and parsnips growing. Unfortunately, the English rain as ruined my tomatoes, runner beans potatoes and cucumbers. However, I shall keep trying, it doesn't put me off because I just love to be out there, weeding, sowing, caring. I just can't help myself.

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  11. this is so very inspiring. getting ready to plant something (not sure what!) in our little garden space, in our new yard. it's great to know there are others out there, from whom i can draw knowledge :)sarah

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  12. its all about the type of decisions we are making. The ways we spend and manage our time. The life we are making for our family.

    ...where we are now.
    *deep breath*...homeward bound soon!
    xo

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  13. Gorgeous pics! My winter garden is ...... pretty sucky. I'm not doing something right. Still to work that one out. I've managed to grow THREE lettuces (not for want of trying mind you). About to get ready for the beds to have a rest so fingers crossed the next bit works.
    BTW I met Gourmet Girlfriend the other night..... in the flesh. Next stop, Daylesford! Xx

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  14. Since our move about 5 weeks ago, I am steadily clearing and planting out as quickley as I can... your garden is indeed inspiring! So love reading about other's gardens! xx thanks Kate!

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  15. Right now I have rainbow chard, kale, silver beet, english spinach, green & purple cabbage, chilli's, red onions, 3 types of lettuce & garlic growing. Only the chard is ready. The carrots & peas died & I took the last of the tomatoes off about a week ago so they are done now too. I cannot wait until summer to have tomatoes. last I had 6 different varieties growing & it was wonderful! Summer is hard here in Perth but its worth it when those tomatoes come in....

    I plan to try again with herbs this year. I've had no luck ( except with mint which just won't die!) so far so I've made new plans. Another month & it's time to grow :)

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  16. My husband likes to garden, me not so much...but I'd love some purple carrots...

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  17. The kitchen garden is a big priority at our house, I love it - tending to it, eating from it, sharing its excess. At the moment we are eating broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale, silverbeet, lettuce, parsley, coriander, rocket and potatoes. Lot's coming on and beginning to think about the arrival of spring too.

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  18. What a lovely kitchen garden you have and the purple carrots look delicious. I don't have any veggies growing in my garden. Its on my to do list!

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  19. Hello Kate,

    I am so deeply inspired by your kitchen garden, it is just beautiful. I'm trying my hand at my second ever garden at the moment (beetroot and celery and parsley) and it is not working exactly how I would like it to, but being that gardening is a skill I'm OK with trial and error! I love your drums and long beds, they are so abundant and I'm not surprised they are making you happy :O)

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  20. It's good to have a list of ideas and plans that you can go back over and assess.

    I also like the idea of a mandala shape to your raised beds. Would you have a link to a post where the actual plan is discussed? Your kitchen garden looks very healthy and productive, well done!

    Ree

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  21. We have a 2 lovely little plots which a girlfriend kindly refers to as the "grave sites". My thumbs are not very green and at present they look a very weedy and neglected.
    I will keep trying ....
    Loving yours and envious of your skills!

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  22. Oh I loved this post! and those photos! Just heaven. I agree it takes time and effort and dedication. We had a kitchen garden when our girls were little and it was one of my greatest joys... funny, isn't it, how it literally 'grounds' you and makes you realise what is really important? Unfortunately, we got busy with our business and the kids (and everything) and our kitchen garden withered away. Hopefully, one day, when we have a bit more time again we'll get it going again. Good on you guys - it's a grand way to live. Kx

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  23. Loving the look of your garden right now -
    the green is glorious!!

    We will be having a vege garden once we get to move
    into our own house in the new year. Can't wait.
    Let alone being able to put stuff up on the walls too!!X

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  24. Your garden and the produce looks glorious. Have you shared your garden plan here before, or your readings ahead of doing the mandala design? Point me in the right direction. I'd be keen to read more.
    My partner and I have also been making lists and though we both work fulltime and have a full family and volunteering life as well, I do garden. At the moment the garden is waiting for seed. I spend as much time as I can in the garden on weekends and last weekend was a megahaul of readying the garden for new plantings and cuttings.

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  25. Oh dear - my garden is a winter wilderness at the moment -Autumn clean up just never happened as planned. Inspired by your lovely photos and going to make the most of our currently mild weather and get out in the garden this week for a clean up in anticipation of spring.

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  26. I love this post, can you share some pics of your home vege garden? Also some tips for those of us who just don't know where to start!

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  27. I like that you and your farmer boy made a list together. So beautiful to communicate on that level. Our garden is sufferind a bit due to all our rain.... But we have broc, snow peas, rocket, lettuce, strawberries and a heap of garlic doing it's thing. Plenty to be thankful for xx

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  28. you are always one step ahead kate. we are heading home from our little adventure in 4 weeks. We were chatting about how our thinking has changed and evolved. What we would like to take back and how our daily life may differ. One of the small things we had decided was the kitchen garden was to be bigger. I miss the soil of home and strangely enough the cooking with home grown produce. Even if that means spinach for 5 days in a row.

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  29. Great! Would love to see that mandala layout from above.

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  30. Inspiring Kate :-)

    I'm missing gardening right now - but am enjoying dreaming about the garden we'll soon start.

    I LOVE your vegie washing table. x t.

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  31. Just perfect. All of it...we dug the post holes for our new patch on the weekend, there's a lot of fencing work to be done to keep the wabbits out! I have little patches of veggies all over the place but can hardly wait to have them all in my kitchen garden.

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  32. Always an inspiration! I admire the way you look for the beauty in your life - it reminds me to do the same. We have much the same things growing right now, but I'm especially loving our very pretty french breakfast radishes and yummy watercress. I do love weeds and seeds! I like to make 'posies' from seed heads - my children think this is hilarious.

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  33. Mrs Fox ... Do you know what one of the COOLEST, BESTEST most AWESOMEST facts about your bountiful & beautiful blog is? ... THE INSPIRATION. You always ADD beauty and honesty and truth. Something the internet needs hey? Thank you.
    Just BIG BIG BIG BIIIIIG THANK YOU. Xx PS - My kitchen garden is tiny, I have many citrus trees though and juicy Mandarins are a daily Vitamin C filled treat here at the Jam home. :-) Growing your own rocks!

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  34. this post inspired me and my little men to plant some rainbow carrot seeds x

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  35. Your garden looks wonderful Kate! I simply can't wait to have my own... six months to go!

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  36. Such a lovely inspiring post! I'd loooove a kitchen garden, just a little one would be the bees knees.

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  37. You are such an inspiration!! Thank you for sharing your very cool kitchen garden. Any tips on keeping those pesky slugs and snails at bay? I have been discouraged the last few years as I get enthusiastic and get into the garden about this time of year. I dig it all over and add compost and plant wee seedlings and everything seems to get munched before anything has a chance to grow.

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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