Why Plant a Vegetable Garden?

Some Good Reasons to Plant a Vegetable Garden

The Vegetable Garden

  1. Reduce your carbon footprint. The fewer miles your food has to travel, the less environmental damage occurs, and this doesn’t even take into consideration the quantity of electricity for refrigeration, watering and lighting required by your supermarket to keep the produce looking fresh.
  2. Eat fresher, better tasting, and more nutritious produce. Produce loses its nutrients as it sits around waiting to be shipped and then further declines in flavor and nutrition on the long trip to your store. Garden fresh food not only tastes better, it is better.
  3. Save money. On food, on gas, and possibly on impulse purchases at the food market.
  4. Develop a more meaningful, thoughtful understanding of your food consumption. When you plant a garden, watch plants grow, harvest those plants and prepare them for your table, you develop a deeper appreciation for the vegetables that are so easily taken for granted
  5. Preserve genetic diversity. There are hundreds of tomato varieties, but you’re grocery store only carries a handful of them. When you visit the local farmers market, you see dozens of unfamiliar varieties. Why? Some tomatoes “travel” better than others. Some varieties of tomatoes just can’t survive the difficult trip over hundreds of miles, and these are often the ones that taste the best.
  6. Get inspired. Once you get a taste for local foods, chances are you’ll want to grow  your own.  The garden doesn’t have to be as extensive as the one pictured above. Even a small, 10′ x 20′ plot will provide plenty of fresh produce for a small family, and you can even grow vegetables in containers.
  7. Feel productive. You will, quite literally, feel that your time and effort has been productive. No salad will ever be as delicious and precious as that first spring salad from your garden.

The Garden Enclosure; Part II: The Arbor

Building a Rustic Arbor; a Foyer for the Potager.

Rustic Cedar Arbor

The rustic, cedar arbor waiting for its seating.

One of the things that has made weeding the kitchen garden a chore is the absence of a place to take a break. In an ideal world, there would be a somewhat shaded place, where a gardener could get out of the sun for a few minutes, with a comfortable seat and possibly a surface upon which one could place a glass of iced tea and a gardening book. So, this time around, we aimed to correct this flaw and build a 7′ wide arbor that will accomodate a bench or two. If you’re starting a new kitchen garden plan to include a somewhat shady spot to sit. It will make spending time in the garden so much more pleasureable.

Because our land slopes down into the garden, Andrew created a couple of short steps and a ‘floor’ surface paved with large, flat granite stones. The voids (or joints) between the stones are filled with sand and then fine, crushed stone.  As a finishing touch, Andrew liberally sprinkled seeds of creeping thyme over the surface and gently washed them into the crevices. Thyme is a slow germinator and has a comparatively low germination rate so we expect to see more weeds than thyme, but we’ll keep an eye on it.  When we get around to it we will build some rustic benches. (The gate opens out, not in).

We’ve planted the arbor with climbing things, champagne grapes and clematis, to create a sort of bower, and we will likely allow some of the self-sown morning glories from last years garden fence to join the cedar climbing competition. Two small, curved, planting beds on either side of the arbor will make it easier to mow around the garden and the japanese quinces that we’ve planted in the corners will give the chickens a place to take cover when the hawks are looking for lunch, rather than in the perennial borders.

Rustic cedar arbor with grapevines

Grapevines have been planted at the base to create a bower.