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Who loves cooking? How about cooking food you grow in your garden? Get some inspiration on how to design the ultimate cook’s garden in this collaborative post.
Cooking and gardening definitely go hand in hand. Fresh, homegrown ingredients are always so much tastier and satisfying that their shop bought equivalents. Plus you know exactly where all your produce is coming from and how it has been grown.
While you might not be quite ready to go full-scale self-sufficient smallholding just yet, your garden is the perfect place for you to experiment with new ingredients and to cook with them too. In spite of all the technology we have in the kitchen, the wood fire is still ideal for bringing a smoky flavor and warmth to your food.
So what makes up the ultimate cook’s garden?
The Rise of the Outdoor Kitchen
Image Credit: Stock Snap
As we get more adventurous with our cooking and want to make the most of the weather, more people are looking into installing an outdoor kitchen to make entertaining easy and fun. With a sink, grill and plenty of workspace, you will have everything you need to enjoy the sun with your friends and host a spectacular party. And, if you add an outdoor bar, you can have even more fun!
The design for your outdoor kitchen largely depends on the type of space you have. A galley style kitchen could work if you have a slightly awkward corner, but in most cases, an L-shape will be best. This way, you can tuck all the hot things against a wall. You will still have a decent area to lay out your goodies and sit and chat.
Also think carefully about the materials you choose to use. You will need to make sure that you have waterproofing where necessary as well as some shady areas to cool off in. Tiles are often a good choice as they are durable and will clean well without becoming slippery or too hot in the sun. There are lots of hardscaping materials to choose from so take your time and think about how each will work with a connection to the inside as well as the rest of your garden.
How Best to Plant Edibles?
There are two ways to grow edible plants. The first is to use regimented rows of plants, each one exactly the same distance away from the others. Then thin out the seedlings, leaving only the healthiest plants. The second way is much more free and easy, planting out seedlings where there is room and companion planting each space to make the most of your soil.
When you have a small garden and want to get as much value as possible all year round, the second method is probably best. Knowing which plants will get along nicely will ensure that you have greenery and color throughout the year. Try incorporating edible flowers into your garden as well as the fruits and veggies you enjoy most to bring more variety to the garden.
Raised beds are ideal for growing veggies and fruits because they will help you to control the moisture of the soil. They also prevent other crops like weeds and grass from encroaching on their space. They are also perfect if you want to be able to access the plants easily and don’t fancy being on your hands and knees all the time. Luckily, raised beds are really easy to build and if you use planks of wood are very cheap too.
Building raised beds of varying sizes around the garden will give your yard a structural element that breaks up the space neatly. You can also rotate your crops each year to make the most of the soil in each. This will also help keep a good balance of nutrients.
Why Herbs are the Best Natural Walls
If you only have a small garden, you need to learn quickly how to make the most of your space. Planting vertically, as well as in raised beds and in the ground is a lot easier than it might sound and is definitely worth the effort. Herbs in particular are quite happy to live in hanging baskets or wall mounted planters.
You could use the wall of your house to start growing some herbs in wall planters. Space them equally so that all the plants have room to grow up and get plenty of light. Go as high as you can reach safely with a ladder. Make sure that you water them regularly through warm weather. The beauty of this method is that you can eat the plants on the bottom layer first. You can then move the planters up and down so that you always have easy access when you’re cooking.
This method also works pretty well inside too with smaller potted plants. A shoe organizer is ideal for holding the plant pots and herbs are quite happy to grow like this too. Whether you are planning to cook with these herbs or use them as a part of your cocktail making adventures, this make a great feature of the wall and brings the outdoors in.
Hanging baskets are a great way to bring height to your garden whatever you put in them. They can be layered up with companion plants too. You can either put posts and brackets around the garden or you can hang baskets from a pergola to provide shade as well.
Herbs are just what you need to add flavor and depth to any dish. Salad leaves are also quite happy to grow this way too. Again, you will need to remember to water the baskets in hot weather. You could use a simple pulley system to bring the baskets down ready for harvesting.
Designing a garden based on your appetite is a smart move. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be too difficult either. The key is to think in terms of all the dimensions you have on offer. If you can grow up, you should, if you want variety then plant a variety. Think with your stomach and the rest will follow. Delicious!
How to Design the Ultimate Cook’s Garden
I don’t know about you but I’m ready to add more edibles to my garden! I recently got a vertical herb planter for our wall but have yet to add herbs to it. What ideas did you get from this post to add to your edible garden? Let me know in the comments section below.
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