A Kitchen Garden Oasis
- September 3rd, 2019
- in Lifestyle
Cooking for friends and family is one of the most nurturing things we can do. This is a universal pleasure, but spending time preparing food in the BVI has the added joy of having fabulous views to enjoy as well and wonderful fruits and vegetables. Growing your own herbs and ingredients is enormously satisfying as well as healthy!
In five simple steps, a beautiful kitchen garden can be yours:
- Find a space or area outside your home and roughly outline the dimensions.
- Make a shortlist of the plants you would love to grow.
- Visit your local nursery to source the seeds and tools you will need
- Enlist some help from family members to help to set up your bespoke garden and plant the seeds.
- Tend to them regularly and eagerly await the sprouts of the tasty seasoning and fruits that will soon bear.
The process of starting your own kitchen garden is simple. Lay the groundwork by taking a fresh look at what space you have available for plating. Walk around your property and find the best spot, think about a combination of sunlight, the quality of the soil, proximity to and visibility from your kitchen and living space. The location of your garden in relation to the entrance of your property and the view from your living areas are key as being within sight will encourage you to keep an eye on its progress and not neglect it. If you don’t have a great deal of space think about using some planters on a porch or deck.
Think about what you would like to grow. If you don’t have a great deal of time, focus on plants that don’t need a great deal of attention. Tomatoes and lettuces need water but otherwise are quite hardy, beans and aubergines need gentler handling. The choice is vast and can include courgettes (zucchini), peppers, corn, cucumbers, eggplants and melons. If space is limited, herbs like basil, mint and cilantro grow well in pots. Take time to reflect on what exactly you want from your handcrafted harvest in the next few weeks, months or years down the line. Another key consideration is our tropical climate and which plants can expect to thrive in typical weather conditions. This reflection allows the chance to budget for the seeds, samplings and mature plants you will purchase. While it is undoubtedly a therapeutic activity, gardening requires some attention and planning but the results are undoubtedly rewarding.
After you have mapped the size and location of your garden and identified what plants you would like to try, make a trip to your local plant nursery gardening supply store. Share your thoughts with the team and ask for their help and input. They can definitely help with the finer details of which tools and supplies you will need to bring a healthy diversity to your garden. Start small and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Set aside a Saturday to clear out the plot and prep it for your seeds and saplings. Listen closely to the advice your gardening professional/ landscaper gives with regards to ease of use about tools and soil. It may be that you will need to add topsoil to your allocated area. Use your shovel and digging fork to prepare the ground for planting. Allow for the recommended space between seeds you have so they have room to grow without competing with one another. After you’ve done this initial planting, water them generously but avoid soaking them too much. Water directly to the root of plants and on top of seeds.
Once you find yourself tending young shoots you may consider creating a compost heap to support them. This is a great way to limit your household waste and to give nutrients to your young plants. Finally, clean up the whole area, removing any clutter so that your plot has space to breathe and remain aesthetically pleasing.
Gardening is an act of love. Love for the plants themselves and for those that that will then eat your fresh crops. As you go, know that you will be learning the whole time. Make an effort to note what you can improve on for the next time. Pop into the nursery when you’re passing to get more seeds so you can replenish as you grow. Most importantly, however, relax on the porch and enjoy the wait for your harvest.