The Kitchen Garden

31 May




It would be no exaggeration to admit that we bought our house because of the size of the yard.  The average size of a residential lot in the close-in neighborhoods of Portland is around 5000 square feet.  The lot of our last house was only 2000 square feet, which meant that one could do little more outside than just sit and read, or perhaps sit and fantasize about what life would be like with a more spacious yard.  In this miniscule yard I had a very tidy little vegetable garden where I grew tomatoes, herbs, squash, and peppers.  Everything fit into two small raised beds that we built out of lengths of cedar fencing.



Our current house sits on a lot that is over three times as large as that of our last house.  We have space for our kid to run around and play, we have trees, and we, finally, have room for the type of kitchen garden that I’ve always thought would fit wonderfully in a family yard.  Meaning, a vegetable and fruit garden that would sit comfortably and seamlessly in a yard that was also suitable for playing, exploring, and relaxing.  If we can grow cucumbers ten feet from where we can also play baseball, we’re as happy as can be.



Being modest gardeners, we are not the type of people who plan ahead in the spring for autumn canning.  We eat everything that we grow, but we also make an effort to not grow more than we can eat.  We happily harvest and preserve all the garden produce we can, but we are very conscious of not going overboard and growing so much food that we run out of places to store it.  We’re a small family to feed, so we’ve always known that ripping out an entire quarter of our yard for a vegetable garden would make no sense for the way we live.  As time goes on and the play space in our yard evolves, I am sure that our garden will change along with it.

Purple Basil

Genovese Basil

It’s been a cold and sad May this year, and I don’t really know what type of weather June will bring us.  Our garden thus far is hanging on, but certain things are looking a little worse for the wear  That lovely bright green basil that you see in the previous picture from two weeks ago?  Yeah, it now looks like this:

Basil in Distress

To say that I am feeling unhappy about this would woefully understate the intensity of my displeasure.

I am curious about the gardening exploits of other people out there.  Does anybody have great garden plans?  Has your spring been as punishingly cold and wet as ours?  How is your garden faring thus far?

Vegetable Garden

3 Responses to “The Kitchen Garden”

  1. Nancy May 31, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    We have great garden plans!! This will be the year we finally get it together!! This will be the year we grow all our own vegetables!! Freeze pesto, can dilly beans, make apple butter, store squashes – and more!!
    But, realistically, some of my basil looks worse than yours. The red leaf variety is especially shell-shocked looking and tiny. The largest things out there are the mole/vole tunnels. The sunflowers, grown in the garden room from seed but put out 2-3 weeks ago, are about the only plants that are growing happily.
    Without statistics to back me up, I still think it’s a better growing season start-up than last year. I certainly hope so!!

    • savorysaltysweet June 1, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      Nancy–yours is a garden to be admired. I was almost afraid to show you what happened to the beautiful basil you gave me, but I figured you would understand (what with living through a similarly cold and dreadful spring). Come on, weather! Warm up already!


  1. Vegetable Garden Update, June 9, 2011 « Rosslyn Redux - June 9, 2011

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