The Beginnings of a Kitchen Garden
While we've been spending most of our evenings outdoors, eating at the table on our patio, a long overdue project has taken on more urgency. Since our local grocery store has not been open since the pandemic started, our sources for shopping have been further away than a "quick run out" to grab dinner ingredients. Jeffrey and I started talking about a kitchen garden three years ago and now seems the right time to move forward. This past week we've been planning the location and layout. I've always loved the idea of looking out of a kitchen window and seeing a vegetable garden. I would imagine it helps to inspire more frequent cooking, which is something that has to happen out here. Since we live quite far from an organic salad bar and the things I've become accustomed to when I'm in California, we have high hopes for creating more fresh meals in the near future. Here's a little sneak peek...
When I started planning out the location of the kitchen garden, I had the perfect area in mind. This section of the garden isn't really used for anything and is very visible from the kitchen and two bedrooms. It's partially outlined for us with an old slate wall and there's some nice shade in the morning and late afternoon. To get my vision on paper, Jeffrey and I started watching gardening shows and Youtube videos. I began sketching drawings of what I imagined the garden would look like with a variety of raised beds in different sizes. Then Jeffrey and I mapped out the designated area with blue tape to get more accurate dimensions and a better sense of scale.
The first kitchen garden Jeffrey and I created was in the spring at our home in Santa Barbara. I really enjoyed that process and it inspired me to create one here in a larger format since we have more space. I've also been reading through The New Homesteader for guidance. It's a great resource that specifically addresses how to design a self-sustaining home garden, plan your plots and choose vegetable and fruit crops. I will definitely be referencing it as we move along in our process.
When it comes to choosing crops, we'd like to plant the things we eat most frequently... salad greens, tomatoes, potatoes, onion, garlic, herbs like cilantro and basil, beans, cucumbers, and a variety of fruits. It was amazing to pick blueberries from a local farmer the other week and have them still be going strong in the fridge almost three weeks later! It just shows you how much better it is for you in so many ways to pick right from the ground.
The biggest challenge right now is getting these 10 foot cedar posts into the ground for the deer fencing. Jeffrey is going to have some back breaking work to do and it's especially hot and humid at the moment. We then need to figure out how to make the fencing not just deer proof, but rodent and whatever-else proof...we have lots of everything around here.
Our property out here is filled with so much potential, the opportunities are endless. We have this old farm stand nestled in the trees along the side of the road and it's fun to imagine what it must have been like decades ago when it was up and running. I would love to clean it up and get it in working order one day. It would be a dream to be able to grow our own food and do a produce exchange or put it to good use in some way that benefits the community. This is all part of our mission to steward this farm through to the next owners and maintain its historical integrity.
I've been thinking a lot out here about the word connected. Since we feel less connected these days to so many things in our lives, I realize that there are many ways to look at this adjective. The definition of connection is "brought together or into contact so that a real or notional link is established". We are all longing for that close contact connection with our community... I can't wait to sit in a pub rubbing shoulders with people again and get on a packed plane to London to see my friends. But there are other pillars of connection that have brought health and wellbeing to communities around the world for centuries:
Connection to nature
Connection to the elements and seasons
Connection to the land and their food
Connection to self and primal human needs
This time has really been an opportunity to explore more of these facets of "connection" and create something more meaningful for my business, my community, my self.
To follow along on our journey, check out @hudsonvalleyfarm on Instagram.
Sending lots of love,