A New England Kitchen Garden Tour

It felt like winter would never end this year – below are our first blooms back in April to give you an idea of what we were dealing with.


But now, we have an explosion of color, and with the late snows and constant rain, it is gorgeously green.  In the last month most of our free time has been spent in our gardens.  I grew up with two grandmothers who were amazing gardeners.  One in particular would can and deep freeze the produce and herbs from her vegetable garden to last all winter, and had a flower garden that I used \to play ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ since the plants were so tall they looked supernatural.  No mean feat, considering I grew up in Colorado where the growing season is approximately fifteen minutes long.  I’ll admit, though, I didn’t help out much at the time, and really missed out on gaining that sweet grandma gardening knowledge, which I regret.  We had a container garden on our rooftop back in Boston that grew to impressive proportions over the years, but one of the best things about moving here was being able to be so productive outside.


We have a LOT of gardens.  We have flowerbeds on one side of the house, rows of vegetables in one of our pastures, shade gardens under trees, irises around our pond, a deer proof (but sadly not chipmunk-proof) fenced garden near our barn, flower beds that lead to the front of the house, and my favorite, our kitchen garden.


Our kitchen garden, like much of our property, looks best when it’s a bit untamed.  So while we have raised beds of peas, arugula, radishes, celery, herbs and tomatoes that we keep as pristine as possible, we also have flowers and greenery in the paths around the beds and on the perimeter, and opposite the raised beds is a garden with roses, hydrangea, poppies, flowering oregano, creeping thyme, and more.


Last year we replaced the rotting cedar fence with an identical beautiful new cedar fence, and it’s finally starting to age and turn that signature cedar silver.  Classic New England!


So many birds come to help us get rid of bugs …


The flowering pea has been killing it this year – it practically glows it’s so purple.


Ugh, SHUT UP, poppy!  You are too beautiful.  Why can’t you last longer you gorgeous thing?


We’ve already been eating the radishes.  They’re about 30 days from seed to mouth, and love the colder spring weather.  The trick is to eat a few every day, so you don’t end up with 50 radishes to harvest and eat all at once.


The tomatoes have already started flowering after only two weeks in the ground.  We find the best way to make them thrive is to cut off the lower leaves and plant them as deep as possible.  We dug these almost a foot down before planting.


We built this trellis for the peas, using sticks from our forest and simple jute twine.  They have already started to climb up nicely.  You’ll note that one side is much more full than the other!  We put in drip irrigation this year, and while they were doing it I saw that a number of the peas we’d planted had been eaten through by something.  Strange that whatever worm it was only went to one row …


Here you can see our well, which is in the flower side of the kitchen garden.  This is one of the original wells for the house and is currently our only source of water on the property.


Next to the flower garden we have a stone terrace.  The ferns grow here all year, shaded by the house, as does the creeping thyme, which is useful for cooking and also makes the patio smell incredible.


Our roses are only now starting to come out.  Some are quite old, but most are on the newer side – we lost a couple during a repair of our well last year and had to replace them.  Can’t wait to post more photos of them as the weather gets warmer and they open up.


And in case you were wondering what it looks like to garden with a two year old in 40 degree weather in a New England Spring, let this picture satisfy your curiosity …