27 February 2011

The Kitchen Garden 2011

The sun is out today (see me smile!) and some of the piles of snow that have been hanging around for weeks are finally seeing their demise.  It must be time, and looking at the calendar, indeed, it is!  Time to start some seeds ... the 2011 kitchen garden IS approaching.

I have always loved the concept of a kitchen garden.  By definition from wikipedia:  "The traditional kitchen garden, also known as a potager, is a space separate from the rest of the residential garden - the ornamental plants and lawn areas. ...ideally as close to the kitchen as possible."   Unfortunately, mine is down a flight of stairs, through the family room, and out the back door, but I love it anyway!

I'll go into more detail on the garden itself over time;  it is small, but quite nice and very productive.  But today I started some seeds and wanted to share - the process AND the seeds (yep, freebie, here!)  Keep reading, if you will!

I saved seeds from last year's garden, and utilized them for the most part in my undertaking today.  I've had good luck doing this is the past, so decided to not fix what wasn't broken.  Today I started several types of tomatoes, a few varieties of peppers, two kinds of chives, and tomatillos, my newest favorite crop, with arugula being a close second, and garlic chives, a runner-up.

not an exact science, but it works!
I've been saving empty Dunkin' Donuts coffee cups for a few weeks and decided to use them for the seed pots.  Poked holes in the bottom of each cup with a compass point.  Labelled each cup and put them on a cafeteria type metal tray for easy transport.   Then I ambled out to the garden shed and brought in a bucketful of seed starter mix.  I "sterilized" my starter mix in the microwave for about eight minutes in a plastic container I use for just that purpose, then scooped it into the cups till about 3/4 full. 

I spaced my seeds in the cups (four per variety) and gently pressed them into the "soil" to give them good contact.  I poured water into the bottom of the tray and waited till the water wicked up through the holes - and continued until the top of each "pot" was moist but not wet.  I then put my babies to rest in the sun in the back hallway.  Later that evening I covered them with a towel to keep them out of the draft and provide a little warmth.

And now the hard part - waiting for the sprouts to appear!  I will record how long it takes in my garden journal and continue to seed new varieties over the next few weeks.

Two of my favorite new finds last year were tomatillos and garlic chives.  I made the best tomatillo salsa which I froze in small plastic cups and am still enjoying with chicken, scrambled eggs and more - love, LOVE it!  (will share recipe in a future post)  I also added them, roasted, to my not-yet-famous-but-delish guacamole to rave reviews!

And garlic chives - pretty, thick leaves (different from common chives) with a subtle garlic flavor - enjoyed in salads and dressings, cut up on baked potatoes, in salsas, and more.  Yummy!

I have seeds of both to share.  Shoot me an email and I'll send you some of my seeds - first come, first served!  I'll even send a few of my fav recipes I used them in.  Love to share my garden delights!

Wondering what you are planting this year - always looking for new ideas.  Hope you'll share, too......


  1. That would be a dream for me... Looking forward to more!

  2. Great idea to use the seeds from last year...and the coffee cups!

  3. A kitchen garden is a lot of work but so very satisfying. I can't think of too many things more relaxing to me than walking through the garden in the morning with cup of coffee in hand to see what's new. Can't wait till the weather breaks here!


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