My artichokes are at their prime, but I can’t pick them. Same with the lettuce, the tomatoes and the cucumbers. Hosting a garden tour in the middle of the summer is pure torture. It’s not that I aim for perfection, an impossible feat when it comes to a vegetable garden, but I would like it to look appetizing enough to entice gardeners who come to visit to take home a vision of how beautiful a food garden can look.
Garden tours are an opportunity to see private gardens that are not open to the public. I’ve traveled to see private gardens all over the northeast, and been totally in awe with the variety of landscape material and the personality behind each of the gardens. Yet I’ve often pondered – where are the vegetables growing? If these flower gardeners took half as much time to plant food, they would never need to go to the grocery store. Which is why I decided to open up my small potager for the Garden Conservancy Tour.
When you come to my garden on Saturday, July 23rd, you will not see a perfect garden with manicured lawns, pest and weed free flower beds, and plants filling every gap . You will see an example of a small .24 acre landscape, featuring a carefully planned and neatly maintained yard with flower beds that are still a work in progress, with gaps where the lily beetles and slugs took out plants. You will also view a fine example of a European style potoger garden, featuring a long row of artichokes ( which I will eat tomorrow night) and lettuce ( which I will share with my neighbors), meslcun, mache, rainbow chard, tomatoes, garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, edamame, rhubarb, strawberries, squash and a wide range of culinary herbs, plus several robust cucumber plants all growing in a 400 square foot space.
An edible garden can easily rival a flower border hands-down. When you visit my kitchen garden, I hope it will inspire you to take a fresh look at your own garden, with an eye towards growing beautiful food.