How does your Kitchen Garden Grow?
We are a nation of garden lovers, charmed by Monty Don and Gardeners’ World in our millions, and now is a key gardening time of year. Traditionally the garden you keep as close as possible to the back door, a kitchen garden is a place to potter and plant your own vegetables, herbs, fruit and edible flowers. And if you’re thinking of selling, estate agents will tell you that a kitchen garden is a major attraction for buyers looking to move to the country in search of the good life.
Plot-to-plate living has a long and illustrious history. In the 17th century, Britain’s great country houses had walled kitchen gardens and grew everything from potatoes to pineapples. Today, celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are passionately urging us to grow as well as cook our own food. And we appear to be listening. Sales of vegetable seeds have overtaken those of flowers.
If you’re inspired to start a kitchen garden, pick the sunniest spot and start with what you like to eat. For those of us not naturally green-fingered, the easiest and most rewarding is a simple salad garden. Lettuces and other greens grow quickly with very little maintenance. If space is limited, grow bags, window boxes and patio fruit trees are ideal. A variety of dwarf fruit trees can be grown in large pots, and will still provide a bumper crop for homemade cherry, apple or plum pies.
The National Trust has properties with very smart kitchen gardens if you want to see how the professionals do it, notably The Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire. Woburn Abbey also offer tours of their four-acre kitchen garden, followed by a hands-on, trowelling session to learn some practical skills. For food fresher than money can buy, it could be time for some spadework.
Michael Graham Estate Agents has some stunning properties with kitchen gardens. View them on the website at www.michaelgraham.co.uk along with more lifestyle blogs like this one or find us on Facebook @MG_Living