The Kitchen Garden: The Therapeutic Kitchen Garden
This is a month to celebrate the fruits of your labors and discuss The Therapeutic Kitchen Garden. By now you may have spent many a month in the first stages of creating a vegetable garden. You may still feel you have much to do, you may have only just begun to break new ground … yet the important element is that you have begun.
Working in a kitchen garden you have had for some time, beginning to create a new kitchen garden or vegetable plot or planting your first containers with seeds, plantlets and plug plants has many positive sides to it. It is not just about picking crops. It is recognized that gardens and being in nature have a healing and therapeutic effect on people. There are also many Healing Gardens. The Kitchen Garden being one category within this term. Certainly to me this is true.
Golden Beetroot, Pears & Apples
Working with nature in any form of gardening has the capacity to meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of the people. Our technological world has become disassociated with nature in many ways. We move much faster than many elements in nature do. A reconnection is made when we tend to our vegetables and fruit, till the soil, create compost heaps, notice the insects …. Whether friends or foe. When we spend time in the outdoors we hear bird song, notice the breeze, feel rain on our faces and soak up the sunlight. If you have a community plot you will make new friends, talk about potatoes, tomatoes and beans. If you have a family you will have the opportunity to teach your children one of the most important gifts of life … connecting with the earth along with where their food and nourishment come from. You will also be able to share the joys of growing peas, beans, pumpkins and squash with them. To name a few. All favorites for children to grow.
May be you are considering working with others to create a community Kitchen Garden as a therapeutic space. In this case it could be in a variety of settings such as; Hospital or clinic grounds, a hospice, a community center or village hall, nursing home, prison or rehabilitation setting, assisted living, psychiatric hospitals, vocational school religious institution or other faith based setting . Or it may be a rough piece of land which is part of a housing estate. The potential setting is unlimited.
Perhaps you had not considered becoming involved in a community Kitchen Garden and now you have new thoughts in your mind. Sowing new seeds.
Carrot & Courgette
And so the gardening
Harvesting: Courgette, cucumber, summer squash, mini gourds, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, chili peppers, aubergine, remaining summer beans; French bush beans , climbing, runner beans, pea and other variety beans, late peas. Sweet corn, lettuce, spinach, chard, rocket, coriander and all green leaf. Main crop and sweet potatoes, leeks, summer cabbages, beetroot, carrots, and roots. Radish and kohl rabi. Beginning to harvest winter squash and pumpkin.
Picking: Pears, raspberries, blueberries, late season plums and damson, apples, grape.Of course this will depend upon where in the world you are and what crops you have grown.
Just time to plant out plantlets/plug plants before the autumn closes in: Lettuce, sprouting broccoli, spring greens, oriental vegetables, winter cauliflowers, kale's, black cabbage ( looks like black kale) , rocket, kohlrabi, parsley, winter purslane, corn salad, land cress, cabbages, calibrese, swiss chard, perpetual spinach, mustard's.
Plant bunching onions, onion sets and garlic. Or next month.
Sowing Seed: Perpetual spinach, swiss chard, winter radish, winter lettuce, corn salad, rocket, spring onion, oriental leaf such as mizuna, mibuna, komatsuna.
Cherry Tomatoes , Mini Sweetcorn & Summer Squash
Fruit Bushes & Trees:
Plant new fruit bushes such as blueberry, cranberry, raspberry, gooseberry, blackberry, loganberry, tayberry, boysenberries, red/white/blackcurrants. Separate strawberry runners to plant out or plantlets you have established from the strawberry runners.
Plant new container grown trees such as fig, peaches, nectarines, apples, plum, pear, mulberry and damson. Or wait until the bare-root season from October to arrive.
Enjoy the fruits of your labors … I certainly am.
Laara Copley-Smith is a professional Garden Designer based in the UK with a passion for Kitchen Gardens and growing organically. Laara has been a vegan for over ten years, is a raw foodist and is a keen photographer. Laara offers an extensive range of bespoke design services and creative consultancy and can be contacted here.
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