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This is the first of our kitchen garden series, featuring kitchen gardens that have evolved in my friend’s homes since coming to Stony Ridge Farm and beginning this homesteading enterprise.
Kat’s Garden ~
Every once in a while you meet someone whose life reverberates around your own. Each of your interests and passions is similar but your approach is different. Sometimes you just have a different timeline for making similar life choices – like building a rural kitchen garden. That’s me and Katherine. We met at a little farm stand I set up a few years back and somehow tomatoes led to friendship. Two years ago, Katherine and her husband spent some time in our market garden, looking at our raised beds and inspecting our caterpillar tunnels.
Since then, they have built a beautiful and productive rural kitchen garden that has enough surplus for Katherine to manage a small farm share program. The kitchen garden is about a quarter acre in size and consists of 4 growing areas protected from wildlife and harsh weather by fencing and caterpillar tunnel structures. She calls this endeavor Kat’s Garden, and I wanted to take a tour and share her design and knowledge of a rural kitchen garden with you.
Meet the Gardener ~
When we met, Katherine was a full-time lawyer for a government agency. She worked from home several days a week but also had a wicked commute into Washington, DC from Harpers Ferry, WV the remaining days of the week. Katherine was interested in a life change. I could relate!
As Katherine developed her plans for her kitchen garden, she had an ace up her sleeve. She is a Master Gardener with the County’s Extention program. She is my go-to resource for pest management. She’s smart like that.
Another way Katherine is smart is that she is committed to her yoga practice and this keeps her nimble in the garden! She’s so committed that she just finished her teacher training program and I am hoping she sets up a weekly class for older gardeners at Stony Ridge Farm! This way I get to work on my flexibility and see more of my friend at the same time! We are beginning with her offering me individual instructions once a week for 30 minutes for my daily sun salutation practice.
Tour the Garden ~
A rural kitchen garden is only as good as it’s fencing and protective structures. Deer, groundhog, and rabbits are shameless in their greedy relationship to the gardener’s hard earned crops. In the pictures below you will see that Katherine protects her garden with both traditional wood fencing as well as wrapping her caterpillar tunnels with green deer fencing in the warm seasons.
These pictures were taken at the end of August, not the prettiest time to visit a kitchen garden in West Virginia as summer crops are burnt out and fall crops have yet to come into their fullness. Another testament to how much trust there is between Katherine and me. Scan through the pictures below and read the attached comments to get a well-rounded tour of Kat’s Garden.
If you have an inkling to build a kitchen garden on your rural property, begin small and with a plan. Beginning with herbs is a good way to ensure early success. There are lots of kits for raised beds and fencing to make the job easy, even if you are single and wanting to take on the task yourself. I built our edible landscaping kitchen garden along the front of our house with just such materials. I also recommend making your own soil mix for the new beds with certified organic compost and coconut coir as the base.
Have questions or want to brag? Please tell us your story in the comments below. Thanks!
Click here to learn more about kitchen gardens generally.
Here’s a piece on suburban kitchen gardens.
And, here’s one on urban kitchen gardens.
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