…until the last frost! We’re coming down the homestretch to spring, to digging in the dirt, to sowing seeds. But we’re not there yet so, as I mentioned in a previous post, I’m still depending on CBC Radio to keep me sane until the snow melts, and, specifically, this morning, it was a Spark interview that I enjoyed with my morning coffee – an interview with Ingrid Fetell and her research into the “aesthetics of joy”.

I felt she made a convincing case for the importance of designing for joy but it’s probably because I already believe that we need more joyful spaces – more places that lighten our mood, make us smile, engage our hearts. It’s why I designed my kitchen garden the way I did.

Believe it or not, but I’ve gotten flack for my kitchen garden. I’ve been told it’s not efficient, it doesn’t make the best use of the space, and some parts are too tight to work easily in. These things are all true, to a certain extent, but only if the goal of my kitchen garden is to produce the most amount of food in the allotted space with the least amount of effort.

Hear that sound? That was the sound of joy being sucked out of my garden!

That’s not my goal for my kitchen garden. My goal always has been for it to bring me joy - in the looking at, the working in, and the eating of.

I designed the garden with raised beds because I like tidy edges; with bamboo trellises because I like the feeling of walls; and with lots of flowers…because I like flowers. These things also allow me to control the type of soil I use, provide support for tomatoes and climbing vines, and attract pollinators, but that, to me, is secondary to the joy it brings me to see these elements.

I decided to lay down gravel for the paths – I love the crunchy sound it makes when I walk on it and raking it smooth reminds me of those Japanese sand gardens. Okay, so it’s an inexpensive and easy to lay surfacing material – that’s so not the point.

I plant things we love to eat fresh – peas, radishes, tomatoes, lettuces, beans. These are almost all consumed during the course of the growing season because to me, the flavor of food harvested right from the garden, sometimes still warm from the sun, brings me intense joy. Frozen beans eaten in the dead of winter don’t always produce that same intense sensation – although the Romano bean I grew last year tasted better after being frozen, which was a joyful discovery (Ingrid talks about surprise being one of the elements in creating joy).

And the other thing that gives me joy in my kitchen garden, when the snow is white and thick on the ground, is the designing of it. Below, is this year’s plan for the garden. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

2011 Kitchen Garden Plan; click on plan for a larger image

2011 Kitchen Garden Plan

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Posted Friday, April 22nd, 2011 at 8:17 am
Filed Under Category: Design, Planning, Random Thoughts
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Responses to “16 Days…”

greg

This is perfect. Specially for an urban garden not cranking out carrots for the local farmers market. I like the crunch too ;)

Cindy Black

Looks great! I love cutting the corners out of the boxes – it’s very Roman. I’m thinking in particular of a few piazzas that form great space by cutting away from the otherwise boxy building plans. I think you’ll enjoy standing in the midst of the garden and enjoying the bounty – that’s the idea, right?
What does a cumin plant look like? I guess you wait for it to go to seed and collect the pods for grinding? I need some of those around my pepper plants!

Kirsten

Thanks, Cindy!

Yes, cutting the corners makes more space for appreciating the garden while being within it and strengthens the axis points.

As for the cumin, I’m not sure what it’s going to look like. As per my rules, this is my “new plant to try” this year – I’m looking for a plant to replace my love affair with fava beans which are too big to grow in our tiny space.

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