Farm-to-table restaurants? Yes. Home garden to plate? Still working on it. We joined Edible Garden LA‘s Lauri Kranz for a home gardening workshop at Jenni Kayne’s gorgeous Brentwood Country Mart location during the summer a year or two back – Lauri’s advice is just what we need now!
Lauri builds gorgeous gardens for homes and businesses looking to grow their own food in a beautiful way (drool over a few of them here!). Here in the city – for the most part – that means raised bed and planters. Acquiring clean organic soil is key when it comes to growing plants you’ll actually be eating. Here are a few notes from Lauri on growing an edible garden at home…
During our workshop, we talked about the importance of connecting with where our food comes from and the rewards of spending time in the garden. Gardening is a practice, like yoga or meditation and the rewards of gardening can both be seen and felt.
The three most important considerations when planning a garden: Sun, Soil and Water.
A Sunny Spot: First, find the area of your outdoor space that receives the most hours of sun per day, five or more hours is best. For some of us, this is the entryway to our apartment or a sunny balcony and for others it is a part of our yard.
Rise Up: Make sure the soil is fertile by using raised beds or pots and filling them with good, organic soil (I like Edna’s Best brand) or by amending the existing soil if you are planting directly in the ground. Beds must be at least 18″ high and no wider than 4′ across. Never use treated woods for your beds with edible plants. Untreated cedar or redwood are both great choices.
Be aware of gophers when you are setting up your garden. If you have them you need gopher wire.
Just Right: Water plants regularly remembering that too much or too little water can both harm a garden. Putting a finger in the soil and feeling if it is dry or moist is an easy and effective way to determine if your plants need water. As for a watering system, many thin drip lines are better then just a few large lines. Your garden needs its own timer and valve.
Don’t feel that you need to know “everything” there is to know about gardening before starting a garden (none of us ever will). The garden is a great teacher and we learn as we go.
On seeds: I recommend planting almost everything from seed. Now we are planting tomatoes, melons, strawberries, zucchini in California. In October, we’ll plant leafy greens and root veggies because of the warmth. If you overplant your seeds, simply pluck young plants out as they appear on the surface. When planting small seeds take the side of you wrist and rock it back and forth.
How to Plant an Kitchen Herb Garden
two: Use organic soil See Lauri’s notes on soil choice above!
three: choose your herbs Purchase an array of herbs you love to cook with that are already grown and ready from a nursery. Basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme are all good choices. If planting mint, please keep in mind that mint needs it’s own pot and should not be planted in the ground as it is invasive. When pulling plants from plastic cups, do not pull the plant out, let it fall. When planting the herbs into the soil, do not press down too firmly as it will cause too much water to leak from the planter.
Four: Find a home A warm windowsill is just right for a small planter of herbs. Place and enjoy! Keep kitchen scissors and a mortar and pestle on hand for instant use!