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Garden Warfare

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As you know here at Kitchen Warfare we’re a big believer in quality ingredients and there just isn’t anything fresher, tastier and healthier than what you can grow in your own garden.

Or as our indigenous rural neighbors say, ‘Food for the Table’.

You may not think you have the space to make growing your own food worthwhile and while more is definitely better you don’t need a lot of space to get something you can use and really appreciate. Even on a window sill or apartment balcony you can generally grow a few herbs, spices or tomatoes that I guarantee will take your food up a notch. One easy to grow basil plant would make a BIG difference in every dish that called for it.

Additionally many herbs can be grown indoors just like any other house plant except you can eat them. And what if you forget to water and care for them and they wither and die? You still get to eat them.

Like many folks we started by finding a spot in the yard for a few tomatoes and over the years this has turned into a respectable 2500 sq feet of vegetables, fruits and herbs.

Some things we grow because they just taste better and some things we grow because they taste better AND cost a lot less. Potatoes for example are only a few dollars for 10 pounds even in the grocery so we grow these strictly for the better quality and control. But on the other hand Red Bell peppers can cost as much as a few dollars each in grocery stores so the 100 or so of those we’ll get for near zero cost and only moderate effort are a real value.

Tip: One of the great things about growing peppers is that they freeze really well. Its recommended that you slice them in half so you know for sure that the pepper you’re freezing is healthy inside and bug free.

And last but maybe most importantly one of the best things about growing your own food is that ‘you know where it’s been’. Since quality is our top priority we don’t use chemical fertilizers or pesticides (speaking of cost check out the prices of organic vegetables). Since we’re not a commercial operation we don’t have to maximize our yield for profit so if we lose a few to keep the rest of the crop pesticide free we’re still way ahead of the game. Bugs really aren’t too big of a problem on our land but we do have a lot of deer and other thieving critters so we grow a lot to make up for the occasional loss and we share the usual excess with our friends and neighbors many of whom are at the same time sharing the food from their gardens with us.

So far here’s what makes up our garden for 2007 – onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, cayenne pepper, green bell peppers, yellow-> red bell peppers, jalapenos, pumpkins, corn, watermelons, cantaloupe (muskmelon), basil, sage, oregano, parsley and chives and 1 cucumber (by accident).

Admittedly a larger garden like ours can take a bit of work and a certain amount of dedication but like most people we started small (3 tomatoes) and over the years as we gained more land and more experience we’ve added stuff we felt would be worth the time and effort.

Right now is the time of year to get started in most parts of the U.S. Find a thing or two you like and get it in the ground or pot and in a few months you’ll have some great ‘Food for the Table’.

Here are a few useful links:

Watch Your Garden Grow – University of Illinois Extension

Growing Herbs in the Home Garden (indoor also) – University of WV

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5 Comments »

  • Georgine Loveland said:

    I live in an older condo in So. California that has a courtyard and a patio. There is a lemon tree (heavy bearer) and an orange tree that is yet to bear fruit. I grow all kinds of herbs in pots and tomatoes and some veggies in the ground, as well as roses, geraniums, marigolds, etc. Also grow herbs on large kitchen windowsill. So many ‘groceries’ can be grown in large and small containers. With our commercial food quality and sources at risk, growing even a few plants, such as the basil you mentioned is so rewarding, and usually leads to more variety and better health. Thank you for encouraging everyone to give it a try!

  • Hot! Hot! Hot! Red Beans And Sausage said:

    […] I made this with cayenne from our garden, it tends to be a lot hotter than the stuff you get in the store. […]

  • Ain't No Cure For The Summertime Blues(berry Cobbler) said:

    […] acres to mow and our large garden getting started it seems we have a lot less time to spend in the kitchen this time of year. So to […]

  • Tarps said:

    I agree with what you have to say…..

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