The Kitchen Garden

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While I’m on the subject of saving the planet one step at a time, and because summer is warming the horizon of at least one half of the globe, I wanted to blog about gardening and in particular, kitchen gardens.

It is well known that gardens of any type have multiple benefits – attracting the bees critical to the lifecycle of the planet, creating oxygen for us to breathe, providing us with goods to uplift the spirit and body, and providing a repository for our food waste, to be incorporated back into the earth’s cycle again.

boxed garden

Boxed Garden

Here at Design Eye Candy we especially love a good kitchen garden. We’re lucky enough to have a good 8m2 of veggie patch space and a big composting bin for veggie and fruit scraps. There are decks for container gardening – herbs, especially. Being the bower bird that I am, I am bringing home found items such as wooden crates once used to package large plant pots, hoping to one day convert them into handmade greenhouses for lettuces, spinach, and more fragile items.

wine box veggies

Upcycled Vintage Garden

Those of you who grow your own veggies know there’s nothing quite like the feeling of rummaging around in your garden on any given summer’s day, pulling sun-warmed tomatoes from the vine (oh, the scent!), picking lemons for your greek salad or gin and tonic, snipping mint and parsley for your tabbouleh or green smoothie. An over abundance of goods connects us to our immediate community, too – handfuls of courgettes passed to neighbours in thanks for lawn mowing, cut lavender and rosemary wraped in brown twine left on a doorstep.

Not everyone has space for a veggie patch – but can do much with some plant pots on a balcony or even a window sill. I grow microgreens in cleaned tuna tins with holes punched in the bottom, and baby spinach in used grape punnet containers, on my kitchen counter under the conservatory-style windows. Watching them sprout up in short days is a miracle and the ease with which they grow, and the money saved, is so worthwhile. I make sure my gardening is all organic, too – not even snail pellets grace my veggie patch – crushed eggshell ridding the area of snails and slugs, instead.

If I had the get-up-and-go to build something, I would take the discarded pallets I see everywhere and use them to build raised beds for my veggies. One day..

Below are some links to great articles on easy gardening:

25 Foods You Can Re-Grow Yourself from Kitchen Scraps

http://creeksidelearning.com/container-garden-vegetables-2/

http://www.hometalk.com/3400506/5-best-container-vegetables-for-beginning-gardeners

(*note all photos from Pinterest)

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Dreaming up a Landscape

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I’m about to put the house that I’ve been living in for over eight years, my very first house purchase, on the market.  We’re swinging in to winter here and unfortunately, the property market is sinking like a cold soufflé.  However, a buyers market is a sellers market and although I may not get as much for my home as I would have a half a year ago, hopefully I’ll find the right house for less money than I’d have spent then, too.

I’ve chosen a realtor and she has advised I scrub the place up before putting her on the market.  It’s funny what you get used to living with – cracked hallway tiles, a slight sink in the floor where the back door opens and drips water onto the bare chipboard floor… a broken bottom deck step, slightly unruly garden, and 1980’s kitchen and bathroomware throughout.

I’m incredibly excited about the process, however, and have been grazing google to find landscaping photos to match what I have in my head for a little pathway down from the back deck to the lower garden.  I had no idea there were so many beautiful, quirky, and stylised pathways out there!  It’s hard to choose from the beautiful garden creations out there.

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Given that my house style is townhouse modern, and the garden is a mixture of palms, yucca, and cabbage trees (with a good few rows of hardy agapanthis in the mix), what I want for my garden path is slate grey pavers with white crushed shell or possible white scoria surrounding the pavers, dropping in deep, wide steps to the lower garden.  I’m really liking the combination of the grey with the white, especially as the low retaining wall I’ll have built will be stained black.

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The area next to the new pathway will be filled with topsoil and black bark laid down.  It is currently populated with a handful of lovely, hardy cabbage trees which sprung up out of nowhere, and the palms and yuccas I determinedly planted out last summer amongst the arm-widthed roots of the 4 story glorious but dying magnolia grandiflora I cut down a few years ago. Other areas of the garden have river stone and lavender, and tall “dizzy lizzie” bushes. Hopefully it will all fit together!  I’m new to this design + styling thing so I can only hope my hundreds of long lazy days spent reading through architecture and garden magazines will pay off!

Will have to make sure I post before and after photos when it’s ready!!