Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Kitchen Garden

I was lucky enough to stay at an incredible home on the Eastern Shore for the past few days, and among the highlights was my visit to the estate's kitchen garden, cared for by the delightful and very capable Hope, shown here with some fresh red onions.

She spent a lot of time with me on Thursday, telling me about the organic growing strategies they have incorporated into the garden, including pest management via chickens, composting everything and using rainwater and runoff to water the gardens. The garden produces an incredible amount of food, much of which is canned or frozen for the winter.

Veggies range from A to Z, with artichokes and zucchinis abounding.
There is also a selection of herbs, including parsleys, sage, rosemary and thyme, as well as cilantro and more. They grow everything from cucumbers to broccoli, to tomatoes to potatoes, rutabagas, peppers, squashes, onions, celery and carrots. Cabbages and lettuces round out the selection. All of the veggies are in raised beds, which makes care and harvesting so much easier.

I took more than 200 pictures in four days, with many of them of gardens and the beautiful harvest Hope had brought for me to take home to Baltimore to share with my mother.

I call this picture Still Life with Papertowels.

Celery, something I've never seen growing before:

Chard - aren't these the most incredible colours?

One of the most fun things was meeting the tiny little Betsey, a two-week old mallard duck whose egg Hope found. Betsey will be part of the pest management team, eating grubs and worms that harm the plants. She's about six inches long now, but growing like a weed!

There's nothing like fresh vegetables grown by people you know! Thanks Hope!


Cote de Texas said...

I've never seen chard like that. gorgeous.

Tiffany said...

Hi! My friend Keith passed your blog onto me. Your visit to the estate and garden sounds fantastic. As for that chard, we have it at our farmers markets in DC during the springtime. Some people refer to it as "rainbow chard." It's gorgeous.
I look forward to reading more!

BMoreSweet said...

Your photography is freakin' AWESOME!!!

Fifi Flowers said...

beautiful vegies! yum to that squash and artichoke!

Meghan said...

What an awesome time!

Julie said...

Little Betsy is so cute!! The kitchen garden sounds incredible and Hope sounds like a gem.

Be the change..... said...

You'll eat well this week!

Teal Chic said...

i agree homegrown veggies are the best. nothing like 'em! :)

Pigtown-Design said...

I heard that Hope has read all of this and was very pleased by the comments and loved the pictures.

I am trying to persuade her to do a write-up for us about how to grow artichokes. If she does, I will post it here and Julie will also post it on Kitchenography.