Small gardens, container gardens, and pots in sunny windows
can be as imaginative and gratifying as larger plots.
Since we have a small kitchen garden, my daughter Juliana
experiences the earth, not only the supermarket, as the
source of her food. She learned the hard way that sweet
lettuce and bitter radicchio look similar in the garden
but don't taste the same in her sandwich. The garden stimulates
her senses with colors, smells, textures, flavors and
sounds. Astonishing changes happen from day to day; last
night pole bean seedlings were chewed to within millimeters
of their lives by earwigs, chard sprouts pushed up through
the soil, and dainty white flowers gave way to tiny green
strawberries. Every day there is something new to taste
or smell or study. A garden provides children lessons
on the cycle of seasons, patience while seeds sprout,
and quiet observation when a butterfly visits.
Here are a few things
to keep in mind when starting your kitchen garden.
The satisfaction of growing even a bit of food is enormous.
Last week we had a salad of our peas, our baby artichokes,
our fennel and the zest and juice from our Meyer lemons.
It was the most delicious salad ever, if only because
we grew it. After appearing indifferent to the tomato
seeds we planted last summer, Juliana checked on them
regularly, gauging the plants' growth and finally picking
the tomatoes, telling anyone who would listen, “Aren't
these good? I grew these!”