Kitchen Gardens

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Heard On Garden Talk
Kitchen Garden
Rhonda Fleming Hayes CC-BY-ND

Kitchen gardens have been around for hundreds of years. We talk about how to plant and design one that will fit your needs. From a salad lover’s garden, to a cook’s garden, to a children’s garden.

Do you have a kitchen garden – how is yours designed? We want to hear about it. Call 1-800-642-1234 to be part of the conversation. Or email

Featured in this Show

  • It's Never Too Early To Start Planning Your Kitchen Garden

    When you hear the phrase “kitchen garden,” you may think of the potted basil, rosemary and cilantro that you keep on the counter all winter long.

    But a kitchen garden isn’t actually in your kitchen — and it’s also not a run-of-the-mill vegetable garden. You might think of it as a smaller, more decorative vegetable garden.

    “One of the wonderful things about having a garden is it’s always this wonderful blank canvas for ideas,” Ellen Ecker Ogden told WPR’s “The Larry Meiller Show” last week.

    Ogden is the author of “The Complete Kitchen Design Book” and an art student-turned-gardener.

    Ogden’s book features over a dozen different kitchen garden designs for readers to peruse, including a salad lover’s garden, a chef’s garden, a children’s garden, a culinary herb garden and even an edible flower garden.

    “I hope people use my book more like a recipe book, in that you look at a design, and you like certain elements, but then maybe you turn the page and you see another design, and you kind of like that (as well). It’s just a mix and match thing,” Ogden said.

    You might think it’s too early to start planning a garden, but Ogden’s attitude is that it can never be too early.

    Planning your spring garden “really starts now. It really could’ve started at the end of the garden season,” she said.

    Here are some of Ogden’s tips for creating a beautiful kitchen garden (or an extraordinary vegetables garden) of your own:


    All gardeners are subject to the allure of a crisp, new seed catalogue.

    “I have seeds from years and years and years (ago) I haven’t even opened because I haven’t figured out where they’re gonna go,” Ogden said.

    But if you want your garden to be more than just the same old rectangle with rows of plants, you have to make a plan before you crack open the seed catalogue or head to the local garden center.

    “You don’ have to get fancy. You don’t need some special landscape design class,” Ogden said.

    All you need is some graph paper, a pencil, a ruler and a measuring tape to be sure you know the dimensions you’re working with. Then just doodle. You might be surprised with the ideas you come up with, Ogden said.

    Follow The 80-20 Rule

    When Ogden is planning her garden, she likes to choose about 80 percent tried-and-true plants: veggies and herbs she knows and loves, and has been growing and eating for years.

    The other 20 percent is for experimentation: things you’ve always wanted to try growing, or even better, things you’ve never even dreamed of growing. That’s how Ogden started growing artichokes, now one of her seasonal favorites.

    The Rarer The Better

    Can’t find it at the grocery store? Good. Grow it.

    “When you’re growing food, why are you going to be growing the same thing that you can buy in the grocery store? Instead of regular green beans, (grow) those wonderful French haricots verts. Or instead of just a green leaf lettuce, how about some French endive or chicories?” Ogden said.

    Ogden will be speaking at the Garden Visions conference Saturday, Jan. 20.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Jill Nadeau Producer
  • Ellen Ecker Ogden Guest

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