Green your kitchen for earth day….

by grainnep

I have reposted this in honour of earth day 2012.. Every little helps so here is how to make your kitchen a little greener..

At this time of year my world is starting to revolve around my garden, getting it ready for summer and planning my herbs and veggies for the coming months. The Irish weather can always be a challenge but I’m really optimistic this year that it is going to be a gorgous summer and that I will be eating my garden produce sitting on one of my chairs enjoying the balmy evening and the smell of the barbq! (I choose to live in hope!)

I am on my third year of my raised vegetable bed, only a small one but I love the satisfaction of growing our own herbs and some veggies. I always use www.quickcrop.ie for seedlings as they arrive already 4 weeks old so the hard initial work is done for me and these is less danger of me killing them as they are a bit hardier than if I was trying to raise the seedlings myself.

This is what I have planned for my crop this year and Im looking forward to pitch battles against the snails and slugs, come May.

Broad Beans
Broad beans grow best in a sunny situation sheltered from winds and enjoy rich, moisture retentive, well-drained soil.

Kale – my favourite variety by far is Cavolo Nero and apparently the only kale grown in Italy, simply because it is by far the best tasting kale. It is amazing in a stir fry with excellent taste and strong dark green colour or my favourite Kale Chips. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse with powerful antioxidant properties and is also anti-inflammatory.
Not only is Kale a tasty vegetable with a long cropping season but it is a very attractive vegetable as well.

French beans
French beans are sometimes called dwarf beans, and many people prefer them to the coarser runner beans. I love them because they are easy to grow and do not need staking and can withstand dry conditions perhaps better than any other crop so if I forget to water the odd evening I wont have a shrivelled pod.

Salad Mixes
The quickcrop lettuce mix contains a broad range of easy to grow lettuce, ideal for cut and come again use so I’m going to have a great supply all summer. These are always the slugs and smails favourites so I might just have to sacrifice some of Dom’s imported beer to entice them away from the leaves.

Peas
Peas are well-suited to cooler temperate climates- sadly this means they are perfect for growing in Ireland and explains why I had such a good crop last year.

Spring Onions
Spring onions tend are very easy to grow and are delicious in salads, thai cooking, yummy in fish cakes … the list is endless.

Fennel and Chillies
I love fennel so much it will be interesting to see if I can have some success with this in the garden and just to really test my green fingers (not) I’m hoping my kitchen sill gets enough sun since I’m also going to try out some fiery ‘prarie fire’ chillies.

What are you growing this year?