Kitchen Gardens as Promising Cure for Eating Disorders – Alert the Media!


Sure, I tried growing vegetables in my front yard last year and switched to ornamentals before you could say “July,” but it was a bad idea from the start.  Maybe Ros Creasy can create front-yard veg gardens worthy of book covers, but there was no way I was going to achieve that in my first attempt or probably ever.  Plus, in my Zone 7,  I’d be looking at bare ground from November til April.  Not gonna happen on my watch.

Another option was the sunny, open back yard, the one adjacent to the wooded valley below that’s home to so many critters – so a nonstarter.  And there’s the design problem again – how to incorporate food into an all-ornamental setting.

So the obvious solution (in helpful hindsight) was to use containers on the sunny deck – just off the kitchen, a site that’s not on public display or part of a grand view from the deck.  It’s where I LIVE in the summer, so noticing every plant every day just happens.  Watching a squash flower slowly morph into an actual vegetable?  Never happened before in my lifetime.  Plucking perfect cherry tomatoes from the vine into my mouth?  Ditto.  Cherishing weird-looking cucumbers because I watched them grow?  Ditto.

But best of all is a grow-your-own benefit that’s seldom mentioned by the media, IMG_6057obsessed as they are with recession-era “victory gardens” –  a decidedly healthier reaction to healthy foods, something that decades of dieting never did for this junk-food addict.  In just a couple of months I’ve noticed I have a lot less desire for sweet processed crap and more desire for natural, perfect foods, like these.  See, it’s not just about saving money, y’all.

Not to mention that this modest veg garden is lush and lovely and a great addition to any deck.


  1. I’ve found that when the produce from the garden starts to come in, I lose weight trying to eat it all. Weird, but there are so few calories and so much fiber in spring and early summer vegetables (think greens and peas) that when I eat so many of them I just don’t have room for anything else. And yes I’m still eating strawberry sorbet at night, but it doesn’t seem to hurt. Of course come fall the calorie laden veggies come in. The potatoes and winter squash are sure to put it all back on.

  2. Good for you, Susan! Homegrown produce just has an exciting flavor that makes the experience of eating vegetables different. Even the confirmed vegetable hater in my family can’t resist fresh peas out of the garden. Right now, she’s actually asking me to cook broccoli every night, which is good because we have a flood of it.

    Eggplants and zucchinis–slice them thin, broil them with extra virgin olive oil and salt. Top with chopped basil. Amazing. Add fresh mozzarella if you want something more substantial.

  3. There is something about homegrown that is so convenient, even if the produce tasted worse than store bought I would still eat it because it is so much closer to the kitchen table.

    You can take eggplant and slice it thick (crosswise), sprinkle with salt and let it sit for around an hour, brush the salt off and marinate it in teriyaki sauce overnight in the frig. Grill til crispy edged but still soft in the center and serve on a bun with everything you would normally put on a cheeseburger. Yummy!

  4. I am also a novice veg gardener who is enjoying the excitement of picking my own for dinner! So far we’ve had lettuce, green beans, young onions, and really wonderful new potatoes. Tonight we’ll try our first beets–small, but nice looking. And actually, we cut off the beet greens and had them with dinner last night, sauteed briefly with a little salt and pepper and olive oil.

    It’s hard to put into words the pleasure of harvesting all these goodies from the seeds I planted two months ago. Aside from the pleasure of the food itself, there’s a part of me that feels connected to my gardening dad and long-gone gardening grandmas in a way I never have before.

  5. I once had a front-yard food garden, much to the consternation of my neighbors when we planted it. They were all installing concrete patios in their front yards, and here I was planting tomatoes, greens, cucumbers, peppers, squash, okra, and lots of other goodies. Needless to say, we were greeted with many strange looks–until we started harvesting. Then the neighbors would conveniently “just happen to walk by.” I was handing out my ‘extras’ and they loved it! It became a great discussion starter about where food comes from. Some of them had no idea of anything past the grocery store, that someone has to plant it, tend it, weed it, etc., before it gets to the grocery. It became quite a bit of fun and a great educational experience for the kids in my neighborhood.

  6. This is the first time in many years I’ve planted a “vegetable garden” separate from my ornamental plants and I am having a heck of a time dealing with all the critters! I may have to resort to pots on my deck even though I have lots of space in the garden. Too much competition!

  7. I’ve grown vegetables among the perennials in a side garden for years, but this year I wasn’t happy with the perennials there so I took them out and replaced the whole thing with vegetables — four bean tepees (Trionfo Violetta mostly, very productive), four big tomatoes, Swiss chard, potatoes, beets, basil, mache, two kinds of onions, lettuce, Delicata squash, a volunteer melon, and the Zucchini That Ate Arlington. The plot is adjacent to a sidewalk (we’re on a corner), and everyone who goes by stops to inspect and I’ve met more people this summer than I ever did before. I planted it for looks too, so though I say so myself (modestly) it looks pretty.

    On the driveway, never used for its original purpose, there are several large containers with carrots, cucumbers climbing the garage door, two Ichiban eggplants, one adorable striped miniature eggplant, and a huge pot of lettuce. Everything tastes goooood, and even my vegetable-hating son-in-law is eating them now, probably mostly because they’re free — and what’s not to like about watching your mother-in-law slave in the hot sun?

  8. i grow a veggie garden and love it! In Texas it is not so easy.If youw ant to do it—great–but realize that to do it organically in Texas–it is not so easy!! I read the blogs where bloggers insist that each government building government should have a veggie garden!!! Who are you to insist upon such silly frivolities???? This is a country I no longer recognize!1—so sad

  9. I’ve got a little spot in my front yard where I grow tomatoes, cabbages, beets, and some herbs. Since I live WAY out in the middle of nowhere in zone 3, I don’t worry much about aesthetics. When winter comes, it’s all covered up.

    Love your deck veggies.


  10. I’ve got a 50 x 6 ft. sun berm of shrubs and perennials adjacent to my kitchen and dining room. The last few summers I’ve added basils, hot peppers, cherry tomatoes and parsleys to the mix. They don’t add much visually, but I LOVE being mere steps away from picking my own. It’s very satisfying to look out the kitchen window and see edibles growing among all the ornamentals.

  11. P.S. – Susan, your container veggies are gorgeous. Squash is such a beautiful plant. Have you harvested anything yet? I’m interested to know how veggies grown in a container compare with those in the ground.

  12. Even when your vegetable garden is down the drive, through the woods, past the meadow and up the hill they still garner a daily admiring inspection. These woods are full of critters and my biggest problem this year is the grasshoppers. Little #######!

    The big mystery right now is how much of a share of the sweet corn will the raccoon insist on having this year.

  13. 36 years ago, when I married, was the end of my junk food habit, because my precious husband introduced me to home grown vegetables. Every flower that becomes a fruit is still magic.

    12 years ago, when we moved, our 1/4 acre garden became a large collection of 15 gallon pots on a concrete patio. The magic continues.

  14. Great Post! Vegetable gardening is as imperative to good health as brushing your teeth or getting the right vitamins. Too many people think counting calories or counting vitamins is all they need to do.

    Regarding aesthetics, I can’t agree with the front-yard veggie garden idea. A Vegetable garden has a different goal then a perennial garden. One’s job is to produce food for cultivation, the other’s is to look good or smell good or feel good.

    If you’re trying to grow a beautiful vegetable garden, you’re going to be hurting it by keeping it pruned and looking beautiful. A natural garden needs to range, and bring in insects and do all kinds of crazy things. Kind of like doing Yoga to lose weight…not really going to work, too hard, and minimal benefit.

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