Ever see those spacious, expansive, to-die-for kitchens on Sunset Magazine? Better Homes and Gardens? Town & Country? Those photographs can make one feel terribly inadequate, a total bungling fool for having purchased a house with a custom-made kitchen for anorexic, ill-equipped inhabitants.
Then there’s the garden section of same journals. Wide open spaces accentuated with willow trees gracefully leaning over a koi pond. A gentleman’s farm replete with a 4WD compact tractor lies just a five minute stroll south of the estate.
Wake up! Back to reality. Though, yes, we’ve envied veggie garden acreage from our garden planning software users, for the most part, many people are working with limited space-sources both in garden and kitchen.
It was gratifying to see that food personalities like Mark Bittman feel wonderfully at home in cramped, NYCity-apartment-scale kitchens. The NYTimes recently launched a new video series called “Tiny Kitchen“. Plangarden Kitchen is where guests congregate – not the (also cramped) living room. We put our friends to work or happily chat peeling garlic while they enjoy their favorite beverage in anticipation of the 40 Clove Chicken.
Our most critical kitchen tools are a sharp all-purpose knife (we use an 8-inch Global Chef’s Knife), 4-5 paring knives, and decent cookwear (Allclad is not the end all – there are many affordable options like Gourmet Standard). You won’t discover extravagant items, except for a gigantic stew pot from Emile Henry, wonderful for our veggie soups!
As for those who live in highrises with a mere 3ft x 5ft balcony space, know that this area need not be unproductive. Part shade container gardens can grow spinach and other green leafy veggies. I’ve grown in large patio containers two highly productive tomato plants (plain old Early Girls).
So the next time you see those photographs, give yourself a pat on the back that your tiny garden and kitchen are wonderful, productive working spaces worthy to blogbrag about. Send us your tiny garden or kitchen stories and photos!