Grow a Kitchen Garden, Grow Yourself
Each time I walk into Vervain, I’m immediately comforted by the abundance of its shelves. I see all the pretty jars stacked to the ceiling, some clear and filled with brightly colored petals, others dark with deep healing. It comforts me even more to think about the growers, makers and stewards of wellness who had a hand in bringing them to me. What if I told you, you could grow just a little bit of what you find at Vervain?
I bet the first time you stepped into Vervain, you were in awe, I know I was. Yet, Where to start?!
There’s so much knowledge in those jars and in the folks who practice there. I learned that by going into Vervain looking for one thing I was familiar with (e.g. face cream) and exploring a new nook or shelf each time, selecting something new to try (e.g. an adrenal support tincture), I could learn slowly and really see how each item was affecting me. By focusing on one new thing, I could ask questions of the shop stewards, be curious and absorb the impact of a new-to-me practice.
I apply this same practice to kitchen gardening. A kitchen garden is simply a raised bed vegetable garden. I meet a lot of folks who are intimidated by growing vegetable plants/herbs. They’ve killed plants before or they just don’t see themselves as gardeners, or the most common, they’re too afraid to even try. They don’t know where to start. I’m on a mission to help everyone in Boise grow a little bit of their own food so we can live in a healthier, more sustainable and happier city.
Here’s are some tips how you can get started on your own Garden Journey- as well as hopefully growing a few of your favorite herbs.
Step 1. Discover your Why
When we design kitchen gardens, we start with each gardener’s goal for their space. We want to know their “why” for gardening. Are they trying to spend more time outside with their family? Are they trying to incorporate healthier foods in their diet? Are they trying to add beauty and function to their landscape? Having a strong why will guide the kind of garden you grow.
Step 2. Decide what you want to grow- (Write down your favorite herbs you use.)
Culinary Herbs: From the herbs in your marinades, salad dressings and cocktails to creating your own oil of oregano or rosemary infusions, growing your own culinary herbs is a wonderful way to start gardening. Herbs are the most low maintenance of plants - they grow with any amount of space, sun, water and attention that you can give them. Plus, you can use them in so many ways.
Herbal Teas: I’m a big tea drinker. In my garden, I love to grow chamomile, calendula, holy basil, lemon balm and mint to make refreshing teas. I easily dry them in my garage for winter infusions and steep them freshly in water throughout the summer.
Edible Flowers: Such as calendula, marigolds, violets, nasturtiums. There are so many beautiful flowers that grow well in Boise, and spring is full of edible flowers that are perfect for adding to fresh salads, decorating cakes or even making homemade salves. I make a calendula salve every year that saves my skin from dryness year round.
Step 3. Get Setup.
A good setup has been key to my clients’ success to growing a garden. We use locally made, deep raised beds, the highest quality organic soil and locally grown seeds and plants to create our kitchen gardens. If you’d like help getting setup with yours, every project begins with a consultation.
I teach my clients that gardening is all about experimenting. While the point of it is to grow food to harvest for ourselves, we gain so much more in the process. I’m a believer in the idea that if you’re failing, you’re learning, so there’s nothing really to lose. Gardening teaches us so much about growth, resilience and hope. Plus, we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor and share them with our community.
If you’d like to take the next step toward growing a garden and learn more about Boise’s growing seasons (one of which starts now!), I’ve created a free download that delves into the “Four Seasons of Growing in Boise.”
I can’t wait to see how you grow,
Founder of Gold Feather Gardens
Jamie founded Gold Feather Gardens when a global pandemic brought her career in hospitality to a halt. A m writer and local food advocate, she turned to her garden for inspiration and healing, and she found a new path forward. That’s her goal for every client she meets: to find joy in the garden.
When Jamie isn’t gardening, she can be found writing by the river, reading a good book, cooking with her CSA and hiking in the Boise foothills with her golden retriever, Hooch, and her husband, Owen.