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Kitchen Gardening

Edible Weeds–If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Eat ‘Em!



This is the time of year where it seems everywhere you turn, people, businesses and ​city governments are trying to rid their yards, lawns and parks of anything growing but the almighty green grass.

​But fields of the pretty yellow flowers in the lawn, are they really so bad? Dandelion leaves, flowers, stems and roots are all edible if you have an organic yard! The greens are filled with nutrients and vitamins. The leaves are delicious served raw in a salad or steamed and served with butter like spinach.

Dandelion is considered a whole-body tonic and has medicinal properties in nearly every body system. It is especially recognized for its benefits to the liver, urinary tract and skin.

The high potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C content of the leaves makes this a valuable food. And the juice in the flower stalks can be used to get rid of warts!

Other edible “weeds”–burdock, chickweed, cresses, daylillies, johnny jump-ups, lamb’s ​quarters, plantain, purslane, ramps, red clover, shepherd’s purse, sorrel, stinging nettle, ​violet, and wild asparagus.

Dandelion Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

This​ a surprisingly wonderful ​balance of bitter and sweet, salty and savory. Pick​ when the leaves are young, before the dandelion sprouts a bloom.  Serves 4​


  • Enough young dandelion leaves for 4 to 6 salads
  • 5 pieces of bacon and drippings
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered ​water
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 5 Tbs sugar (or substitute honey)​
  • 1 Tbs Dijon ​mustard
  • ​1/2 cup blue cheese or gorgonzola​
  • 1 hard boiled egg (optional)​


1. Wash the dandelion leaves really well. Spin to dry and set aside.

2. Fry the bacon and remove from the pan. Pour out about half of the drippings.

3. Mix the water, flour, vinegar, sugar and Dijon ​mustard together in a bowl.

4.  Add the mix to the remaining bacon drippings in the pan and cook over medium heat until thick. You may need to adjust the sugar to taste the dressing should be sweet enough to counter the bitterness of the dandelion greens (dip a leaf in the dressing to test the taste).

5. Pour the dressing over the dandelion greens while still hot. Crumble the bacon and cheese ​on top.

6. Garnish with chopped hard boiled egg (optional).​

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Kitchen Gardening

Urban Gardening: Cultivating a Green Revolution in the Concrete Jungle




In the heart of our bustling cities, a quiet revolution is taking root. Urban gardening, the practice of cultivating food in the midst of concrete and steel, is not just a trend but a movement towards sustainability, self-sufficiency, and a deeper connection with what we eat. From rooftop gardens to balcony herb boxes, urban dwellers are transforming their living spaces into verdant oases, redefining the concept of local produce.

The Rise of Urban Agriculture

Urban gardening is more than a hobby; it’s a response to the increasing awareness of food security and environmental issues. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, urban agriculture could be essential in enhancing urban food security and nutrition. In cities like New York, initiatives like the Brooklyn Grange, a massive rooftop farming operation, are not only providing fresh produce but also educating the community about sustainable agriculture.

The Benefits: Beyond Just Fresh Produce

The advantages of urban gardening extend well beyond the joy of harvesting your own tomatoes or basil. As noted by a study in the Journal of Urban Health, these gardens can improve physical and mental health, promote biodiversity, and even reduce urban heat islands. Moreover, they foster a sense of community, bringing together people of diverse backgrounds with a common goal of nurturing growth.

Overcoming the Challenges

Urban gardening, however, is not without its challenges. Space is a premium commodity in cities, and not everyone has access to a garden plot or a large balcony. Creative solutions, such as vertical gardens and community plots, are essential. Websites like Urban Gardeners Republic provide invaluable tips and tricks for maximizing small spaces for effective gardening.

The Role of Technology

Technology plays a pivotal role in the urban gardening movement. Hydroponic systems, which allow plants to grow in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution, are perfect for indoor environments. Companies like AeroGarden offer compact hydroponic kits that fit on a kitchen counter, making it possible to grow herbs and vegetables year-round.

The Community Aspect

Community gardens are a cornerstone of the urban gardening movement. These shared spaces not only provide a place to grow food but also serve as hubs for education and social interaction. Organizations like the American Community Gardening Association offer resources for starting and maintaining community gardens, emphasizing their role in urban revitalization.

Edible Landscaping

Edible landscaping is another facet of urban gardening, blending aesthetics with functionality. Instead of traditional ornamental plants, urban landscapes are being adorned with fruit trees, berry bushes, and edible flowers. This approach not only beautifies the cityscape but also contributes to local food production.

The Future of Urban Gardening

As we look to the future, urban gardening holds the promise of a more sustainable and self-sufficient urban lifestyle. With the advent of smart gardening technologies and the growing community of urban gardeners, the potential for transformation is immense. Websites like TreeHugger provide a glimpse into the future of urban agriculture, showcasing innovations and inspiring stories from around the globe.


Urban gardening is more than just a trend; it’s a vital part of the future of food production and urban living. It offers a path to reconnect with nature, improve our health, and build stronger communities. As we continue to navigate the challenges of urbanization and environmental sustainability, urban gardens stand as beacons of hope and greenery in our concrete jungles.

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Kitchen Gardening

Planting Berries in Pots




Using pots to plant berries can give you the most tasty and healthy berries if you do this:

Pots Protect Strawberries

Strawberries have shallow roots. They are also compact and they love rich, fertile soil which makes them ideal for planting in pots.  If you invest in a self-watering pot, you can store water at the base, and the roots will pull up the water using capillary action.

Get the best results with a premium potting mix mixed with chicken manure. Chicken manure will help provide the strawberry plants with extra nutrients.  

Plant seedlings 30cm apart and gently tease each root as you plant. Straw mulch will help retain moisture in the soil and keep the fruits clean. 

Pots keep strawberries safe from slaters, snails, and slugs that would have attacked them on the ground. 

Pots keep Blueberries in Check

Blueberries flourish in larger pots. They need a lower pH to flourish. Buy a potting mix for azaleas which prefer acidic environments.

With a good potting mix, you only need to boost them with some fertilizer every couple of months. The best place to put your pot of strawberries is somewhere sunny where it doesn’t get too hot on summer afternoons. 

With pots, you have more control over the condition of the soil and you can move the plant around to find the best lighting conditions for a bumper crop. 

Taming Blackberries 

Blackberries have a way of taking over a space with their runners. A larger pot as well as a climbing support will give them a little room to expand and grow. You can also pull out runners and plant them if you want new plants. 

Pots are excellent for blackberries because they keep them from expanding uncontrollably. A 32-litre pot is perfect. Fit in a tall wieldmesh so to support them as they grow. 

Add some chicken manure (pelletised) to the potting mix to keep the plants well fed. Place the pot in a sunny spot and water generously. 

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Kitchen Gardening

7 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Planning Outdoor Kitchens




If you love cooking outdoors, nothing can be more satisfying than having a nice kitchen where you can cook in the open air. There’s nothing that can compare to the all-time favorite backyard barbecue we all love so much. However, while these are the moments that we will cherish for years to come, it is important not to forget how to be safe when cooking in an outdoor kitchen.

Whether this is your first time cooking outdoors or you’re a seasoned veteran, you should avoid making any of these common mistakes that can lead to more trouble than is necessary.

1. Not Having Adequate Storage

When designing your outdoor cooking space, it is important to allow for adequate storage space for both the food you plan to prepare and the utensils you need.

Your kitchen should have ample storage space. You might designate one area to keep staples and dry goods off the ground and away from any stray animals that may wander into your yard.

It is also a good idea for another area set aside specifically to meet your cold storage needs. If you can afford it, install a weather-resistant refrigerator to keep perishables at the optimum temperature and store any condiments and other ingredients you may need.

2. Forgetting About Ventilation

In addition to consistent air-flow for the cooking area, every appliance and electrical outlet needs good circulation around it to ensure that nothing gets overheated and thereby creating a potential hazard.

This can be done by installing exhaust fans and vent holes wherever possible, and a vent hood over your cooking area.

3. Not Planning For Workflow

Planning for workflow is critical for efficient cooking. Without it, you will constantly be running back and forth to get your job done. It is better to plan for a wash, prep, cooking, and plating station so you won’t need to keep retracing your steps. You’ll be more organized and save most of your energy for entertaining your guests.

4. Grill Too Small

Every outdoor kitchen needs a good grill, but that can quickly dampen your enthusiasm if it is not up to the task. Make sure that you don’t skimp on the size.

Get a grill that will be able to handle the amount of cooking you plan to do. One that is too small will mean that you have to cook endless batches of food, which can eventually wear on your patience.

Larger outdoor kitchen barbecue grills give a lot more heat so that you will have even and consistent cooking. It will also save you lots of time since you won’t have to cook in batches. You’ll get done a whole lot faster that way.

5. Getting Enough Power

Even if you plan on barbecuing everything you get your hands on, you will still need to have enough power to operate your refrigerator and small appliances you plan to use.

Think of the drinks, sauces, and other extras you plan to serve your guests. Make sure that you have a good source of power to meet all of your needs.

6. Failing To Measure

Poor planning could create a kitchen that doesn’t have ample space for the things you need. It is a given that you will plan enough room for your larger appliances. Still, it is easy to forget that the smaller appliances also need adequate space.

Plan to have enough counter space; otherwise, preparing your meals could become a real nightmare.

7. Not Planning For Cleanup

Make an area with a sink and running water so you can wash your veggies and utensils without having to go inside the house. A good cleaning area will also keep your counter looking neat-&-clean and help you to avoid having to haul loads of pots, pans, and dishes into the house kitchen to wash, saving you a lot of time and energy.

Before you start looking at the finishes and the fixtures for your new space, think carefully about the more practical features of its unique design. You can get the best kitchen layout complete with all the necessary amenities needed to make your new space the perfect extension of your home.

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