CompleteKitchenGarden banneredited
kitchen garden with poppies

Last week, frilly volunteer poppies began to bloom in the kitchen garden creating a bit of chaos.

“The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.” ― Michael Pollan


Hello Everyone.

I'll be the first to admit that I like an orderly kitchen garden. I plan it out on paper first, count the exact number of plants before sowing, measure with a planting guide and get started. By mid-July, however, I'm willing to give in to volunteer poppies, rampant cucumber vines and mounds of luscious kale. It's the sign of a thriving, heathy garden when plants create their own community and I am beginning to feel like an outsider.

Early this morning, I was about to tackle the overgrown dill, yet noticed a black swallowtail caterpillar munching on the flowers. It's staying. I planted extra lettuce for the rabbits, yet this year they prefer to nibble on young beans. Growing more. Like everyone else, I'm learning to let go of the small stuff, fully aware that the garden is a grand teacher. No amount of planning, measuring, or dreaming will deliver the full package. The key is to pay attention to the details.

I'm excited to announce that for the 2021 season, I'll be on virtual tour for my new book, with lectures and book group chats via Zoom. I'm adding to my curriculum with a cookbook writing class beginning in September. If you are seeking a fun project to engage the whole family, this might be it. Scroll down to learn more, and join me for a free introductory class.

As always, my goal is to inspire you to grow a beautiful food garden and encourage you to go beyond your own backyard to build a community of food gardeners. Share what you love with others and become a mentor to a new gardener or cook.

Grow beautiful food,
Ellen Ecker Ogden
Kitchen Garden Designs

Author of The Complete Kitchen Garden and The New Heirloom Garden plus other books for cooks who love to garden.

Instagram July. 2020

Recent Instagram posts.


Summer Strawberries

Pick your own for smoothies, or buy a flat to freeze for winter, there are a hundred ways to enjoy a fresh strawberry. This month, while they are fresh, here are favorite recipes from my cookbooks: strawberry shortcake, old-fashioned jelly roll made made with strawberry jam, or strawberry ice cream. Follow links below to my recipes, click on the image. Recipe photo credit: Matthew Benson.


Strawberry Jam (without Pectin)

Strawberry SHORTCAKE

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry ICE CREAM

Strawberry Ice Cream


Old-Fashioned Jelly Roll with Strawberry Jam


“Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.”
― Michael Pollan

How to Write a Family Cookbook

Writing your family cookbook is more than simply recording the recipes. It’s a way to preserve family traditions and gives you a place to share stories, photos and techniques. There is no better time to begin than right now to gather the recipes and the stories to layout your cookbook for printing as a gift to your family.

I have been writing cookbooks for over a decade, yet still find the process is much more involved than I anticipate. You may have a notebook full of recipes that simply need to be organized, and typed, but then what’s the next step? Starting this September, I will be teaching a series of classes to teach others how to write a family cookbook, to help keep these family memories alive. An ideal project for families to do together, for a special reunion, a birthday or wedding gift. Cooking and gathering recipes is a way to preserve history through family connections and capturing personal stories.

Join me for a free introductory class on Wednesday, July 29th. I'll share highlights from the upcoming class. Send me a note with your email, and I'll send you an invitation.

“But that's the challenge -- to change the system more than it changes you.”
― Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

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