"What one does is what counts and not what one had the intention of doing."

sunflowers fall 2021

The entrance to my kitchen garden is a reminder that one can never plant enough sunflowers. Especially the dark mahogany colors. Did you know that sunflowers are in the same plant family as lettuce?

Hello Everyone.

On a cool morning in September, mahogany sunflowers bloomed, cold frames were planted with fall greens, and seed pods are plucked from ragged vines. The routine is familiar, yet the scene is always changing. I'm watching the signs of summer fade into fall while embracing the wildness of my kitchen garden. And most of it happens overnight.

The rabbits no longer nibble the lettuce, and soon I'll be making Piccalilli from all the green tomatoes that will never ripen. (Hopes dashed once again.) While my kitchen garden is not huge, I harvest plenty each summer, filling the pantry with chutney, relish, and pesto. For dinner last night I made chard enchiladas, with a side of corn and cucumber salad.

I organized the recipes in my book The New Heirloom Garden by plant families because that’s how gardeners cook. If you love beets, you’ll probably also enjoy chard and spinach. If you grow beans, you'll most likely include favas, lentils, and peas in your garden. The carrot family with celery, cilantro, dill, and parsley are perhaps my favorites. Second place goes to the sunflower family, which includes both edibles and ornamentals: lettuce, artichoke, calendula, and tarragon.

The more you get to know about the plants you choose to grow around your home, whether it's native to your state or an heirloom variety of seeds, the deeper your connection. Start saving your seeds, and planning for the future. Eat well, stay healthy. Let me know how your garden is growing.

As Always,
Ellen Ecker Ogden

Author of The Complete Kitchen Garden and The New Heirloom Garden. Designs, Books, and Classes For Gardeners Who Love to Cook.

New Heirloom Book. Cover

Buy an autographed copy.

design chapter opener

Designs, Recipes and Heirloom Plants for Cooks who Love to Garden


Do you love to cook?

Complete Kitchen Garden Facebook Photo 1

When we bring our families together around the table to share our love for good, homegrown food, we are cultivating a healthy choice that spreads beyond our own backyards. This may seem like a small step, yet setting an example is one of the best ways we can effect positive change.

My books are all about growing and cooking from the garden, and I'm now teaching virtual classes for gardeners who love to cook. My next class How to Write a Family Cookbook starts in October.

What is a family cookbook? A collection of your favorite recipes, bundled up with stories and photos. A keepsake for your family, your friends, or simply for yourself. I'll teach you my tips and techniques for streamlining the process to complete your own personal cookbook.

Tell me about you, your garden, and what you like to cook. You'll be hearing more about my upcoming class through a survey and future mailings. I hope you will sign up for my free introductory class, and share with others. Click here for class info. -- Sign up here for free intro.


Recipes from my kitchen garden


Pesto Chicken Summer Salad


Nasturtium Herb Butter


Roasted better winter salad

corn and cucumber salad

Sweet corn and cucumber salad

Art of Growing Food

When photographer, Mathew Benson staged the photos for my new book, his vision was to make them look like an old Dutch painting. I think he succeeded beautifully. " I do not seek, I find." said Picasso, and as gardeners, I bet we all agree that a garden is a work of art, always developing into something new and unknown. Especially in the fall.

Here's where I'll be speaking this fall:
Sept. 12: NOFA-VT: Tour and class on kitchen garden design
October 9: Hollister House Garden: New Heirloom Garden lecture.
November 6: UVM Master Gardeners Symposium: Cultivating Healthy Communities.


Images from my most recent Instagram feed


Sharing on Instagram

Be inspired on Instagram, with some of my favorite artists, cooks and illustrators:

▪ Kitchen Vignettes
▪ Seasons in Vermont
▪ Six Burner Sue
▪ Lynn Karlin
▪ Francis Palmer
▪ Lara Gastinger
▪ August Wren
▪ Paint Kitchen
Kitchen Vignettes
Seasons in Vermont
Six Burner Sue
Lynn Karlin
Francis Palmer
Lara Gastinger
August Wren
Paint Kitchen
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