Ellen s May garden

A bird's eye view of my kitchen garden. May 2021

Hello Everyone.

It's that time of year when I can't stop gardening. Every inch of the kitchen garden is packed full, while seed packets and seedlings stack up, waiting their turn to meet the soil. The first crop of arugula and tatsoi is almost ready to pull, soon to be replaced with a summer crop of bush beans and basil. Planning the garden on paper is thrown to the wind, in favor of spontaneity.

My gardening and cooking style follows the seasons, because what grows together also goes together in the kitchen; early spring lettuce and peas, summer tomatoes with basil, late fall cabbage and carrots. But it’s not always what tastes good together, but planting two or more plant species in close proximity can increase an ecosystem which helps plants grow better, taste better and fend off pests.

Food gardens are more important than ever. Tasting food pulled from the ground and twisting off a green stem at the peak of ripeness is the way I wish we all ate. An heirloom garden is an opportunity to plant a piece of history that provides a deeper connection to the food you eat, the people you love, and the landscape that surrounds your home.

Adding style and personality to the garden adds to the feeling of comfort and sanctuary. Keep finding fresh ways to turn work into play. Grow a beautiful food garden, an edible painting just outside your kitchen door.

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


Love in the Garden: Companion Plant Combinations

For those who believe this system makes perfect sense, it helps when figuring out where to place the plants for optimum productivity by layering. Consult a companion planting chart to give you insights into how the plants work together in terms of growth habit and size. Here are a few companion combinations that are worth considering when plotting out the garden:

Beans: Herbs, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers and cabbage
Beets: Cabbage, onions, and kohlrabi
Carrots: Tomatoes, peas, onions, leeks, and rosemary
Cucumbers: Beans, radish, sunflower, dill, and beets
Lettuce: Beets, broccoli, bush beans, cabbage, and strawberries
Onion: Dill, chamomile, asparagus and peas
Tomatoes: Onions, basil, lettuce, garlic and marigolds
Spinach: Peas, eggplants, cauliflower and beans
Peppers: Tomatoes, okra, parsley basil and carrots

companion planting

The perfect companion pairing: cabbage, beets and onion growing side by side.


The New Heirloom Garden Recipes

arugula salad

Arugula Couscous Lentil Salad


Bean, Farro and Chicory Salad

Without the green world, the rest of the world would be quite different. We are here because of plants. It's that simple. We've been living together since the dawn of time, yet we still have a lot to learn about the structure of the plant world, and how it works to keep us healthy.

The recipes in my new book, The New Heirloom Garden are arranged by plant family, to help gardeners and cooks make sense of the plant world. Plants are like (most) people; they enjoy the company of other "like" plants, and this can be a way to provide companion planting, by grouping similar plants in the garden together, while making it easy for the cook to substitute ingredients.

Above are just two of the 60 delicious recipes in my book. Click on the photo for the recipe, or buy an autographed copy here. featuring 12 themed kitchen garden designs with recipes.

instagram 2021

The Art of Growing Food

Ellen Ogden. Profile 01. Ali Kaukas

About Ellen Ecker Ogden

I grow food because I love to eat, which is why all of my books and classes are about growing a kitchen garden. I'll be teaching again in September, with in-person lectures and online classes. Join me for a free introductory class by signing up here.

You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up at one of my garden talks, or on the website. If you enjoy this newsletter and want more, consider signing up for my expanded newsletter, The Art of Growing Food.


Making Friends in the Garden

Seed Packets
Hope Street. Free Seeds

Sharing Magic

Push a seed in the ground; let it sprout, then watch and wait while the plant grows. In life, we are told it’s the journey, not the destination, and the same is true for planting a garden. Starting with a plan, following the schedule, and checking off a list of chores is how most of us grow a garden.

Yet for a child, watching a plant grow fills them with excitement, eagerness, and curiosity. They want to smell, touch and taste everything, dig and fill holes with water, crack open a dried pod to find purple bean seeds, and eat dinner standing up while grazing in the pea patch.

We can all learn from children how to become better gardeners. Patricia Bailey (e-mail address triciabailey@mac.com) offers free seeds to get her community growing in a customized seed library. Find out more about her seed packet art and activities at #VictoryGardensRI,


"The good thing about science is that it's true, whether or not you believe in it."

- Neil deGrasse Tyson

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