My dream is to have a large kitchen someday. But for now, my New Years resolution is to learn to function effectively in the space that I have. I seem to have always had small kitchens and mostly small gardens to provide for the small kitchen. I have never mastered the large, grow all your own food, store it, stock it up for winter kitchen OR garden. I once ‘put back’ 39 quarts of green beans only to find they were bad when I took the first one out to cook on a cold day in November some fifteen years back.
I’ve always admired the clever kitchen plans in the magazine rack grazing I’ve done. I’ve incorporated many an idea from these prints for my own kitchens through the years. But I’d never thought until recently that I was not the only one, that my small spaces were not the only ones being struggled with. The photos I’d found in these many magazines often made me feel like a squid for “never thinking of that”. I always felt totally incompetent as I looked at the photos and envisioned my own kitchen in my mind, always lacking in the most
efficient use of space.
Then, there’s the garden spaces of the same home with said kitchen. The little bitty space of land that feeds twenty. How do they DO that? They are always perfect, always without a weed. Perfectly manicured and blooming at all the right intervals. This garden always has the right mix of shade and sunlight at the right time of the day.
And while I have always loved most every home I’ve lived in simply because I lived in it and it was my home, I can’t honestly think of many times I have been truly comfortable entertaining many at one time or completely proud of the work I’ve done on the garden arrangement. I’ve yearned for the comfort that a large kitchen brings. I now have the yard and the garden space, but I am truly stuck with the itty bitty kitchen.
It may sound like a lot, but 63 square feet of space housing a stove, refrigerator, and sink fills up quickly. I have no dishwasher, no garbage disposal, and only 2.5 feet of counter space. Much hangs on the wall or in a small sofa table that has taken up residence where a long counter top should be if it wouldn’t block the door. I have found
that many people are actually struggling with such limited space in kitchen and garden.
It was pleasant (and humbling) to see that food personalities like Mark Bittman are quite at home in confining, NYCity apartment sized kitchens. The NYTimes has a “Now Screening” video series entitled “Tiny Kitchen” If professional cooks and professed minimalists accomplish so much with so little, so should I. So aside from the tiny kitchen, which I will forthwith stop complaining about, the average garden space should be a true delight!
I applaud you if you garden in itty bitty city/ balcony gardens. You know who you are! This amount of area need never be unproductive. Even in part shade container gardens can accommodate colder season goodies like spinach and romaine lettuce. Using larger patio containers you can grow lively and productive tomato plants and (forgive the pun) but if you like patio tomatoes, they excel in this method of growing.
So the next time you want to gripe and complain about space, just remember, many do a lot of very little and you can too!