A thriving kitchen garden enables budding chefs to add a personal touch to their dishes, and is a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to source fresh ingredients.

Expert gardener and author, Sarah Raven, is a strong advocate for kitchen gardens, planning meals based on what produce she can pick from her productive garden at Perch Hill. Sarah Raven said:

Sarah In The Kitchen Garden

'Spring is the time to be planning what to grow this year, and I’d encourage anyone to start their own kitchen garden, whether it’s a small plot in the garden, an allotment, or a shared gardening space. By growing produce at home, it reduces the amount of food waste our nation produces, can save lots of pennies on your shopping bill, and ultimately gives you the best tasting ingredients to cook with.'

Picking Vegetables

'My first piece of advice is to carefully select what you’ll grow. Choose your supply in categories, starting with the 'big producers' such as parsley, rocket, kale, chard, spinach, and courgette. These are easy to cultivate and perfect to 'cut and come again'. I find runner beans and French beans to be very prolific, and tomatoes and mini cucumbers should be a staple in every kitchen garden.


‘Not everyone has time to tend to a kitchen garden regularly, in which case I’d opt for low-maintenance vegetables like beetroot, leaks, purple sprouting broccoli and squash. These varieties can be sown and watered one evening, before being left to their own devices.’

Selecting Salads

'I love serving guests a fresh salad, adding a little drizzle of olive oil, balsamic, and maybe even some feta cheese. In the hotter months, I’ll opt for wild rocket, a heat tolerant Mediterranean variety that traditionally comes from Turkey or Greece.

Sarah Raven

'French Tarragon is a favourite of mine for adding a zingy flavour, while Florence fennel 'Romanesco' is great for adding oomph to salads. Tarragon is better suited to warmer temperatures for your summer dishes, while fennel prefers the cold, and makes for a reliable autumn harvest.'

Herbs For Maximising Flavour

‘I sow oregano in April for summer picking. It’s a fundamental of Greek cuisine, cutting through fatty lamb or feta with its sharp and bright flavour. Basil ‘Sweet Genovese’ will thrive in a sunny spot and is a reliable go-to for Italian dishes.

Growing Herbs

'From August to April, you’ll find lots of Parsley 'Gigante di Napoli' in my kitchen garden. It’s hardier than British curly parsley and has a really clean yet grassy flavour during the winter. I’m particularly fond of French Sorrel too, I pick it in February and March before cooking the leaves, removing them from the stems in preparation for adding to yoghurt as a delicious sauce for chicken or fish.

Home-grown Produce

'To produce an abundant succession of herbs, take out a stem from its pot or planter, and root it in a glass of water.'

By Sarah Raven