Home growing does not end at the polytunnel door. It is important to think about the gardening year not just as something that takes place in your polytunnel and elsewhere in your garden but also in your home. Your kitchen is where you will prepare, cook and preserve your polytunnel produce. But have you considered good kitchen design for home growers? Does your kitchen fit the bill, or are there some things you could change in order to make your life easier?
Consider Your Own Distinct and Personal Needs
When designing a kitchen, it is important not just to deal in vague generalities but to focus on the individuals who will actually be using the space. That said, there are certain general rules that it can be helpful to follow. Permaculture can point you in the right direction.
Permaculture designs often focus on time, and how frequently the humans of the system will visit the various elements and areas of it. The system of ordering elements according to time and effort expended is called zoning. Even in the smallest of kitchens, it can make sense to zone the space. Logic and common sense dictate that those items that we use most often will be the easiest to access from where they are most used. Small time savings can really add up, allowing the kitchen user or users more time to grow their own food, or to implement other measures for a more sustainable way of life.
Consider The Sun
As polytunnel gardeners, we are already very familiar with the power of the sun, and of how the conditions in a polytunnel can alter throughout each day and throughout the year. As well as considering the sun in our gardens and polytunnels, however, we should also think about the sun when considering kitchen design.
For example, new flooring of stone or ceramic tile could improve thermal mass, thereby allowing you to catch and store the sun’s energy in a more efficient and effective way. Improving thermal mass can reduce the energy needs of heating your kitchen and help to keep temperatures more constant over time.
By placing a fridge or freezer out of direct sunlight, we can help to reduce the energy use in our home.
Where cooling is a concern, simple measures such as installing window blinds can help to keep a comfortable temperature in your kitchen during the hottest part of the year.
Simple Kitchen Design
There is a temptation in the modern world to buy a whole range of kitchen gadgets. Often, these gadgets are just used once and then thrown into the back of a cupboard and forgotten about for years. Try to resist the urge to buy new gadgets and stick instead to old-fashioned, versatile equipment which you will truly use. Think carefully about the produce you grow and how you will prepare and cook that produce in your kitchen, and try to streamline the equipment, tools and utensils you need, paring down to those basic essentials that will help you cook and preserve polytunnel produce from scratch.
Share your own kitchen design ideas for home growers in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.