A Guide to Making Your Home a Farm-to-Table Paradise
From selecting the right plants to keeping your cherished harvests fresh, follow these steps for a fruitful experience.
Farm-to-table living is no passing fad. While some may largely attribute people’s fervent desire to embrace their environment to the pandemic, the passion for caring for plants and cooking with organic, homegrown ingredients has been building for years. As people of all ages continue to get more and more into gardening, eating clean, and hosting, now is a great time to make your home a farm-to-table oasis.
Creating vegetable and fruit gardens from scratch may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With expert insight from Marley Doherty of Southampton-based Gardeneering and Liebherr, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to help make this a fruitful endeavor you’ll enjoy for years to come.
1. Do Your Research
Like the first step in any worthwhile process, this lays the foundation for everything you will sow and grow. Start in the kitchen. Are you prepared to accommodate all the fresh produce you hope to harvest? After all the effort, money, and care it takes to grow fruits and vegetables at home, having any of it go to waste would be a shame. That’s where having a stellar refrigeration system is essential, and Liebherr’s BioFresh technology is tough to beat. The innovative German-based brand, operating for over 65 years, has many high-performance refrigerators to choose from. Be sure to look into their Monolith Collection, which offers the perfect combination of impressive, elegant design and food preservation technology.
Next, educate yourself on gardening with books, classes, YouTube videos, or seminars. Definitely ask local landscape experts and farmers for advice, too. They can shed light on the specifics of your area, which makes all the difference in a successful season.
Most vegetables can be broken up into two categories: Cool weather and warm weather. Cool-weather crops such as peas, spinach, most of the Brassica family, etc. thrive in the spring and fall. On the East End of Long Island, which is in zone 7a, some great things to plant in August for a fall harvest include:
- Varieties of lettuce
Once you’ve done your homework and chosen your plants, next find out what soil and sun conditions they need and how to care for them.
2. Find Your Ideal Location for Planting
According to Gardeneering’s Doherty, the location best suited for most vegetables is south facing with 8-10 hours of direct sunlight. Taking this into account, plus your research on the exact fruits, vegetables, and herbs you’re growing, settle on the best spot in your outdoor space for gardens.
3. Make an Installation Plan
As your farm-to-table vision begins to take shape, think about the most effective way to execute it. If you want to upgrade your refrigeration system, you can get a full new refrigerator for your kitchen or simply install one or two of Liebherr‘s luxurious undercounter refrigerators. Avid entertainers may want to take both of those steps so there is plenty of room for produce, beverages, leftovers, etc.
When it comes to planting, there are also decisions to be made. For example, will you go for in-ground or install stylish raised beds? Depending on your yard and soil, raised beds are not necessary but do present benefits. They provide better drainage, fewer weeds and maintenance, a longer growing season, and manageability in a tight space.
If you’re working with a small garden, think about trying trellising. You can use it on its own, going up the side of your apartment or house with graceful plantings. Fencing/trellising is also a beautiful and functional way to protect a larger estate’s vegetable garden from curious foragers.
Equally important, use this step to plot out when you will plant and harvest certain produce, if beds will rotate through the seasons, etc.
4. Prepare the Soil
Without the right soil, your plants won’t yield the robust harvest you’re hoping for. And, don’t assume your land is prepared for optimal growth as is.
Whether you have in-ground or raised beds, the soil should be well-draining with an abundance of organic matter and have a pH between 6.0 – 7.0, depending on the plants you’ve selected.
Work with a local nursery or landscape expert to assess your soil composition and get it up to snuff if it needs improvement. Pro tip from Gardeneering: If your existing soil is difficult to work with, it’s easier to change soil composition in a raised bed.
5. Plant and Nurture
Here is where your research, planning, and preparation comes alive. All the horticulture knowledge in the world is no substitute for experience, so expect to make some mistakes this first go at it and remember to have fun!
As you care for your plants and watch them grow, be sure to check which produce will come back next year or what will need to be replanted. It varies from plant to plant depending on their cold hardiness or ability to withstand winters.
Since the East End of Long Island is in zone 7a, residents here can expect some plants such as Asparagus, Rhubarb, Thyme, Strawberries, and more to come back season after season.
6. Harvest, Refrigerate, and Cook Away
Often, you’ll be harvesting in batches. The kale, eggplants, or jalapenos will suddenly be flourishing and it’ll be time to bring them inside. Having readied your kitchen for this colorful influx, you can now put Liebherr’s BioFresh technology to work.
It’s designed to help you control humidity and temperature levels—preserving your food impeccably. The conditioned air from the moist refrigerator coil provides a similar effect of “misters” at organic markets to rehydrate your produce maintaining farm freshness for 2-3 times longer than traditional crispers.
Even with a great schedule of recipes or dinner parties planned to show off your ingredients, it’s unlikely you’ll use everything at once. Though using your refrigerator is the last step before cooking in the farm-to-table journey, it’s key to install a high-quality and high-tech refrigerator from the start.
Just imagine stepping outside and plucking ripe produce to make a fresh and delicious lunch for friends, what could be better? Once you go farm-to-table, you don’t go back. Many feel the same way towards Liebherr refrigerators as they deliver exceptional innovation and quality. Characterized by sophisticated, elegant design, the family-owned and German-based brand brings the best of European cooling to the Americas.
Visit home.liebherr.com to learn more about Liebherr’s full product line of freestanding, built-in and fully integrated refrigerators and freezers, wine and commercial units.