After a little research, we were delighted to learn that Rick grows a lot of his own produce in his home kitchen garden and even more delighted when we secured a tour of his garden for our group.
Rick's garden is tended by full time gardeners. Bill Shores and his wife Lori (pictured) specialize in small-scale urban gardening. Take a look at those beds (1st picture abov).
During our tour, Bill gave us the blow-by-blow of how he makes the most efficient use of Ricks urban garden space which produced about $20,000 worth of food for Rick's restaurant last year.
Here's what I found most interesting about Rick's kitchen garden:
- He does not rotate crops. Instead, he uses lots and lots of compost which he adds before every planting.
- His single compost bin produced 40 wheel barrows of compost last year. We all agreed that that is kind of hard to believe. He adds red wiggler worms. (If those worms will up my compost production to 40 wheel barrows per season, I'm ordering some. Like today!)
- He plants a new bed of salad greens every 3 weeks through the entire summer. (I had no idea that you could grow salad greens in the late summer here, but if he can do it, I can do it!)
- He's got a heated greenhouse on-site (pictured below) and between that and the fluorescent lights he uses to start his seeds, his set-up has all the components needed to start and grow all that wonderful food on-site.
- Bill says they spend about $3000 on seeds every year. $3000! They get most of them from Johnny's. (I will look at my basket-o-seeds in a different way from now on)
Bill says that over the years he's gotten to know the many micro-climates that exist on the Bayless property and he plants accordingly.
They even plant on the roof of the garage and said that the south facing wall that borders the kitchen garden (1st picture above, currently covered with ivy) is the next project. I can't wait to see what they grow there!
I also really loved that, even though Rick is probably pretty darn well-off, he still chooses to live in the city in a rather modest house for somebody like him.
I was so inspired by Rick Bayless' kitchen garden that I wanted to jump in a cab and go right home to finish working on mine. In the end, I'm glad I didn't because I would have missed another great raised bed kitchen garden on the tour.