Kitchen Gardening – Have you ever wanted to grow your food and vegetables to have the taste of natural, organic food? Making a kitchen garden is not that complicated and can boost your overall health as you won’t be exposed to harmful chemicals and fertilizers often used in commercial crops.
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There are many benefits of growing your own vegetables which alone should be enough to start practicing kitchen gardening.
However, first an important question: What is kitchen garden?
A kitchen garden can be defined as any area in your house where you grow fruits, vegetables or herbs for the consumption purpose by you and your family. This area can be a large area outside your house or a small one in your backyard. You can also grow your own food in containers or small pots. This is called container vegetable gardening.
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If you are confused about where to start, these kitchen gardening tips will not only help you getting started but also make you adopt best practices to make a fantastic kitchen garden:
1. Know What You Want to Grow
One of the mistakes, when beginners make while starting kitchen gardening, is that they usually don’t consider what they intend to grow. After all, one of the major kitchen garden benefits is that you can grow your own food without worrying about the chemicals and additives in the commercial vegetables and fruits.
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There are several kitchen garden plants which you can choose for your organic kitchen garden. In the beginning, you can focus on salad plants like basil, radish, salad greens, lettuce, etc.
which are easy to grow and do not require special maintenance or space. You can also plant various herbs in your small kitchen garden so that you can use them for cooking and other purposes to enhance taste!
2. Decide the Size and Location of Kitchen Garden
Always begin with the end look of your kitchen garden in mind. There can be several kitchen garden ideas such as backyard kitchen garden, a balcony garden, or a tiny window kitchen garden. In addition to this, you can do kitchen gardening on terrace or in pots and containers.
If you do not have much time, always go for a small kitchen garden which you can manage alone without getting overwhelmed. You have to consider these factors before you even decide to buy your set of kitchen gardening tools.
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3. Kitchen Garden Design
After you have decided the size and location of your kitchen garden, the next step is planning a kitchen garden design. You must have a kitchen garden layout which will help you visualize the look of your garden.
If you are making a kitchen garden in your backyard or outdoors, you may have to choose between square foot gardening or row gardening. You can even plan a raised bed gardening layout if you have a large space.
4. Seeds or Transplants?
Depending upon the type of plants you want to grow in your kitchen garden, you need to take this important decision of choosing between seeds or seedlings for growing your plants.
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Vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, celery give an excellent yield when they are transplanted. On the other hand, you must always grow root vegetables such as carrots, beets, salsify, turnips from their seeds.
In addition to these, melons, cucumbers, lettuce, garlic, peas, watermelon are easier to plant from seeds rather than using their seedlings. So, after you have chosen which plants to grow, you must do your research on the ideal way to grow them.
5. You cannot Plant a Garden In One Day. Start Small
The top mistake which beginners make in kitchen gardening is that they want to plant the whole garden within few days of the weekend. If you want to grow a kitchen garden which you can be proud of, you must take it slow.
If you have a busy schedule, just take seeds or seedlings of one or two plants a day when you return home. Gardening is a continuous process. Just enjoy the feel of soil in your hands while you dig it to nurture your garden.
6. Let Your Plants Breathe, Leave Space Between Them
Overcrowding is one of the biggest reasons why your kitchen garden may not turn out as you want. In the worst case, having plants too close to each other may lead to rotting and disease among them.
This is because when plants grow up with little space between them, they do not have access to airflow and also prone to excessive water retention. This eventually leads them to rot and develop diseases. So, leave space between plants while planting them.
7. Mulch Is Your Best Friend
The mulching process involves covering your soil with a layer of organic matter to retain moisture of soil and protect it from extreme weather conditions. It also protects plants against weeds and sometimes acts as natural fertilizers as well.
There can be several garden mulch types which you can use for your kitchen garden. These include shredded bark mulch, cedar mulch, wood chips, cocoa hull mulch, sawdust, pine straw.
8. Pay Special Attention to Watering
Since you will be planting mostly fruits and vegetables in your kitchen garden, you must take care of watering them properly as they are mainly made up of water. In the beginning, when your plants have not yet developed a root structure, water them lightly once a day or two. Once they develop a root structure, they may need anywhere from one inch of water per week to more depending on your soil drainage properties and weather.
9. Embrace Succession Planting
When you are making a kitchen garden, start by planting only a portion of your garden area such as one or two rows at once. Next time, plant another variety in another row when you go to harvest the yield from your previous row.
Plan this technique of succession planting over a period of months to grow various items in your kitchen garden. At times, you may even plant flowers in between other rows to make your kitchen garden beautiful!
By following the above kitchen gardening tips, you can be sure of making a great organic kitchen garden and experience the joy of eating home-grown food.
Nothing tastes more delicious than the fruits of your labor, and you will see that once you start building your kitchen garden! If you do not have much space for it, do not worry and learn how to grow an indoor vegetable garden.
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