The term ‘kitchen garden’, is just another way of saying a vegetable garden or a garden that is for the production of edible items. In some places, they call it a kitchen garden because most of what grows in it end up in the kitchen. So let’s start at the beginning, and we will assume you are a novice gardener because there is no such thing as a beginner gardener. Everybody has got a basic idea of what a garden is, you put either seeds or seedlings into the prepared ground, water them and watch them grow. That is the description of every type of garden ever grown.
Where and how to plant a vegetable garden
But to take you from a novice gardener to experienced gardener you need to have grown something. So let’s take you through the steps are you to plan and grow probably the tastiest vegetables you’re ever going to eat. It’s a pure myth, of course, an urban myth, but ask any gardener and what they grow is the best tasting food they ever get to eat. This fact is not an urban myth but is still amazing, only about half the population have ever tasted food that they have grown themselves. Let’s get down to the basics, the very first thing you have to do is to pick the site of your garden.
Of course, one big decision you need to make if you’ve decided to create your own kitchen garden is: how are you going to go about your everyday garden landscaping? If you have decided to grow your garden in pots, and it can be done this way, all you have to do is figure out where in the garden you’re going to put your pots. You have to put them inappropriate positions for what you’re going to grow in them. Some vegetables require about six hours direct sunlight per day; others require up to 10 hours to get the best results. If you are going to use garden beds, you probably need about two months of preparation work before the beds are ready to receive either seeds or seedlings.
Some facts every gardener should know
1. Planting in a sunny location is a must, the more sunlight crop receipts, the better the harvest and the better the taste.
2. You must plant in good soil. The soil must be soft to allow the plant roots to penetrate easily and must have a good mix of compost and fertilisers to nourish the plants. Good drainage is the last requirement.
3. Plant spacing is critical. Some plants will only need 4 or 5 cm whereas other plants will need half a meter for them to grow properly.
4. If you are going to plant seeds make sure you buy high-quality seeds.
Get your proportions right
If using pots, the bigger the pot you use, the better, even if you’re planning on moving them between crops bigger is still better. If you have to move them to empty them, then do it that way. Garden beds should be at least 12’ x 6’, but 16 x 10 is properly considered the ideal size. The garden beds should be dug or built about 3 foot deep. You should have a minimum of two garden beds, but four is ideal. The reason from multiple beds is to rotate crops. Rotating crops is considered a must, the smaller the bed or when using pots, crop rotation is vital.
When you start out, probably in the middle of winter the first time, getting your garden beds ready for spring planting, you need to plan what you are going to grow. Let’s say you have four large beds and want to grow enough food for a family of four for the whole summer. What are you going to grow, experienced gardeners can probably rattle off their list of plants in under a minute. You are on the other hand, probably haven’t got much idea, except knowing what you like to eat.
I have attached the video below which provides some great gardening tips that I found very useful:
Feeding the family
Some of the plants that are commonly grown are grown for a reason, do you know why beans, carrots, beets, cabbages, lettuce, spinach, and turnips are nearly always grown. The answer is simple; these vegetables generally will yield more than one crop every season. Most summer gardeners also include tomatoes, peppers and some zucchini or cucumber in their crop list each year. You can also add other leafy vegetables like chard and kohlrabi if you like them. Using only the ingredients grown here, you would have a pretty decent salad to go on with.
One thing everyone should do is contact their local gardening society to get some information that is pretty vital like nearly all gardening societies have a local frost schedule. This schedule gives all local gardeners a pretty good idea of when they can expect the last frost of the season and the first frost at the end of the season. With that schedule in hand, you can plan your whole gardening season, preparing garden beds while growing seedlings indoors and then moving the plants outdoors at the right time.
Should you grow just what you want
Of course, you should, but if you have limited space a good idea is to go and have a look at your local farmers market, and your local gardening society meetings to see what everyone else is growing. If there is something that nobody is growing that you like to eat you may have to grow your own if you want it on your plate this year. After a couple of years of experience under their belt, a lot of vegetable growers start participating in their local farmer’s markets providing other locals with the benefits of what they’ve been doing at home.
Your vegetable garden or your kitchen garden can operate all year round unless you get meters of snow on the ground every year, then you can also grow a winter garden. Favourite crops in winter gardens are things like spinach, cabbages, cauliflower, potatoes and onions. Notice they are nearly all recognised ingredients for making soup and stews, cold weather food.
If you have your own experiences and tips about gardening, please feel free to contact me.