Kitchen Garden Basics: How to Start Growing Food Today

In this article, we’re giving you 6 basic tips that will help make your dream of eating fresh, homegrown produce a reality.
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woman watering plants
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Introduction

Sure, you’ve heard about the benefits of fruits and vegetables, as well as of following a healthy diet. You may also be concerned about your food’s quality and about ensuring that you feed your family with the best quality of food you could get your hands on. However, one pressing issue arises: how much do you know about the quality of your food? 

No matter how hard you research, you can’t be privy to the processes that go into growing it. And that’s likely why you’ve taken it upon yourself to create a beautiful kitchen garden that will allow you to take (almost) full control of what you put on your table. In this article, we’re going to give you some great tips on how to get started with your kitchen garden and make the process of growing your own food easy. Read more to find out!

1. Carefully select your kitchen garden’s site

We can’t stress the importance of finding the right spot to set up your garden. It’s the alpha and the omega of defining the optimal conditions for your crops to grow, be it vegetables, kitchen garden herbs, or small fruit bushes. So, how do you go about doing that?

Make sure you pick a spot that is exposed to sunlight and provides shading, and then go about drafting your kitchen garden layout plan. Why? Because while sunlight is essential for plant growth, too much of it can be harmful. Go ahead, pick a site for your garden, and consider the following factors: soil and drainage. Check your plot after rainfall to ensure that no puddles are formed. If there’s not much of a problem, it means that the spot provides adequate drainage for your plants to grow.

Then, go ahead and check the soil: some rocks are fine, but not too many of them. The soil should be loose to allow for your plants to set roots. If the site you’ve chosen lacks any of the above characteristics, don’t worry! With just a little bit of yard work, you can make it perfect for your kitchen garden plants. And, if you have no workable space whatsoever, you need not worry! You can start a kitchen garden indoor project to get things rolling and get the experience you need for future projects.

2. Start off easy

Nobody expects you to become an expert right off the bat! Remember: no matter how familiar you are with gardening, starting a kitchen garden is a different kind of beast. So, don’t go too hard on yourself and start small with some obvious kitchen garden plants choices. For example, when it comes to herbs, you can pick things like mint, basil, and rosemary, which also happen to be the ingredients of many easy dishes and sauces. You can always go with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, eggplants, or beans when it comes to vegetables.

If you happen to be a seasoned gardener, then don’t hold back! You can grow some amazing kitchen garden vegetables like carrots, onions, cauliflower, cabbage, cauliflower, and even try your hand at growing Brussel sprouts. The possibilities are endless!

woman planting
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

3. Set up raised beds

There are many benefits to choosing to grow your plants on raised beds, and we’re here to share the most important ones with you! First off, raised garden beds improve drainage, since they help prevent the formation of water puddles. What’s more, raised gardens are a great choice for rotating your crops throughout the seasons, because it makes it easier to do work like removing roots and weeds and preparing the soil for new plants. However, the key benefit of going for raised beds lies in pest control. Bugs have easier access to plants raised on ground level, making it incredibly hard to keep your garden pest-free. 

An added bonus to raised beds is that you don’t have to find yourself constantly bending to do yard work! That’s especially important if you’re carrying around the household products you’re going to need to tend to your garden. Awesome, right?

4. No space? No problem! Go vertical!

You may or may not know this, but it’s perfectly fine to grow plants vertically. So, how do you go about with setting a vertical kitchen garden? Believe us, it’s easier than you think!

First, make a kitchen garden design for your vertical garden. Then, buy things like cages, baskets and trellises, or install fences or wall planters that support vertical growth. After taking care of that, make sure to pick plants that grow vertically, which are known as vining plants. These plants include tomatoes, cucumber, beans, peas, zucchini, and much more!

Make sure that you pick sturdy materials for your stake and fences that can support the weight of your growing plants. Sometimes, it’s not worth going with vertical-growing plants bearing heavy fruit, like melons or squashes, because you will soon find their support structures toppled over and your kitchen garden project at stake!

Two other benefits of vertical kitchen gardens are improved aeration and easier plant maintenance. Vertically-grown plants are less likely to get fungal infections, while their positioning makes it easier for you to tend to them. It’s really a win-win situation!

5. Use seedlings instead of seeds 

Opting to use seedlings instead of seeds gives you the advantage of not waiting for plants seeds to germinate and grow. When you choose to grow plants from seeds, you take the risk of losing them due to poor germination rates, or from soil-borne pests that damage the seeds and keep them from germinating at all.  By using seedlings, you not only bypass the risky first plant growth stages, but you also get a head start to your kitchen garden at home project, too! 

6. Try Companion Planting

Trying out companion planting, which is the planting of different plants close to each other for reasons such as facilitating pollination or controlling pests, it is also a great way to maximise your available space. This way, you’ll be able to grow more things, and increase your garden’s yield! However, not all plants can be grown together, so you should check out plant growth compatibility. 

For example, you can’t really try to cultivate broccoli and cauliflower near tomatoes and squashes. The same goes for carrots and dill, and cucumbers with potatoes. So, to avoid disappointments, make sure you check which plants can “co-exist peacefully” before arranging them within the vicinity of each other in your fledgling kitchen garden!

Conclusion

We hope that our advice gave you the kitchen garden inspiration you need to start your own garden at home, and enjoy fresh fruits and veggies you helped nourish and grow! We’re confident that if you follow our tips, you’re going to find the process of designing and getting your garden off the ground a breeze!

Let us know in the comments:  have you been thinking of having a kitchen garden? If so, which plants would you like to grow, and why?  

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