Kitchen Garden

 

Although our family moved many times when my siblings and I were young, Mom and Dad usually managed to have a garden. Sometimes we had a large garden plot, but other times we simply had a kitchen garden and we grew herbs and vegetables in containers. No matter the size of our yard—or lack of yard—Mom and Dad always managed to grow some type of fresh food. In instances where we could not garden, we visited the you-pick farms, picked our fruits and vegetables, and then brought them home to prepare them for canning and freezing.

Creating a kitchen garden can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. You may wish to make a garden plot in your yard, or use container gardening if you are an apartment dweller. Whichever type of garden you choose, ideally your garden should be close to your kitchen so you can gather what you need as you are cooking. The basic requirements for creating a kitchen garden are:

  • Choose a planting site that receives at least eight hours of sunshine each day. Plant tall plants behind short plants so that the tall plants won't block the short plants from receiving sunlight.
  • Choose a growing site close to a source of water. Unless you have a very long water hose, or you don't mind toting water in a bucket, make sure that you plant close to a source of water.
  • Make sure that the growing soil is fertile. If your soil is sandy or full of clay, adjust the balance to make a favorable growing environment for your plants.
  • Once you've met those requirements, decide what you want to grow. Keep in mind that while some plants grow well in containers, others do not. For instance, while tomatoes, peppers, and beans tolerate growing in pots, blackberries or raspberries will not thrive in container gardens. If you've limited space, you can grow vegetables for your kitchen garden in large containers, such as Rubbermaid tubs. Some types of vegetables that you can grow in a container kitchen garden are lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, peas, onions, beans, potatoes, and eggplant.

    You can also grow herbs as part of your kitchen garden. Consider growing them in tiny clay pots inside of your kitchen on your windowsill or a sunny part of your kitchen counter. Use fresh herbs such as basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, and parsley while cooking. You will notice a difference in the taste of your food when using fresh herbs as opposed to dried herbs bought from the grocery store.

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