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Planning a Kitchen Garden


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Some might wonder why I’m putting up a post on PLANNING gardens in late summer. Personally, I think late summer is an ideal time for planning a garden: the facts of what your garden did (or didn’t do) are  fresh. Roadside stands are still selling the fruits and vegetables you want to grow next year. The taste of what you want is in your mouth.

Kitchen gardens are not my area of expertise, so only the picture is mine.  Marco from Live to Garden  believes in small, manageable kitchen gardens that are easy to keep up and delectable to eat from. And he’s your writer from now on.

A kitchen garden allows you to enjoy the freshest, most delicious vegetables. You can grow the varieties of vegetables that are special to your area, or the ones you can’t find in the store but really like, or maybe even something you’ve heard about and always wanted to try. It’s a satisfying way to join the trend of eating what grows in your immediate area.
The kitchen garden has been around for quite some time. These gardens became popular during the World Wars, where most of the food grown in these gardens was sent overseas to soldiers in battle. You can see that from the beginning, the kitchen garden were meant to do good for us gardeners. In more modern times the luster of this type of gardening has faded as we can now buy all of our food from grocery stores. But now, high prices and lack of environmentally friendly farming practices has made growing your own food popular again.

Let’s look at how to plan for your kitchen garden.

If you have done some research on these types of garden plans, you may feel overwhelmed by how large these gardens can appear. You may even feel that in order to achieve the best success, you may need a large kitchen garden. Do not fret. The best thing for you to do is to start with a small, manageable kitchen garden.

If you are starting from scratch it is important to ensure you have clean soil and you have weeded. Any weeds left in the garden may harm the vegetables as they grow. Next, select only the vegetables you want to grow. Choosing the vegetables that you know you will use is an excellent way to start planning your garden, as you will be more inclined to care for it. It is also important to include herbs as landscaping plants in your garden, as these plants protect the vegetables from pests, and when they flower they add a touch of beauty. Of course, herbs also work very well as seasonings for many of the foods you will be eating with the vegetables you grow in your kitchen garden.

When it comes to positioning your kitchen garden, place it close to the house. If it is too far away from your home you may find yourself less motivated to tend to the garden. You may also find that because the garden is too far away, you will have a more difficult time monitoring the progress of the vegetables.

Remember that in order for your garden to achieve the most success, your vegetables will require at least 8 hours of sunlight per day.

The size of your kitchen garden depends on several factors: who is eating, how much they’re eating, and what vegetables you want to grow (squash can take up a lot of room).  If you are just starting a kitchen garden, it’s important you keep the garden to a size that is below 25’X25′.  That way, the work is kept to a minimum and the fun is at a maximum.

If you are concerned about pests, place a garden fence around the garden.

In order to properly care for your kitchen garden, be sure that you check the plants twice weekly at the very least. When seedlings are young, or the weather is extra hot, you may need to check more often.

Your kitchen garden will bring you much happiness and excellent nourishment. Take care of your garden and it will definitely take care of you.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Missy September 4, 2010, 1:25 pm

    Great advice. My son gave me a book called A History of the Kitchen Garden by Susan Campbell. Maybe you’d like it. I found it very interesting.

  • Cyd September 9, 2010, 10:52 am

    You are right about everything being fresh in your mind at the end of summer. Are you planning a small garden at your new place? Still waiting on those pumpkins I’ll take pics before the frost.

  • catmint September 9, 2010, 3:50 pm

    Hi Pomona, thanks for this detailed thorough post. Why not plan all the year round? Sometimes the pleasure is in the plan more than the execution?????? cheers, catmint.

  • Pomona Belvedere September 9, 2010, 5:19 pm

    Well, at least I always get to have an ideal garden in my plan. Even if it never materializes, I had the dream.

    Missy, the History of the Kitchen Garden sounds like a great read.

    Cyd, looking forward to pictures of frost on the pumpkin…

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