How to Start a Kitchen Garden
by Karen Rollins Jun 5, 2023
Many of us are aware of the need to eat healthier and one of the best ways to control what you consume is to grow it yourself.
Kitchen gardens are popular at the moment but if you don’t have green fingers you may not know how to get started.
Below are a few quick tips which should help you get your garden under way, and hopefully also make it easier for you to eat cleaner and better.
The best way to ensure your kitchen garden is successful is to plan big but start small. Decide exactly what plants you want to grow, how much you will eat and organise your garden accordingly.
Get to know the plants you need and when they produce throughout the year, so that you optimise your chances of being successful but minimise waste.
Some vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and squash will keep providing throughout the season so you may not need to plant many of them to fulfil your needs. Other vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, and corn, produce only once.
Organise your space
Decide whether you want to use containers, row cropping, sunken or raised beds for your garden and work out which plants will go where.
No matter which method of growing you choose you will need a space that has full sun for at least six to eight hours a day. The majority of warm-season vegetables need lots of direct sun in order to be fruitful and fight off attacks from insects or diseases.
Most vegetables don’t do well in drought conditions so you’ll need to give them a drink during dry spells but obviously try not to overwater.
Know your soil
Your garden’s success will depend heavily on the soil your vegetables are planted in, so get to know whether your soil is silty, clay-based or sandy.
Most warm season plants need moist, well-drained soil which is rich in organic matter, such as compost or peat moss.
Invest in a soil thermometer to keep a check on the soil temperature which is vital to keep your vegetables alive and well.
Stay on top of weeds
Weeds will compete with your plants for light and nutrients so make sure you stay on top of these determined pests and start with a ‘clean’ weed-free plot.
If you want to grow organic vegetables then you might prefer to dig weeds out by hand, however the best weed killers contain systemic glyphosate which kills right down to the roots, then breaks down in the soil and will not affect subsequent crops.