A kitchen garden is a garden intended to grow food rather than flowers and other ornamental plants. For the truly ambitious, this can mean planting thousands of square feet with dozens of varieties of plants. Such a garden results in so much produce, that its owner must give food away, or freeze and can it so it doesn’t go to waste. Let’s define a Small Kitchen Garden as one that you and your family will consume as the food becomes ready.
Here’s a short list of variations on a small kitchen garden:
- A modest flowerpot growing your favorite herb
- Window boxes holding an herb garden
- A homemade germinator producing bean sprouts on your countertop
- One or more large planters on your porch or deck holding vegetable or fruit plants
- A small plot in your yard growing rows or clusters of vegetables
A Small Kitchen Garden is Easy
Growing your own food is easy to do, though as busy as we all seem to be, we may shy away from gardening. The key, as with most hobbies, is moderation: plan small and keep it simple, and you can fit at least some gardening into your life. A lot of plants—especially vegetables (and tomatoes which are fruit)—require very little effort, and return enough to offset the expenses of planting and maintenance.
Trent Hamm, author of http://www.thesimpledollar.com offers some useful thoughts about getting started:
“What to plant? …examine the food that you want to eat as a result of the garden.”
He goes on to suggest:
“…don’t just plant whatever you think should be in a garden – instead, let the food you want to eat lead you towards your planting choices.”
A Small Kitchen Garden Saves Money
There are as many reasons for growing a small kitchen garden as there are things to grow in one. Hamm’s motivation is to save money:
“A healthy, well-cared-for main crop tomato plant, like a Burpee’s Big Girl, can easily produce 100 pounds of tomatoes by itself, something that would cost you at least a dollar a pound at the grocery store.”
How much you save depends on the size of your garden and the frugality of your approach to it. Plant foods, insect treatments, seeds, and cultivation all have price tags. You can avoid them by selecting hardy plants, by growing extras to make seeds for future planting, and by making and using your own compost.
But growing your own food is economical even when you don’t work hard at it. You might spend two dollars for fresh basil in a grocery store, and four or five dollars for a pot, soil, and some basil seeds. One planting in late spring could provide all the fresh basil you’d want through the summer and fall.
Read Trent Hamm’s article in its entirety on his web site at: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/03/04/planning-a-kitchen-garden/
A Small Kitchen Garden is Healthful
Gardening, like so many other activities, leads the experienced to comment: “You can’t really appreciate it until you’ve succeeded at it.” Produce that you’ve just harvested from your own plants is highly nutritious, and generally more flavorful than produce you buy at a grocery store. Tomatoes above all else absolutely rock: at a grocery store I’ve never bought a tomato that even remotely resembled a home-grown tomato.
A garden can engage the whole family. In fact, getting youngsters involved may expand their palettes. When I was a kid, I simply wouldn’t eat tomatoes… until a neighbor invited me to help plant his tomato garden. Later that year, I would snack on his tomatoes, though I insisted all others–including the ones my father grew–tasted bad. I also learned to eat pea pods in my neighbor’s garden. It’s possible your kids would be more interested in eating produce they helped to grow than they are in a serving of unspecific origin.
Here are links to other articles that provide encouragement to grow a small kitchen garden:
An Easier Way To Designs For Kitchen Gardens – A small kitchen garden exudes an old-world charm that gift-wraps the entire place in an exotic quotient. The heady mix of fragrant flowers and delectable vegetables and fruits can be quite intoxicating for any gardener. …
What the people say about… Kitchen Gardens – I planted a small kitchen garden all along but I have increased the size now because the prices for food items went up in the shop. I was even forced to increase the prices for my food and I have to hear a lot of comments from customers …
You Can Create Your Own Garden Even If You Live In An Apartment – Even if your apartment doesn’t boast an extended balcony, that’s not a problem, as when it comes to gardens, size doesn’t really seem to matter and even the smallest square can support a small kitchen garden. …
A cat in the kitchen » Blog Archive » My window garden – I have a very small kitchen garden, at the kitchen window. The plants are my babies; sweet cherry tomatoes and nice smelling Basil and Coriander/Cilantro. The Chili pepper plant hasn’t bloomed yet, but I’ m keeping my fingers crossed that I will get some fruit later on.