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How to Grow a Kitchen Garden You Will Actually Use

How to Grow a Kitchen Garden You Will Actually Use

Growing a Kitchen Garden

It’s time to start planning your gardens for this year. I know the snow is deep (we received 24 inches today) but the days are racing by and if you want to grow the most useful kitchen garden, a little planning is needed.
A kitchen garden is just a basic garden that includes some of your most used cooking herbs and a few vegetables that seem to make it into many of your recipes.
If it’s your first time growing a kitchen garden, keep it simple. Pick three to five of your favorites and enjoy them. I suggest some very simple to grow herbs like chives, basil, rosemary, sweet marjoram, cilantro. These all grow well with very little fuss (yes, even the rosemary. It doesn’t get tricky until you try to overwinter it.) Then, if you are would like a complete kitchen garden, add a tomato and cucumber plant. Tuck in some lettuce and you have a complete meal in a small space.

Tips For The Perfect Kitchen Garden

Here are some tips to make growing a kitchen garden you will actually use, easier.

  1. Grow only what you enjoy eating. If no one eats onions, chives wouldn’t be a good choice.
  2. Keep it simple. Don’t go overboard and lose control of your garden space. Grow a few, healthy plants as its much more enjoyable than fighting with overcrowded or a neglected garden later in the season.
  3. Find the right location. Grow sun-loving herbs in a sunny area, and cool loving plants in another. If you grow your kitchen garden in pots, it makes it easy to move them to just the right spot.Position them to light the area over your herbs for at least 4-6 hours a day, and they will thrive.
 Growing Indoors

A trick to having beautiful herbs on the windowsill is to plant two sets of the same plants. Then, you can rotate a fresh herb to the window when needed, and leave its twin to go back to the optimal growing location.

Final Thoughts on a Kitchen Garden

I grow kitchen gardens all over the property. There really aren’t any rules other than grow what you love and care for the plants to get the best results. Gardening should be enjoyable-no matter what size garden you grow.

 

Pantry Gardening

Photo: TheBittenWord.com

By now, the foods that were put up last year have begun to run out. In our house, we are down to the last few bags of tomato sauce, having used all the cases of tomatoes and sauce in the pantry. We do have hot sauce left, but that is only because it is so much more convenient to open a jar, rather than thaw a bag. It is probably time to say goodbye to the foods that we didn’t like. The apricots were a huge hit when dried, but the canned ones were never eaten. I will be blending them with a stick blender, and making apricot bread. No more canned appricots!

Because it is time to think about this year’s garden, taking stock of what you used and what you had too much of, should be written down somewhere. Make a note to grow more/less, and stick to it! Our eyes are always bigger than our pantry, and that can end up being wasteful.¬†Overwhelmed at what to plant? I recommend starting with three major things your family will use.

For us, that means tomatoes, sweet peppers, and greens. All three things are used almost daily. They are canned, dried, and frozen-keeping them in our diet year round.
What three things will you start with?