Don't let anybody intimidate you into believing that vegetables must be grown in a vegetable bed; flowers must be grown in a flower bed and grass only in a neat little lawn. In fact, there are no rules where an edible garden is concerned. All you need is some imagination, a small yard, seeds and/or small plants. Even your budget need not be large, as you can continue to add to your cottage garden each year. Building a garden in your kitchen is much easier than you imagine.
Even if you live in a one bedroom apartment in the middle of a city you can create a garden that will give you delicious food. There are a few good ways to get around cramped space. Container gardens are a simple idea that can work in a variety of ways. Place window boxes filled with herbs or lettuce for easy access to fresh ingredients. Half a whisky barrel makes an excellent bed for a tomato plant, a selection of greens or herbs.
Build a Garden in Your Kitchen
Pick up large earthenware containers from a gardening store to maximize space on patios and small yards. Be sure the container has drainage holes to let water out of the container. Raised beds provide a great way to incorporate variety into your garden, although it does take a bit of space. A popular configuration for raised beds is called a four square; a 30x30 foot space of four vegetable beds bordered by a three foot-wide herb bed with paths in between the beds to provide space for maintenance.
Great Selections for Your Garden
Popular and tasty greens include the “Black Seeded Simpson,” “Red Oak leaf,” and “Salad Bowl,” varieties of lettuce. Arugula (“Rocket”) provides a delicious addition to any garden as does “Savoy” spinach. The “Louisiana Green Oval” variety of eggplant as well as butternut, yellow crookneck and zucchini squash are good choices for an enterprising cook. An herb garden filled with basil, oregano, dill, chives and mint provides fresh seasoning for dishes.
Tips for Planting
If you’re planting in your own soil make sure to check the pH level before planting to make sure the acidity in the soil can support the plants. Label plants clearly, especially if you are planting more than one variety of the same plant. Consult the distributor of the seed packet to see how much sun and water plants need. The amount of sunlight plants need varies; take a walk around your property to determine which areas get the most light.
Kitchen gardens and fresh produce through farmers markets and CSA farms will enable you to provide a cost-effective way to feed yourself and your family. Utilize the wealth of resources now available for starting gardens and navigating community supported markets for a taste-filled spring and summer.
If you build a garden in your kitchen, be prepared to spend about a couple of hours a weeks in maintaining your edible garden but enjoy the rest of the time basking in the knowledge of a good job well done.