Planting a kitchen garden can be the perfect way to eat more wholesome vegetables and fruits. But it’s not just vegetables that you need as any kitchen garden would not be complete without a well-developed aromatic bed of herbs.
Plant a Kitchen Garden Close to the House
Make the most out of your garden plot and your time by choosing the right crops for your kitchen garden and planting them close to the doorway of your house. It will be easy for you to step out and cut a few herbs, grab a couple of leaves of lettuce for a salad, or pick some flowers to decorate the table.
The key to creating a kitchen garden is to locate the garden near your house so that you walk past it multiple times a day. This will encourage you to to snip a few herbs, pick a bouquet of flowers, or grab some lettuce or berries for a salad. It’s handy to have it near your walking path because you will likely pull a few weeds on each trip, too.
Traditionally, kitchen gardens, with their structured, ornamental layout, were created using herbs, fruits, vegetables, and flowers, and would have been separated from the rest of the garden. A more modern version could be a garden of any size that is designed and built with the idea of feeding the family with fresh, home-grown vegetables.
The bigger the garden, the more to harvest
If you are looking to become self-sustaining and vegetable-sufficient, then you will need a fair amount of space for your kitchen garden to provide all your family’s needs. But if you only desire to supplement your family’s fresh fruits and vegetables your kitchen garden can be small.
If you convert all your land into vegetable production, including some as a traditional vegetable patch, raised beds, and greenhouses, you can expect to produce a lot of vegetables.
Of course, using all of your land as a garden will not be everyone’s aim, and planting a large garden might not suit your family, especially if you have a young family.
The time you have available, not only for planting and taking care of a garden, but also for using and preserving the produce, will be important.
Before you plant, consider different types of long-term storage to ensure that you can preserve enough of your harvest to meet your needs, even throughout the winter. Will you can your vegetables or freeze them? Will you use a dehydrator?
Less Time Required for a Kitchen Garden
If you stick to using your kitchen garden to produce main ingredients for the kitchen, your produce would tend to be stored in a cool dry shed. These crops need little work once they are harvested and make life a little easier in the kitchen.
If you are short on space, but you want maximum produce to feed you through the winter, you may want to create an easy vegetable garden. This type of garden gives you a lot of vegetables for the space they take up and are not too demanding.
Although these crops are great for producing quantity, they do tend to transfer your attention from the garden to the kitchen because you will need to preserve the abundance.
Storing Veg From Your Kitchen Garden
How do you store your harvest? Other than dry storage, you could also look at growing products that you could use to make preserves such as jams and chutneys. But to be honest, no vegetable garden could provide you with fresh vegetables without the use of a freezer.
And when it comes to freezing vegetables, it’s not just a case of picking your crops and throwing them in the nearest freezer. There is a process. Freezing your vegetable involves:
- and then freezing
Here are some of my guides for preserving food:
- freezing zucchini
- how to make tomato powder and ways to use it
- drying herbs for winter
- tomato canning recipes
- easy ways to freeze tomatoes
Although a lot more work, you could also look at making soups and sauces to freeze. They are so handy to have over the winter!
Keep picking all year
Not all your winter vegetables and herbs will have to come from the freezer. There are quite a few kitchen garden vegetables that will feed you all the way through the cold spell. In addition, if you have a greenhouse, it is quite surprising what you will be able to pick, no matter how cold.
Here are some questions for you:
- How big will you make your kitchen garden?
- Do you have a sunny spot next to your door?
- Will you plant a kitchen garden to mostly feed your family now?
- Or do you want to be able to store and preserve enough fresh grown fruits and vegetables to feed your family year round?
To learn more about growing vegetables, check out our How To Grow Vegetables A to Z guide (coming soon).