Thinking about a kitchen garden…
What is a ‘kitchen garden’? That seems to be the buzz word for what we used to call the vegetable garden. It’s a bit more inclusive, I guess, I’m calling our garden a ‘kitchen garden’ because it’s more than a vegetable garden. We are including fruit trees, grapes, assorted berries and herbs as well as a good supply of vegetables and greens, hopefully year round.
What goes into a good kitchen garden? GOOD PLANNING. These were the things that influenced how we placed and planned our garden.
A well planned garden will be a pleasure for years and good planning can reduce the work and increase the beauty, productivity and value you get from your kitchen garden.
- The kitchen garden is prime real estate! Location, location, location! It needs to be convenient to the house.
- It needs to be located in the sunniest spot you have.
- It needs to be convenient to resources, water, power, if you want lighting or heat mats in cold frames, not too far from your compost bin.
- If critters are a problem in your area, you need to be able to defend your garden. Do you need wire fence, electric fence, bird netting? Fencing can be expensive, make your space count and lay your garden out efficiently.
- Be realistic about what and how much you want to grow. More than half of our garden is perennials, bushes and trees. All they need is some fresh compost every year and some pruning.
- If you are in an area with a short growing season, like we have, you might want to consider planning for cold frames or cloches to extend your growing season. (more about that later)
- Pick your plants realistically. I would love to grow lots of stone fruits, melons, and figs, but they won’t thrive here and space is too valuable to waste with plants that won’t do well.
- Make it easy care! If the garden work isn’t therapy to you and it just represents work, you won’t enjoy it. Raised beds will warm a bit earlier and make a garden look neat and organized. We chose concrete because wood will break down and the chemicals in treated wood aren’t a good choice for food gardens.
- Make it beautiful, just because it is a food garden doesn’t mean it has to be boring or ordinary. A piece of art or a touch of whimsy can add so much to a garden.
Just like any beautiful place, you will be drawn to it. I’m planning a space for a chair (with a pretty pillow) so I will have a nice place to have a cup a tea and listen to the birds and ponder.
More to come…..