The Kitchen Container Garden
great for tomatoes
The Gardener's Kitchen
In these times growing your own food may be a truly revolutionary act. Growing your own food is a direct response to the globalization of the food industry that may be gaining more control over every aspect of the food production system.
Growing your own food is also revolutionary as it changes how we view food; the shift from being a consumer to a producer-consumer is indeed powerful.
When you grow your potatoes or beans for example, you take direct control over the, or at least some of the food, you eat and prepare for others to eat.
The kitchen garden is designed with just this purpose in mind feeding the family. You do not need a large space to grow food, but, the size of the space available will, to an extent, determine how much you can grow.
If you gardening space is limited you can use containers and grow your plants vertically as there are a number of trellises and other means sold that will support your tomatoes, peas, cucumbers and zucchini, for example.
This year I am embarking on a new venture; a neighbour and I are co-gardening, that is we are gardening together in her backyard and we will be doing so in containers. We were able to get, at one dollar each a number of containers that are approximately 30 inches high and 15 inches across, which means they are ideal for tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for example.
We also have smaller containers that are about eight inches across and six deep for some herbs and edible flowers. The co-garden will be a kitchen garden as all we will grow in it will be used in the kitchen.
This co-gardening project is just a start and we hope to add other gardeners to the site next year. The space is large enough for at least three other gardeners.
I will also have a kitchen garden of my own, the containers will be on my deck which is accessible through the sliding doors off the dining room and right next to the kitchen, so I will not have to walk far to care for, and harvest the crops.
The basics of container kitchen gardening are similar to growing the food directly in a garden bed. You need to make sure the plants get enough sunlight, water and air and you need to feed the soil; compost and other organic matter are the keys to healthy soil.
If you are just starting out peas, salad greens, and a selection of herbs will not take up much space, 4-5 containers at most. It is always better to start small and expand as you learn.
If you want to add food value then the Jerusalem artichoke is a good plant for the kitchen container garden. The Jerusalem artichoke also known as the sunchoke is native to the eastern United States from main west to North Dakota and south to northern Florida and Texas.
The tuber of the sunchoke can be used like potatoes.
The plant choices are yours to make be sure to use the right size container and place it where the plant gets the sun that it needs. You may need to water the container kitchen garden more often than a garden bed so get in the habit of checking the soil to see if water is needed, while doing that look for any unwelcome visitors. A few minutes spent looking over your garden can save your supper.
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I am not talking about growing hydroponically which is an option but using natural light to keep your family supplied in some fresh produce all year round.