Build your kitchen garden and decrease your carbon footprint.
A few months back, I had published a lens "Towards a greener world" where I discussed the advantages of having your kitchen garden for green living. I am convinced that time has come to insist on stopping burning fossil fuels to ship vegetables and fruits from one remote corner of the world to the other. Large business houses will not like it so only way to reduce it, is by ignoring vegetables available in the super markets as much as possible. Just imagine, if 75% of the houses in Wellington, New Zealand start growing their own vegetables and start having barter system to share the vegetables, I am sure it will create some effect on the over all destabilizing natural environment.
Then I thought, only writing is not sufficient. I will have to set an example and hence I took this initiative to start my own little Kitchen garden. Remember, I am not an expert in gardening. On the contrary, I am a complete novice and took lots of help from our local garden shop to start this adventure. I started by growing, silver beet, cucumber, pumpkin, strawberry etc. I specially grew silver beet as they are quite easy to grow and it will keep you motivated if other veggies are letting you down in the beginning.
Basic bed preparation
Are "raised garden beds" must?
I began my quest to have my own kitchen garden by digging a part of the lawn. I chose the location in such a way that it should be easy to water the plants and the area must be sunny. First I thought of making a real raised garden bed but I found it too labor intensive so instead I used, leftover bathroom tiles to make a sort of division between the lawn and the kitchen bed. (My recent bathroom came quite handy as we were left with a huge quantity of unused tiles. However if you are to particular about raised garden beds, a few very good kits are available on amazon.
Next I went to local garden shop and bought 40 Ltrs. of organic potting mix and mixed it thoroughly with the existing soil.
raised garden beds on amazon - Try these raised garden bed kits if you are not an expert in creating a good garden bed.
Of course, you may select the vegetable of your choice that wish to grow. But if you are a beginner like me, I insist that you select vegetables that are easy to grow and require low maintenance. I say that because you require lots of motivation to get involved fully in creating your own kitchen garden. If in the beginning, nothing comes out of your veggie garden, you loose motivation and enthusiasm to continue further.
I discussed this with my local garden shop and they advised to go for silver beet, herbs like mint, coriander, chives, cucumber etc. Choice of low maintenance veggie will also depend on climate of your country. Choice given above is for Wellington in New Zealand.
So started my great little kitchen garden with silver beet, mint, strawberry and cucumber. I added pumpkin and lemon just to be a bit adventurous.
Also, quality of seeds is very important for healthier growth of your veggies and amazon is a very good place to buy your quality seeds.
Initial days of my Kitchen bed garden
I followed all the instructions that came with the seeds and with regular watering, little plants started to germinate. A few things worth noting was that plants like pumpkin first need to be sown in a pot and once seedlings come out, they may be planted in the kitchen bed. It is really exciting when you see the plants germinating for the first time in your own kitchen bed. As I was rightly advised, you may see in the picture that silver beets really came up quite fast and it was within a month when we used our own grown veggies in our kitchen.
Accessories and tools required for gardening.
Our tools must be perfect to start building our kitchen garden. You may save money anywhere but do not ever save in tools.
Story of my little lemon tree
Two years back I planted a lemon plant in a pot. I waited for a few months for it to grow neither it died nor it grew. I thought, may be it is not getting enough nutrients because of our small pot, so I planted it in one corner of our garden. Again, I waited for a few months but without any luck. It looked as if this plant has frozen in time. It was neither dieing nor growing. Later, it shred all its leaves also.
I discussed this my local garden shop and they said it happens with some plants and instead of wasting time plant a new one.
Anyway, instead of uprooting it, I just left it where it was. Two years passed and the condition of this plant remained same. I always felt as if it is somehow fighting not to die.
Recently when I thought of making my kitchen garden, I saved a space in the corner of the kitchen bed and fed this plant with manures along with other plants.
To my surprise and joy, within a few days it came up with 5-6 healthy looking delicate leaves. If you are passionate about gardening, health of your plants is a challenge for you. You start taking care of these plants as if they re your kids. Finally I am happy that I could save this lemon plant from dieing. Now, I am waiting to see if it starts growing.
Harvesting is the best part of your efforts in the kitchen garden because this is the time when you see the result of your hard work. In almost every country harvesting time is associated with lots of fun, singing and dancing.
Within a very short time since I started working in my kitchen garden, I saw the first result when I got my first lot of silver beets. Believe me guys, it is real fun and the kind of satisfaction you get when you harvest your veggies is unparalleled.
Got this bunch in the first lot.
Finally on the table waiting for the cool recipe
Veggies in the pot
Do not worry if you don't have the luxury of a garden to grow your own veggies. Actually, it is easier to grow veggies in the pot. I have tried them in the pot and believe me if I can do it then anybody can do it.
Here are a few examples.