How To Grow an Organic Kitchen Garden
There is nothing better than stepping outside your kitchen door to pluck fresh ingredients for your favorite recipe. Creating a kitchen herb or vegetable garden can add a whole new level of ease and flavor to your cooking.
Plant your favorite flavors right outside your kitchen door. Need a little basil for your sauce or pesto? Step outside the door for a few fresh sprigs.
Need a few flowers to dress up the dinner table for guests? Step outside for a fresh cut bouquet.
Need a few tomatoes and some cilantro to make some fresh salsa? You got it plant a little outside your back door now, and you'll reap the rewards of fresh salsa ingredients all summer.
Materials you'll need
You don't need many materials for your kitchen garden, just a little elbow grease, and a way to dig your garden. Add a little fresh compost to the space and you're in business.
A pair of garden gloves, a spade, a few seeds or plants, and you're ready to plant your kitchen garden.
If you lack space you can even plant your kitchen garden in containers on windowsills. Pick a few of your favorite herbs, and a tomato plant or two and you'll still have some great ingredients for summer dishes.
Map out the space you'd like to use for your organic kitchen garden.
Grab some chalk, or some stakes and string to draw it out and get a good perspective of how it will look when it's finished.
While you're planning don't forget to take traffic patterns into consideration. Where does the dog head when you let him out the door?
Where do the kids walk on their way to the swingset?
If you place your garden in a high traffic area, it may be difficult to persuade other family members to walk around.
Don't forget to take a look at your future kitchen garden at different times of the day to see if it's getting direct sun, or if it's in the shade. The amount of sun could affect the growth of your garden.
A Kitchen Garden Provides Fresh Herbs All Summer Long
Create a diagram of the space so you know what you have to work with. Decide what your favorite herbs, vegetables, and flowers are.
Create a balance between the number of plants you'd like to include, and the amount of space you have to grow your kitchen garden.
Think about your favorite recipes, and what herbs and vegetables you use the most.
You may have to prioritize your list, you may not have enough room to grow everything you'd like to.
You may just need to scale back. A few herb or tomato plants can produce enough for several summer meals.
Step Outside Your Kitchen Door to Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs
Start digging and planting. Add the plants and seeds you decided on, then stand back and watch your kitchen garden come to life (well you may have to do a little weeding and tending in the process).
Don't forget to stir in a liberal amount of compost to help boost your soils quality. If you don't have fresh compost of your own, look for worm casting, or composted cow manure at a local garden center.
When you're planning and planting your kitchen garden make sure you leave enough room for the mature plants to thrive.
Your plants may be small when you put them in the garden, but by harvest time many will need at least a foot of space.
In a few weeks you'll be stepping outside your door to pick fresh fruits and vegetables.
Image via sxc.hu
Designing The New Kitchen Garden
Gives guidance for creating your kitchen garden, and a history of where kitchen gardens began.
This book contains a wonderful collection of ideas to help you plan out the perfect kitchen garden for you and your space.
What should you include in your organic kitchen garden?
The choice is up to you. Include your favorite herbs, vegetables, and cutting flowers. If you have limited space include the things you use the most when you're cooking. If you have a little extra space include a few flowers for cutting, so you can step outside the door and grab a vase full of flowers for the kitchen table.
Image via istockphoto
Progressive 10-in. Herb Keeper Nothing is more delicious or aromatic than the taste of fresh herbs. Herb Keeper locks in the flavor of fresh herbs for up to three weeks. Stores up to three bunches of fresh herbs at a time. Perfect for fresh parsley, cilantro, oregano, and more. Also doubles as a great way to keep asparagus fresh and hydrated.
Culinary Note: One tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs equals one teaspoon of the same herb, dried.
Kitchen Herb Gardens Have Their Own Day
Additonal Organic Kitchen Garden Resources
Looking for more information? Check out some of the links on this list.