A well-planned kitchen garden is a beautiful edition to your yard and an enticing way to incorporate more fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs into your diet.
The following tips will help you plan a productive and practical kitchen garden that will make your yard beautiful and your table filled with fresh organically grown produce.
Tip #1: Pick the Perfect Spot
When choosing a location for your kitchen garden you obviously want a place that is close to your kitchen, so it is easy to reach while you are preparing meals.
You should also take into consideration the kind of environment your plants prefer. Choose a sunny location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. If you live in a really hot climate, you may find a bit of afternoon shade is nice to have, as well.
And don't forget to ensure the location has easy access to water. Who wants to drag a heavy garden hose around or lug watering can after watering can around your yard in order to keep your plants hydrated.
This is the biggest challenge for me. The ideal choice would be the patio right off of the kitchen, except it only gets about 3-4 hours of morning sun and then my house blocks it the rest of the day.
Tip #2: Pick Your Plants
The easiest way to decide what you want to grow in your kitchen garden is to think about what you like to cook.
Kids can’t get enough of your homemade salsa? Plan to have a steady supply of fresh cilantro and juicy tomatoes nearby. Have a penchant for pesto? Make sure to plant a few basil plants and some garlic as well.
You want to stock your kitchen garden with the fruits, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers you use in your day-to-day cooking. These are the items you will want to have convenient access to throughout the growing season.
Items you plan freeze, can or otherwise preserve for later use are ideal for your regular vegetable garden.
Herbs, tomatoes and maybe a pepper plant or two are a must for me. Some lettuces and greens (like kale) are also great for a quick salad.
Tip #3: Make the Most of the Space You Have
Due to their proximity to the house, many kitchen gardens are confined to a relatively small space. If your proposed kitchen garden has a small overall footprint, don’t get discouraged. Instead – look up!
Take advantage of as much vertical space as possible to maximize your growing area. Consider hanging baskets, trellisses, plant teepees and the like to grow up instead of out.
If your potager has a blank wall with good sun exposure, you could add a ladder-like series of shelves for pots of herbs.
Tip #4: Make It Beautiful
Your kitchen garden is an extension of your home and will likely be visible to your family and guests. So, making the area as attractive as possible just makes good sense.
Balance, symmetry and repetition are components of any good garden design. To incorporate balance and symmetry into your potager, try adding two matching brightly colored containers filled with herbs and place them on each side of the entrance.
For repetition, add multiples of the same plants throughout the garden. For example, a group of 3 cherry tomato plants in attractive containers will have a stronger visual impact than a single plant.
You can also create a sense of order by planting lovely borders of edible flowers or fragrant herbs along walkways. People often bump my sage plants as they walk by them sending a lovely fragrance thoughout the area.
Add some whimsy with sculptures and garden art:
Make your kitchen garden inviting as well as functional so you want to spend more time in an area that nourishes both your body and soul.