Having a kitchen garden is a great way to stay in shape, enjoy nature and have fresh, local produce, in season from one’s own backyard. Many people think that starting a garden is too difficult or time consuming, or they overestimate what they will be able to handle, either never starting the project to begin with or abandoning it part way through.
With planning and a few tips, it is simple to have a small, backyard garden, or even a garden in containers on a patio for those who live in apartments or other small dwellings. Understanding that you need to start small, what will work in your area and why, as well as how to container garden, you’ll have what you need or a wonderful kitchen garden.
One or two plants of under ten vegetables is the recommended starting point. This is a garden size that can be easily managed by one person, provided that they water everyday and are willing to spend time weeding once a week or so.
A dozen or a half dozen plants will provide enough of a crop for one’s first attempt without being too much for one to handle.
Try Easy Crops First
While one may want to grow high-altitude peppers from Latin America, it is best to start out with basic crops that are known to do well pretty much anywhere. Potatoes, onion, zucchini or summer squash, cucumbers and tomatoes are all great crops for first-time gardeners. Once you can successfully grow basic crops, and learn the different needs of each plant, moving on to more complex vegetables actually makes sense.
Be sure to research any new vegetables. Some have to be planted a year before they will sprout, before a good freeze, others actually take a number of seasons before they produce fruit.
Some places do not have soil conducive to growing vegetables, other people suffer from a lack of space. This is where container gardens come in. Many crops, such as the ones described above, can easily be grown in containers on a sunny porch. Growing in containers allows one to more easily maintain nutrient and moisture levels too, giving the gardener a bit more control over their plant environment. You’ll also want to get yourself some UV stablized shade cloth to help protect your plants. This material is essential to give your vegetables the best chance of surviving the midday sun.
By not overextending yourself, you are more likely to create a right-sized garden that provides what you want and that is also manageable. It is also helpful to start with crops that are more forgiving to beginner’s mistakes. Containers provide the ability to control the environment of your plants, which is helpful particularly in areas where the soil is not very fertile, it also allows for gardening, even for those in small spaces.