Now, if you’re anything like me, you’d assume a kitchen garden consists of a chilli plant found at your local supermarket and not much else. But, there’s so much more to it than that. Whether it be indoor or outdoor, this French originating concept has been around for centuries! In the blog, I’m going to run through the dos and don’ts of this on-trend gardening style packed with hints and tips like why using mulch is so important.
What is a Kitchen Garden?
Upon researching for our gift blog (see here), I stumbled upon the concept of Kitchen Gardening. Don’t worry, I was confused too. It’s a French style of gardening (known as a potager) and has been practised for centuries. Moreover, a 1994 survey in France determined 23% of their fruit/veg is homegrown. This “romantic” style of gardening has come back on trend recently. It’s no surprise that sales of vegetable seeds have overtaken flower seeds. There are two main varieties, both indoor and outdoor.
Furthermore, the indoor Kitchen Garden usually consists of herbs and regrowing vegetable scraps. For herb gardening, check out this handy good housekeeping guide. For regrowing scraps, check out Katie Elzer-Peters’ book on the topic.
But today we’re focusing on the outdoor variety of Kitchen Gardening. Imagine being able to serve the freshest possible vegetables all year-round? Great right! Rather than taking place in the kitchen, this is designed for the kitchen. It is typically smaller and requires more tending to function, it also places a focus on aesthetics and incorporating the garden as a feature of the home. Designed with symmetrical flower beds and aesthetically pleasing planting – they’re both pretty and purposeful.
Getting started on your Kitchen Garden
You want the garden to seem as though it’s always been there. Try to incorporate other elements such as a fence or wall. Early spring is the best time to begin creating your kitchen garden. Moreover, you need to consider the sun. Ideally, creating your garden somewhere that gets the morning sun or direct sunlight for 6-8 hours. If that’s not possible, choose crops that thrive in the shade. Think cherries, blackberries, raspberries etc. Furthermore, you need to account for wind protection. Ideally a picket fence, hedge or windbreaker will ensure they’re safe.
Furthermore, you want your kitchen garden to be the heart of your outdoor home. Think of planting it somewhere you’re happy to spend a lot of time in.
For an easy life for both you and your plants, consider raised flower beds. Raised beds are ideal for smaller plots, they’re a good option for lower quality soil. They provide drainage, increase soil temperature and prevent soil compaction. Moreover, they act as a deterrent for pests. If you add wooden planks or sleepers you can section off areas of your kitchen garden. If you’re interested in making your own wooden planks or sleepers – check out this blog! Raised beds aren’t a crucial part of kitchen gardening, but they make it enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing.
What to plant?
A lot of a little, or a little of a lot – the choice is yours. Plan to grow any larger plants in the center, medium plants to the side and then smaller ones along the edge. Grow what you love, make a list of your favourite edible plants and plant those. If you plant what you enjoy, you’ll love the process. Furthermore, if space is tight, consider growing dwarf varieties. Aim for successive crops throughout the season (we’ll touch on this later). If you want to maximise your return, grow high value crops. Moreover, if you’ve got green fingered pals – do seed swaps with family.
Intuitive growing helps ensure your flowers flourish, intuitive planting simply means replicate how the plants would look in the wild. This helps prevent pests and weed, but also helps distribute water evenly.
The importance of successive planting cannot be stressed enough, especially if space is tight. Be aware of growing season, there are 12 months with different growing requirements. Being aware of these, planting 1 season in advance will mean that you’ll always be able to get something back from your kitchen garden.
Moreover, it’s important to know the quality of your soil. Why? Because your plants will most likely benefit from organic matter, like mulch. Why lose plants to scorching summers or wicked winters – this simple solution helps prevent that. Moreover, it slowly releases nutrients and retains up to 70% more water than unmulched soil – your plants deserve an evening drink too! Want to make your own? Check out our mulchers here.
Benefits of Kitchen Gardening
Modern-day life has disassociated us from where our food comes from. But by growing your own, you’re establishing that relationship. Not only that, but you’re helping the environment and being more sustainable. Imagine being able to feed your family on crops you’ve grown – incredible. Plus, you’re getting outside breathing in the fresh air and getting a sweat on – who needs a gym! Moreover, now you’ve got your kitchen garden – what about an organic one? Check out our blog on how to grow one here.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog! If you’ve been inspired to grow your own kitchen garden – let us know! Send us pictures – we’d love to see what you’ve been up too! Moreover, check out our social medias and get in touch!