Harvesting fruits and vegetables from your kitchen garden is a real treat. It is a thrill to attend to your own crops. Once they become fully grown they are ready to be brought in, fresh from the garden, deliciously prepared, and placed on the table, ready to be eaten and, fully enjoyed. There is nothing that compares to what a first time gardener experiences when he or she picks, washes and prepares what he or she has lovingly watched grow and ripen right in front of his or her own eyes. It all starts with planning your crop. You can begin your research by going on the Internet and investigating seed mail order catalogues to consider what herbs, veggies and flowers you will be growing in the appropriate upcoming season.
What follows are a few basic questions with some fundamental answers that will hopefully inspire you to tend a first time kitchen garden of your own if, you have yet, discovered this delightful experience for yourself already.
Q & A’s
Q: What are the easiest seeds to sow?
A: The larger ones are best – peas, beans, spinach and onion /garlic sets and, make certain that the seeds are inexpensive and abundant.
Q: What types of plants require the least amount of fuss?
A: beans, zucchini, celery and pumpkins
Q: Why are tomatoes a little more of a challenge for the virgin gardener?
A: Merely because, it is necessary to build a support structure for them and keep pinching them out.
Q: What other criteria is good to follow?
A: Keep it simple. It is important for a person’s first kitchen garden to be a pleasurable experience and not a chore.
Q: How can a new gardener reduce inevitable challenges with pest control?
A: There are disease-resistant varieties and the Horticultural Society carries out trials where hundreds of plants are grown and tested for pest resistance and the ease of growing which should be noted in the seed catalogues you preview.
Q: What is a garden diary? And, how is it used?
A: It is a journal that a kitchen gardener keeps in which they record a history of what was grown in their garden each season. It helps the garden to flourish by identifying what crops did well and which should be planted again. It is also a place to store photographs of one’s impressive harvests and other interesting memorabilia related to the gardening experience to share with friends and family.
Q: Which vegetables will mature very quickly throughout the growing season (every 2-4 weeks)? And, if planted routinely will yield a continual supply?
A: Try radishes, spinach, French beans and spring onions (scallions), leaf lettuces, arugula, oriental leaves and bok choy.
Q: What planting techniques can the first time gardener use that will improve the health of his or her crops?
A: To benefit the most from sun exposure, rows within beds should run north to south. Planting tall crops on the north side of other crops will also help minimize shade.
Q: What is companion planting? And, how is it helpful?
A: Companion planting is when certain plants are placed next to one another because they make good neighbors. It is beneficial to consider this form of planting for the following reasons:
- A. It attracts insects to pollinate crops as well as those whose larvae will eat aphids (an insect that sucks sap from plants and transfers viruses from plant to plant) in addition to deterring other pests.
- B. It is believed, but not proven yet, that some plants grow better when they are next to other plants
- C. Mixed planting can help to throw off predator insects by masking the more vulnerable plants natural scents
Q: What other considerations should the first time gardener be mindful of when planting his or her kitchen garden?
A: He or she should take into account the conditions that the plants will have to grow in such as: type of shelter that can be provided to protect the plants from various microclimates, sensitivity to cold temperatures and extreme heat, prevailing winds, frost pockets (two most important dates are the first and the last period of unexpected frosts), slopes, and shade. For those who will have small gardens that will be enclosed by brick or cement walls, they will have to take into account that these barriers can be up to several degrees hotter come nightfall and that they will have a dry zone along the base that will demand additional watering.
Q. What type of garden paraphernalia will be needed to get started? And, what is the most important of all the tools?
A. Even though garden supply retailers will recommend many tools to the naïve first time gardener what really is actually required to get started gardening is minimal. Container gardeners will need little more than a trowel (a short-handled and curved tapering blade that they can use for making holes to put plants and seedlings in and for other light digging work) and, of course, a watering can. What really matters is that one selects good quality tools such as; excellent pruning shears, water butts and barrels in which to collect rain and grey water, as well as a rake to prepare a smooth seed bed; a hoe for weeding, a garden line – two sticks and a length of string to make straight rows and edges. Other gardening items might be a special hat made from sun protective fabric and, special gloves and gardening boots with warm socks for winter.
Other Recommended Reading Sources About Kitchen Gardening Are:
The book: “The Family Kitchen Garden” by Karen Liebreich, Jutta Wagner, and Annette Wendland
The book “The Organic Kitchen Garden” by Juliet Roberts
Grow Your Own – The Edible Garden Trend
Wearing Suitable Gardening Attire
Kitchen Gardeners – A Global Community about sustainable local food systems –
Introduction to Vegetable Gardening
Organic Gardening on Anthony’s Balcony in England
Gardening with a Homemade Irrigation system on an Australian Balcony
How to Start your Vegetable Seeds Indoors – The Bayou Gardener