PLANT A KITCHEN GARDEN…..these are relatively small gardens that provides super easy access to fresh lettuces, greens and vegetables during meal preparation.
Plus, they are beautiful!!!
These small gardens are usually located just outside the kitchen or porch door. They differ from the mainstay crops in a larger vegetable gardens. Lettuces, spinach, greens, scallions, shallots, celery, tomatoes, carrots are all crops that can be grown in a Kitchen Garden.
In days gone by when growing your own food was a necessity, the larger residential gardens held the majority of the crops like potatoes, corn, carrots, onions, beets and turnips. These fields were usually away from the the main house and were not convenient for easy gathering just before meal preparation.
Kitchen Gardens became the rage to easily gather fresh lettuces and greens for salads plus side vegetables such as fingerling carrots or peas and beans.
Here are some ideas for your own garden. Now, remember, you can plant your garden in a small area just outside your kitchen door or in pots on your deck, patio or balcony.
I have grown wonderful lettuce in pots!
The whole idea is to make it fairly small and very accessible as a means of gathering fresh food on a daily basis……just prior to meal preparation!
Step One: Determine the Best Location:
Find an area with adequate sunshine of at least 6 hours a day; 8 hours of sunshine is better, but 6 hours will be enough.
Related Post: How to Pick Your Garden Location
Step Two: Decide What you Want to Plant
- Think about planting Lettuces
Cut and Come Again Lettuce Varieties like: Red Sails or Red Oak Leaf and Black Seeded Simpson are both perfect for small salad gardens. Both of these are old standbys; easy to grow and great producers. If you are new to gardening, it is a great idea to start with easy to grow varieties. I highly recommend all of these. Red Sails is a beautiful red tipped lettuce while Black Seeded Simpson is a ruffled hardy green leaf lettuce.
- Lettuce Baby Mesclun Gourmet Mixes are also fun to grow and will give you both a nice variety and colorful harvest.
These particular lettuces can be harvested by pinching off the larger leaves and letting the smaller ones continue growing or simply trimming an entire section by cutting the row down to approximately 2 inches above the ground. Do not pull the plants if you want them to continue growing.
Simply trim the entire plant back but leave at least 2 inches of the lettuce plant. These plants will continue growing and can be harvested again in about 10 days. It is a marvelous way to have lettuce all season long! Remember: Cut and Come Again!
- Radishes are a wonderfully easy crop to grow in your small garden. French Breakfast Radishes are wonderful. But, think about Easter Egg Radishes which include at least 4 color variations of radishes…… so fun and easy to grow. These are so fun and easy to grow!!!
- Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach is another easy crop to grow. To harvest spinach for salads, simply pinch off the larger leaves and allow the smaller leaves to continue growing.
- Kale and Chard are both great greens to grow in your Kitchen Garden.
- Snow Peas or Snap Peas are also easy to grow. These can be planted early in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked. Once they start producing, keep picking both of these and they will continue producing. Snow peas and Snap Peas are perfect additions to fresh summer time salads!
- Scallions (green onions) are wonderful in your small garden. These are super easy to grow and perfect for stir-fry, vegetable trays and anytime you want fresh onion flavor. These can be direct seeded in your small garden plot.
- Tiny Tim Tomatoes are one of my favorites for small gardens or pots. These are easy to grow and are prolific. Tiny Tim Tomatoes are a determinate variety which means the only grow to a certain height. Indeterminate tomato plants continually grow and will need to be staked. Determinate tomato varieties are perfect for small areas, porches, patios and decks as they only grow to a certain height.
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- Napoli Carrots are a fast growing variety. They can be harvested as small fingerlings size carrots; they are super sweet and delicious! If you end up with too many, take a look at this easy way to Store Your Carrots for Winter!!!! You will be surprised at this successful method. So easy that anyone can do this!!
- Also, try some Beets for extra nutritious greens!
Step Three: Get Creative when designing your garden space!!
Get out your paper and pencil and start designing your space. Instead of just linear rows, create variation with some rows going horizontal and some going vertical. Also, alternate your red and green lettuces to add variation. (and, do not forgot to plant a few marigolds and nasturtiums here and there for interest!) Plus, Sunflowers will add a splash of color!!!
I love my vegetable gardens to be beautiful……so make sure you consider moving your rows around a little to create interest…..you will be glad you did as each time to go out to pick your fresh greens, it will brings a sense of pride and joy!!
This is your garden space! Make it the way you want……. ♥
Also, remember……you can simply plant in planters like this:
Step Four: Start Planting
I realize this might be a little late for some gardeners but we actually had snow last night! So there is time……I am always pushing the envelopes. Trying new things and ideas. Even if it seems a bit late for some veggies, lettuces, spinach, radishes, scallions…….you can still plant them as they all grow fast. Some lettuces are ready to pick in 30 days as baby lettuce!
Now, consider how you are going to plant your seeds by either starting them indoors or direct seed into your garden soil or flower pots. As you are preparing your soil, add an organic all purpose fertilizer or compost to your dirt. Plant your seeds according to the individual instructions. For potted plantings, using a balanced planting medium is the best. I really encourage you to use organic potting soil if possible for your lettuces, greens and veggies.
Related Post: 10 Garden Seed Starting Ideas
Do Not Forget to Get Your Salad Spinner!
This is the one I use and I really like it!!! Find something similar for washing and crisping all your fresh greens and lettuces: