Do you have a kitchen garden or is part of your garden designed to bring food to your table? I’ve grown herbs in the past and currently have strawberries growing in a hanging basket on my balcony. Whether you are already growing food or thinking about it, here is a collaborative post on how to perfect your small kitchen garden.
A kitchen garden can work in any size of plot and even if you only have a few square meters to play with, you can get a lot out of your land. The key to success is knowing what will work in your small space and which plants will sit together happily, making the most of your soil.
Though you might think that there is only one way to grow edible plants, in long rows widely sewn, there is actually a more pleasing way you can set out your garden. All you need to do is set aside your preconceptions of what a kitchen garden should be and use a little bit of imagination. Even the weathervane collection from Cuckooland shows how tradition can be modernized!
Vertical Planting: Salad Leaves, Herbs, and Strawberries
When you have a small garden, soil space is likely to be at a premium. But your land isn’t the only way to grow plants: a vertical garden is easy and cheap to achieve with minimal work. You can use upturned palettes to create planting spaces, embed posts into the ground and use frames to hang hanging baskets and fix planters to your garden wall.
Salad leaves, herbs, and strawberries are all fine with this vertical arrangement as they have quite shallow roots and aren’t too heavy for your structures. Plus, since they are quite small, when it comes to harvesting, you won’t put your back out reaching up to gather your crops. Hanging baskets are also lovely for flowers like marigolds and chamomile which made delicious herbal tea and homemade remedies.
When planting crops, it seems that there are a lot of rules about creating perfectly straight lines for seeds and only growing one crop at a time. Of course, this is silly and wasteful to the small kitchen gardener and we know that plants can thrive together. All you need to know is which vegetables are happy in each other’s company.
For example, radishes work well with carrots because the radishes will break ground before the carrots, giving them a head start. And, when you are ready to harvest your radishes, you will be giving your carrots a little bit more room to grow as they fluff out. Knowing which plants to pair is also an aesthetic choice, though. As you are presumably not planning to live entirely from your little patch of land, you can create something beautiful and edible all year round.
Image Credit: Pxhere
Don’t be Afraid to Experiment
When you only have a small area, sticking to safe options is very tempting since you know exactly what the results will be every time. But this is a bit boring, isn’t it?
Having a small garden should be about experimenting with different ideas and figuring out new ways to make the most of your resources. Try vertical gardening and see how it works out. Give companion gardening a go to see whether two crops or plants will work well together. Let your imagination run wild.
Have you used any of these methods in your kitchen garden? If not, what do you have growing in your garden that you can use in the kitchen? I would love to know in the comments section below.
We have a small garden and its ugly. It puts me off doing anything with it but I want to do something – lol – does that even make sense 🙂
It does make sense! I want to do so much with my garden but I don’t have a lot of space, so I work with what I have. If you are looking for ways to make your garden look visually more appealing, check out How to Make Your Garden More Aesthetically Pleasing.
I think ALL gardening should be about experimenting and having fun. Lovely post.
Good point! I learn a little more each time I care for my little balcony garden, experimenting with new plants and different ways to grow and display them. Thanks for commenting!
Lovely post Ann!
Firstly thank you for linking to #MyGloriousGardens in March. It’s always great to read your posts. I expect many gardeners can relate to this post; especially in the U.K. where new build houses are subject to small plots and therefore, small gardens. I love your vertical planter ideas and I often grow cherry tomatoes or strawberries in hanging baskets as they are so easy to care for this way.
I will post a round up post later in the month. Take care now.
Thank you for stopping by! I grow strawberries in hanging baskets as well. I don’t have much more room to place them anywhere else and they seem to be happy hanging in the sun. I’m glad you can relate and I can’t wait to see what’s in store at next months #MyGloriousGardens.
Carolee Snyder says
When my potager is neat and tidy, I find it so much more pleasurable to work there. Coming back from vacation is always so frustrating, because the beauty is marred by dead plants, weeds, and bug holes everywhere and I have to force myself not to just throw in the towel, but to bring it back to beauty! Nice article
Thank you! I’m sure your potager will look beautiful soon enough! Just work on a little section here and there. I feel so much better after I clean up my little gardening space. We have tall trees that are always shedding their bark and leaves on the balcony, so it always needs cleaning, but every now and then its tidy. Thanks for stopping by!