Having to spend more time at home, financial restrictions as well as the scarcity or high prices tagged on fresh groceries are just a few reasons to start your own kitchen garden.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables can help save you a few shillings when you go grocery shopping.
With the right tips you can grow tomatoes, green vegetables like sukuma wiki and spinach, herbs like dhania and mint, etc.
Below are some tips to help you get started on your kitchen garden and consequently save you some money next time you go grocery shopping.
1. Pick the right spot
For your plants to grow, you need to plant them in the right place. Plants need some sunlight and warmth. But be careful with this since there are plants that require some shade in order to flourish.
Other factors to consider when picking the right spot include if the area has good drainage. When it rains, does the area form puddles? This is an indicator that the area is unsuitable for your kitchen garden.
Soil that has many roots or rocks will make tilling the land harder and therefore should be avoided.
2. Start simple
Begin with what grows easily and what grows best in your area. Herbs, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, peppers, cucumbers are easy to go. Plants that grow faster and have a high yield will be a source of motivation to continue pursuing your kitchen garden. Plants that don’t need a lot of care and less prone to pests are also the best way to begin.
You’ll have to do trial and error with this keeping an eye out for what flourishes and focusing on that.
3. Grow plants that are compatible together
You can grow complimentary plants in the same bed. Kale, cabbage and broccoli will grow well near onions, lettuce, potatoes, spinach, mint and beetroot.
Tomatoes grow well with carrots, celery, cucumbers, onions and peppers.
This will help save space, reduce pests and depending on the crops that you plant together, improve the flavour of your crop.
4. Make use of raised beds
Raised beds come in handy when you have poor quality soil. They allow you to select the best soil for your garden and place it in the raised beds.
Raised beds also help reduce invasion by pests and weeds making your garden more productive.
5. Utilise your walls
Climbing plants will help you make use of available wall space or a fence. Wall planters and hanging baskets, trellises, cages and stakes will provide the much needed support for these plants. You can grow peas, tomatoes, peppers and pumpkin.
Maintaining a vertical garden is easier than one on the ground. Your garden also gets better air circulation reducing chances of fungal infection.
6. Space out your plants well
Place your plants in a triangular pattern so that they can be spaced out well. Remember, a crowded bed or planter will yield less crop and of poor quality.
7. Avoid sowing seeds directly into the soil
There are times when seeds struggle to adapt to the soil, reducing their yield. This is where transplants come in. Transplants are basically seeds that have been pre-planted in pots before being transferred into the beds.
Start by first planting seeds in smaller pots before transferring them into the beds.
Transplanting will also help you start growing your next crop which you can then transfer to the beds when the initial crop has been harvested.