“You are what you eat.” So, if you want to live fit and healthy for years, it is wise to indulge in organic products every day. But though the availability of chemical-free eatables is increasing with its rising popularity, the prices of such products are going high day by day. In such a circumstance, millions of people across the globe are opting for the ‘grow your own’ revolution in their own kitchens and you can also join the bandwagon without a second thought. A kitchen garden brimming with fresh organic produces not only lets you gorge on the healthiest and the tastiest foods but also cuts your food bills to a large extent. And the best part? It is not as tedious as you think! Here is a step-by-step guide for you on how to cultivate and grow your everyday cooking ingredients indoors.
Simple Steps To Develop Your Own Kitchen Garden
From vegetables to fruits to herbs, you can grow anything and everything yourself at home and pick them fresh for your kitchen table as and when required. Check out the steps below:
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1. Choosing The Right Place
Finding the right spot is the first step towards a small and beautiful kitchen garden. As sunlight is one of the major growth factors for plants, you have to choose an area in your kitchen which gets enough natural light directly at least for 6-8 hours a day. If there is no such sunny spot in your kitchen, go for glow lights to stimulate the growth of your plants. Apart from the warm temperature, it is also important that you choose an open spot to encourage good air circulation. Typically, the best areas to place your pots are windowsills, unused corners of the kitchen, empty spaces atop the sink, etc. However, each plot is different and you need to work out the best one as per your needs and convenience.
Lighting requirements usually vary based on the seasons as well as the types of plants. Blackberries, raspeberries, cherries, blackcurrants, rhubarb, etc. are certain crops that can grow well in shade too.
2. Picking Vegetables And Herbs
Once you are done with choosing the site for your kitchen garden, select the plants that you want to grow there. Your first choice for this purpose should be the fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are liked most by you and other family members. Also, consider those pricey items that you need to include in your regular diet. Simply start by creating a list of your favorite edibles and narrow down your choices by considering your space and climatic conditions. If you wish, you can opt for the fruits and vegetables that do not require much time or space to grow. A few essential kitchen garden plants (not only easy to grow but also provide harvests throughout the seasons) include salad leaves, lettuces, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, beetroots, beans, chard, apples, strawberries, gooseberries, currants (black, white, red), calendula, and so on.
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3. Finding Perfect Planting Pots
Traditionally, earthen pots or containers are used as the most common as well as economical choice for planting veggies in a kitchen. However, you can always go green by using recycled bottles, jars, large bowls, or buckets made of plastic. This is a great way to save space and grow the plants of your choice in your own house. Moreover, it does not need much effort and saves a lot of bucks too. Glass containers are also regarded as a good option for this purpose. But whatever your choice is, make sure that your planting pots are at least 6 inches or taller, which is vital to accommodate fast-growing roots. Also, ensure that water is not getting clogged and the roots are not developing mold by creating proper drainage holes in the pots.
4. Buying Quality Planting Mixture
Investing in a high-quality planting mixture is essential for successful kitchen gardening. Make sure that the mixture contains the optimum amount of nutrients, which is vital for proper growth and maintenance of plants. If your soil mixture lacks certain crucial elements, provide nourishment to the seedlings by adding soluble liquid fertilizer to it once every 14 days. Alternatively, if you use regular soil (be it sandy or hard clay), mix compost (organic matter) or red soil with it for growing healthy plants. However, always start preparing your soil by testing its pH levels. It will also help you pick your plants wisely.
Loamy soil, which is loose and crumbly in texture, is ideal for a kitchen garden. It is not only well-aerated and drains easily but also absorbs as well as retains nutrients and water efficiently.
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5. Planting Seedlings Carefully
After purchasing seedlings from your nearby nurseries, you just can’t plant them without taking proper care. Remember that their roots remain very soft at this time and hence, you need to be extremely gentle while handling them. You can also sow the seeds obtained from fruits or vegetables yourself. However, do not forget to soak the planting mixture properly in water prior to this. You also have to keep this mixture slightly moist up to the germination of the seeds. In addition, make sure that you keep your seedlings covered after sowing. This way, they will not be exposed to excess sunlight and air.
Use a fork to break up lumps in soil while planting seedlings so that you do not need to dig the plot over and over.
6. Providing Enough Space
We can keep a dedicated plot for our kitchen garden or tuck seedling in among garden flowers. But usually, we do not care about the space present between two seeds while sowing them. It might turn out to be a big problem later. So, make sure that you discard a few of them from in between as soon as the seedlings come out. Just cut them off or pick them out and you are ready with enough space for your future kitchen plants to grow.
7. Watering The Plants
Finally, take utmost care of your garden so that you can get most out of it. Water them every now and then so that the planting mixtures remain moist and the seedlings remain hydrated. Determine the right amount of moisture required by your veggies and herbs by keeping the humidity levels of the place in mind. However, stay away from overwatering your veggies. You can always choose a sprinkler for watering the plants in your kitchen garden efficiently.
Fill at least one inch at the bottom of your pots, jars, or contains with rocks or pebbles for controlled drainage of water and proper moisture retention.