The kitchen garden is a space separate from the residential garden where vegetables and fruits are grown for their own purpose. Vegetables are grown for fresh supply to the kitchen for family consumption in the areas surrounding the house.
WHAT IS KITCHEN GARDENING ?
Kitchen gardening means growing vegetables in the residential houses so that the daily requirements of a family can be met all around The Year. It is usually practiced where are limiting factor is, land, basically, the land is selected in the backyard of the house; the south and the sunny side is mostly preferred.
The kitchen garden should be close to the water supply and vegetables can also be grown on the roof of the building if the land is not available and it can be grown soilless i.e. hydroponics and aeroponics.
HOW TO PLAN A KITCHEN GARDEN
DECIDE A PERFECT LOCATION
The kitchen garden should be close to your kitchen it should be a sunny location that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. A bit of afternoon shade can be given to the plants if you live in a very hot climate.
Make sure that there is easy access to water so that you don’t have to drag a garden hose or carry a water full bucket to keep your hydrated
PREPARATION OF AREA
Fertile, rich in organic matter, and drained soil are preferred for the kitchen garden. Clean the area and break the large clumps of soils and remove weeds with their roots and make the area appropriate for growing crops. You can also add compost to the topsoil. Dig one or two compost pits in a shady corner of the garden. Dump all houses as well as garden waste into it.
SELECTION OF PLANTS
Plants can be grown according to your will, what you like to eat and what you like to cook. Also, consider the type of soil and climate while selecting the type of crops. Stock your kitchen garden with fruits, herbs, edible flowers, and vegetables that you use in cooking. Always plant fruit trees on the Northern side of the garden to avoid shade on other plants. Kitchen gardens are best for producing organic stuff.
USE OF SPACE
Most kitchen gardens are confined to small spaces so the aim should be to utilize the space inappropriate way. By reducing spacing, more than 2 vegetables per plot should be grown. Long-duration crops like cabbage brinjal etc can be grown with short-duration crops like radish palak coriander etc. Ridges of plots should be used for root crops. Use suitable crop rotation. You can also provide fences to your kitchen garden to support climbing plants.
A raised bed filled with loamy soil is considered ideal for growing vegetables in small pots, they have the benefit of good drainage and avoid soil compaction. Always use fresh seeds of early & prolonged harvesting cultivars. More than one sowing of a crop at a short interval may be done.
LAYOUT OF KITCHEN GARDEN
ALLOCATION OF AREA
Perennial plots should be located At the rear end of the kitchen garden in which perennial plants like curry leaf, tapioca, banana, lime, etc can be grown which shows no effect on the growth of other plants.
Fences play an important role in the kitchen garden for providing protection from animals and trespass in the absence of compound wall Live fences can be grown. Bamboo that ties, barbed wires, or plain wire can be erected for fencing. Plants like bitter gourd can be grown in these fences.
One main path which divides the garden into two halves with side paths are to be made. Minimum area should be used for main and side paths. Vegetables like mint, palak, etc can be grown along the side paths. The number of channels for irrigation should be minimum.
Manure pits can be dug out in the kitchen garden in which garden and kitchen waste are dumped and composted. For manuring, kitchen garden manure pits are very useful.
The rest of the area is divided into equal-sized beds. 6 to 8 beds can be formed according to the availability of the area. Various vegetables can be grown in different beds depending upon the climate, location, and choice of the family.
Crop rotation should be followed and cropping intensity should be maximum in the kitchen garden. Leguminous vegetables can be rotated with non-leguminous vegetables, shallow rooted vegetables can be rotated with deep rooted ones, tuber forming vegetables may be rotated with non-Tuber forming vegetables, etc.
Following are examples of cropping programs for the kitchen gardens.
1- Bottle gourd. June to Sept Sprouting broccoli Oct to Jan Cowpea Feb to May 2- Brinjal + radish Jun to Sept Cabbage Oct to Nov Okra Feb to May
Advantages of kitchen garden
Land can be used effectively.
Production of vegetable and per capita availability increases
There is a continuous supply of fresh vegetables and fruits the entire year.
It reduces living expenses as it saves family expenditure on purchasing fruits and vegetables.
A beautiful and healthy environment is developed in the house.
Chemical-free fruits and vegetables are produced which improves health.
Limitations of kitchen garden
Size shape and location are limited.
The owner can have a lack of knowledge.
The land is the limiting factor.