07 May 2007

Grow It Cook it : "Grow a Kitchen Garden"

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By: Backyard Living

For those of us who love both cooking and gardening, a kitchen garden offers the best of both worlds.
You don't need an ambitious "north 40" garden--even a modest-sized plot can provide a bounty of produce.

Plan your kitchen garden around the kinds of food you enjoy most: lettuces for bountiful salads, herbs and tomatoes for Italian fare, cilantro and salsa ingredients for Mexican dishes.

Plant your garden near the house so you can run out and snip herbs or grab a few sun-warmed tomatoes and use them immediately when they're at their just-picked best. If possible, locate your garden within view of the kitchen or dining room so you don't overlook what's ready to be picked.

With homegrown produce, you'll never have to worry about unwanted chemicals or additives, and the taste will bowl you over.
Quick Tips

Start Small
If you're a first time gardener, make a modest plan and leave room for expansion once you gain more experience.

Keep it Sunny
Most vegetables need a full 6 hours of sunlight a day. Morning light is preferable, because it dries off the dew, reducing the risk of disease. It's also less stressful to the plants than blazing afternoon sun.

Make Your Beds
If your soil leaves much to be desired, try planting in raised beds. Contain the soil with untreated wood planks, stones or cement blocks. You can also simply mound the soil.
Contact your local garden center or horticulture extension office to find out what grows best in your own backyard