As we are facing these uncertain times, I am actually excited that people are truly re-directing their focus. Even though I personally started gardening about 2 years ago, I am realizing more now how important this will be in the coming days. We're spoiled! We have been catered to in such a way where we become completely dependent on big corporations that are actually lobbyists which are pushing their own agenda to the masses. I am not trying to make this blog post political because I think that we are all tired of it, but it's important to address it because it is directly connected to our daily habits. I personally have been convicted of how I was living my life and how I became so dependent on outside sources that I felt like I needed to regain that control back a little at a time. Sure, it's hard work, but the reward and the peace of mind outweighs it. Because of convenience we have given over our personal power and I think that it's important for us to take it back. Creating a kitchen garden, can serve as a solution in order to feed you and your family.
Like anything new, gardening can seem pretty overwhelming because there is so much that goes into it, but I found that if you just take a leap, you'd surprise yourself. Not only is it good for your health but also for the health of your mind.
So here are a few steps to get you started and a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Choose a Garden Design & Location
There are hundreds of ways to make a garden work in your space, you just have to find one that you like. Depending on the space that you have, you can look up garden designs on Pinterest and get an idea of what you want yours to look like. Here are a few examples that I found for you below.
If you are working with fairly large spaces then the possibilities are pretty endless. If you live in an apartment or a condo, you can still create a beautiful and efficient garden by using vertical garden beds. Since the space is a little bit more limiting, then you should focus on things that you enjoy eating like different types of lettuce or leafy greens as well as herbs. In addition to the vertical garden bed concept, you can also grow your favorite vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers in pots . Another thing that you can do is bring some citrus trees into your home and just take them out onto your balcony when its warm. Not only will you get the fruit but it will also bring some natural design elements into your home.
When considering a space for your garden, be sure that it's in a spot where it is out in the sun most of the day. Since plants need the sun to grow, be sure to consider this before you decide on the design and the location.
2. Clear the Space & Set-Up Your Garden Beds
Once you decide on your design and the kind of garden that is appropriate for you, start setting up your garden beds. Use organic soil to fill the beds up. Two things to keep in mind when purchasing soil. Depending on the garden that you are planning to have, there are specific soils that are going to be more appropriate for specific places. For example: When you read the package of the soil, it will tell you that it may not be appropriate for containers and visa versa. So before you grab just any bag, read the instructions and what that soil works best with. Again, I prefer to purchase Organic soil especially when it comes to growing food because it will be something that you will consume.
3. Plan & Plant Your Favorite Plants for the Season
BUY NON-GMO SEEDS
Before you purchase a ton of packets of seeds, look up what is in season and decide what you will grow. I personally purchase seeds that are NON-GMO (not Genetically Modified).
How do you know if the seed is NON-GMO? It should say it on the packet. If not the NON-GMO symbol than USDA organic. Why NON-GMO? Genetically modified seed has been messed with in the lab. If you've ever came across cross breeds of plants it's because they are hybrids. When it comes to consumption, genetically modified seed has unknown side effects. I truly believe that food gives us fuel as well as healing when it is organically grown and consumed. Because of mass production, we have turned to other ways of farming which carries with it serious consequences. So now that you are aware of this, be sure to purchase seeds that are NON-GMO/Organic and maybe next time you're shopping for food at the supermarket be sure to look for that NON-GMO label as well.
WHICH ZONE ARE YOU IN?
Because of the way we've been catered to through large supermarkets, it's hard for us to truly understand the fact that certain fruits and vegetables are here seasonally, this is why people do canning so that they can consume these veggies and fruits in the fall and winter when some of the crops would not be in season. This is why it's important to look up what zone you live in and what is currently in season before you can sit down and draw out all that you will plant into your garden. If you live in the US, here is a zone guideline that you should look at to find what zone you live in.
The great thing about most seed packets that you purchase, is that they tell you on the back of the packet the season, the zone, the care instructions, and the time that it takes to mature. So it take a lot of guesswork out of the equation for you.
Ok, I bought NON-GMO seeds, now what? If you are planning to start your garden this year, you want to start planting your seeds into little starter pots. (The rule that you usually follow by is that you start planting after the last frost.) They sell starter trays at Home Depot and Lowes. It makes it easier for you to carry when you have to take them in and out of your house. It usually takes about 10-15 days for you to see the sprouts. It's important to water the soil as needed. If you're nervous about overwatering, get a spray bottle and just spray them a few times a day. (at least once every few days water them thoroughly) Why can't I just put seed into the garden bed directly? If you're planting in early spring, the weather can still be changing and extreme temperatures can cause the seed not to grow. I call the sprouts babies because they are fragile, so you have to care for them during that sprouting period. (Meaning that you take them inside if the weather it cold, or it's raining a lot) Once they are about 3 inches tall, you can go ahead and transfer them into your garden bed. As they keep maturing, you just want to keep an eye on them and water them as needed. I say as needed because your weather maybe different from mine. For example, I live in South Carolina where it gets pretty hot, so my plants will need to be watered more frequently, unless we're having a lot of rain.
This is pretty much the gist of what you need to know to start your own kitchen garden. So if you were hesitant before about starting a garden, I hope that you found these tips helpful so you can be on your way to start your own.
PS Comment below and let me know what are some of your reservations. I would love to help you to strategize. :)
Create Coleture, Be YOU