Start a Kitchen Garden to Increase Your Food Security

Increase your family's food security by starting a kitchen garden.

How to grow a kitchen garden and increase your food security

Imagine walking out your back door into a green oasis, where you pick tender salad greens and a beautiful tomato or two for a salad, some new potatoes for a side dish, and herbs to season your family's dinner.

This used to be the norm, the usual. Only in the last few generations have we relied on harvesting dinner from the produce department at a grocery store instead of from our own backyard garden.

There's no better time to turn back the clock and depend on our own gardens, our own efforts. 

You can grow dinner in your backyard. Even if your backyard is a small patio or a balcony, you can grow salad greens... and herbs on your windowsill too.

Start a kitchen garden and increase your food security.

A traditional kitchen garden

A traditional kitchen garden, or "potager" as it was often called, was a space near the back door or kitchen door for easy access. 

It wasn't as large as a canning garden or main garden, which might contain 100 tomato plants grown for the sole purpose of canning a year's supply of tomato sauce. (Remember, we didn't depend on the grocery store back then.)

Instead, a kitchen garden might contain salad greens, a couple of tomato plants, peppers and other vegetables, plus herbs.

Kitchen gardens were often laid out in ornamental patterns. It might be circular, with segments, like spokes in a wheel, planted in different vegetables, or raised beds arranged in a square with a fountain or other feature in the middle.

Flowers and herbs were often part of the kitchen garden too. A bouquet of flowers could be easily arranged for the dinner table. The herb bed might include one or two plants of several culinary herbs such as chives, thyme, basil, parsley and so on.

Why you should start a kitchen garden.

A modern kitchen garden

Modern backyards are often small, so a kitchen garden is probably your family's only garden. You might need to skip the elaborate fountain and the round shapes that are pretty but not as practical as squares and rectangles.

But yes, it's possible to raise food in a small space. In fact, by using some simple strategies such as vertical gardening, intensive planting and succession planting, you can grow quite a lot of food.

Learn more about growing your own healthy salad ingredients here.

You can grow food in as little as 3-4 weeks too, if you grow the right kinds of vegetables.

What to consider when planning your kitchen garden

While the traditional kitchen garden was right outside the kitchen door, your garden will grow best in a sunny location. This might be your side yard or even part of your front yard if your local ordinances or homeowners association allows it.

Make it easy to water your garden. Buy enough hoses to reach the garden easily. 

Add a rain barrel under your home's gutters to collect rain water you don't have to pay for. Or borrow my husband's idea for a water tank that collects rain water without a nearby roof.

Hoses can be expensive to replace, but you can fix a leaky hose yourself.

This is the year to plant a vegetable garden!

If you have a tiny garden

Some vegetables grow better in small spaces that others do; learn about the vegetables you can grow in a tiny garden here.

And if you don't have much yard space - or no yard space at all - read this post on container gardening.

You can grow broccoli sprouts in a sunny window, even in the winter.

Grow food with me

There's no better time to raise vegetables, herbs and fruit in your own organic garden than right now, even if that garden consists of containers and buckets.

I encourage you to start a kitchen garden this year. Growing your own food requires less money, effort and space than you might think.

These posts will help you grow specific vegetables in your new family food garden.

 - Looseleaf lettuce is much easier to grow at home than head lettuce, and you can begin harvesting much sooner too.

 - How to grow cabbage and keep it safe from cabbage worms.

 - How to plant and grow potatoes in containers and in trash cans

Start a kitchen garden and save money while increasing your food security.

 - When and how to harvest and store onions

 - Growing Egyptian walking onions

 - How to grow sweet potatoes in containers

 - There are many ways to trellis tomato plants (and other plants too) to save space and grow even more.

 - Double the number of tomato plants in your garden by rooting tomato cuttings.

 - How to order seeds for your vegetable garden.

 - I'm not a master builder by any means - far from it - but building a raised garden bed isn't very hard.

 - If you don't plant all the seeds in your seed packets this spring, you can store leftover seeds to use next year.

 - What to grow in an herb garden.

- If your yard is shaded by trees, check out my ebook on growing vegetables and herbs in the shade.

You can increase your family's food security by planting a kitchen garden. Find out how here.

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