A kitchen garden is a wonderful addition to any home, providing fresh and flavorful herbs, veggies, and fruit just steps away. If you've tried to set up a small kitchen garden in the past and failed or if your just getting started, here are a few tips to maximize the productivity of your kitchen garden! As gardeners we want to enjoy bountiful harvests throughout the year, and implementing intensive planting techniques, can help you achieve it.
Intensive planting involves growing more plants in a smaller space, allowing you to make the most of your garden's potential. One of the key benefits of intensive planting is the ability to grow a wide variety of crops in a limited area.
By utilizing techniques such as intercropping and succession planting, you can plant crops with different growth rates and harvest times together. Try plant fast-growing radishes and lettuce between slower-growing tomato plants. By the time the tomatoes reach their full size, you can have already harvested and enjoyed several rounds of radishes and lettuce.
When I first started in this method, I was shy about it, putting maybe 40 plants in a 4x4 bed. In reality to keep your soil moist and productive you want every inch of the garden bed blooming with no visible soil. So that really means closer to 200 plants in a 4x4 bed.
Crazy right? But you can't argue with great harvest and mine tripled once I started using intensive and campaign plant. My peppers have onions, garlic, chives, and arugula growing all with in a one foot radius around the pepper plants base. The leaves of the pepper plant provide shade to the lettuces and the onions, garlic and chives not only provide excellent additions to my meals, but also protect the peppers from insects - with this organic method and regular tending I never have to use chemicals on my plants.
I also incorporate trellises, arches, and hanging baskets, to grow vining plants like cucumbers, beans, and peas upwards, saving valuable ground space. Vertical gardening not only increases your yield per square foot but also provides an attractive backdrop in your kitchen garden.
Efficient watering and mulching techniques play a vital role in intensive planting. Use drip irrigation systems or soaker hoses to deliver water directly to the plant's roots, reducing water waste and weed growth. Mulching helps retain moisture, suppresses weed growth, and maintains more consistent soil temperatures.
I mulch only with mushroom compost every one to two weeks. Place gentle handfuls around each plants base without teaching the leaf systems of the plant. At the same time I trim back any leaves that are lower to the ground or touch the dirt to prevent the spread of disease from the soil to the plant.
Intensive planting in a kitchen garden offers a multitude of benefits, including year-round harvests, a diverse harvest, and with the efficient use of space, you'll find yourself wondering why you didn't start this method sooner. You can create a thriving kitchen garden that produces an abundance of fresh and flavorful produce. Are you ready? Roll up your sleeves, get creative, and transform your kitchen garden into a productive oasis that keeps your kitchen stocked with amazing harvests all year long!
Want more information about kitchen gardens? Follow along with our gardening season in our bi-monthly gardening newsletter, where Rachel Ann provides even more details about her garden layouts.
Rachel Ann is a national award winning meteorologist & fine arts photographer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Aissen has been featured in numerous publications.
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