Kitchen Gardens – The right tools and getting started
You wouldn’t try to carve a roast chicken with a spoon, would you?
Of course not!
This same philosophy applies for All Year Gardening tools in Summer, Spring, Winter and Autumn.
Having the right equipment to do the job will save you countless hours and tons of frustration in the long run.
Any experienced gardener will tell you how much easier it is to grow your fruits and vegetables if you have the right tools and accessories in your arsenal.
The gardening tools and accessories you need will depend on the type and scale of gardening you plan to do.
Small Gardens – The right tools
In a small area or if you prefer to garden in containers, you will need a different set of gardening tools. The following items are ideal for small space gardening.
A Good Collection of All Year Gardening Hand-Tools
Short-handled, ergonomically designed gardening tools are great for hand planting and small digging jobs. There are some hand-held gardening tools on the market. Here are three you’ll want to consider:
Short-Handled Trowel. A good trowel is an indispensable tool for any garden, regardless of its size. Look for one with a pointy tip, which makes it useful for planting seeds, digging out stubborn weeds and loosening planting soil.
A Transplanter. This tool is designed to make transplanting smaller plants. Some styles feature gradation marks to ensure you are planting each plant at the appropriate depth.
To save time, you can look for a high quality and affordable pre-packaged hand tool set.
When evaluating hand-held gardening tools, look for those that offer ergonomic design features, such as soft contoured handles designed to hold your wrist in a neutral position. This will reduce unnecessary strain on your hands and wrists while you are gardening.
The right gear
Although it is fun and relaxing, gardening is still “dirty” work. As a result, gardeners are prone to insect bites, cuts, scrapes and randomly stepping on sharp objects. So no matter how big (or small) your garden may be, you need to have good protection.
For starters, you’ll need a good set of gloves and protective footwear.
When looking for gardening gloves, look for a pair that fits properly and offers some protection from sharp thorns and prickly shrubs.
Fabric gloves with a protective rubberized coating along your palms and fingertips are a great option because they dry easily and fit well enough to maintain finger dexterity.
If you are doing a lot of heavy digging, a good pair of durable boots will make your job much easier and safer. As you stomp down on the shovel for extra leverage, you’ll be glad for that added layer of protection. Otherwise, a good pair of rubber gardening clogs are wonderful to have. They keep your feet dry and are easy to hose off when you are done digging in the dirt.
Finally, every gardener needs a good hat. Look for one with a wide brim to protect your face and ears from too much sun exposure as you work outside. Beyond that, have fun and let your style shine through.
Kitchen Gardens – The right tools and getting started and Planning a Productive Garden
A well-planned kitchen garden, can be a beautiful and enticing way to incorporate more fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs into your diet. The following tips will help you plan a productive and practical garden.
Tip #1: Pick the Perfect Spot. When choosing a location for your kitchen garden, try to find a spot as close to your kitchen as possible. After all, you want your culinary garden to be easy to reach while you are preparing meals.
The location you choose must also take into consideration the kind of environment your plants prefer. Choose a sunny location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. If you live in a really hot climate, you may find a bit of afternoon shade is nice to have, as well.
Also, you’ll want to make sure the location you choose has easy access to water. You don’t want to drag a heavy garden hose around the house or carry buckets of water to keep your plants hydrated.
Tip #2: Pick Your Plants. The easiest way to decide what you want to grow in your garden is to think about what you like to cook.
For example, if you use a lot of fresh herbs, you’ll want to keep a big pot of your favorite varieties on hand. Can’t kids get enough of your homemade salsa? Plan to have a steady supply of fresh basil and juicy tomatoes nearby. Click here to grow your basil with some practical gardening tips.
In other words, you want to stock your kitchen garden with the fruits, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers you use in your day-to-day cooking. These are the items you will want to have convenient access to throughout the growing season.
Items you plan to freeze, can or otherwise preserve for later use are ideal for your regular vegetable garden. Click here for “Eight ways to preserve your harvest for all year enjoyment.”
Tip #3: Make the Most of the Space You Have. Many kitchen gardens are confined to a relatively small space. If you have a small overall footprint, don’t get discouraged. Instead – Grow your garden UP!
Take advantage of as much vertical space as possible to maximize your growing area. Consider growing juicy yellow pear tomatoes surrounded by creeping thyme in a vertical container or use hanging baskets suspended on shepherd hooks for your favorite herbs. Just make sure you keep them well watered as hanging baskets tend to dry out more quickly.
If you are keen on tomatoes, and who isn’t ! Here is a helpful article 3 Best Kitchen Garden Tomato Varieties and How To Grow From A Seed.
You could also add a trellis or incorporate a fence into your design to provide support for climbing plants, such as pole beans or cucumbers. If your space has a blank wall with good sun exposure, you could add a ladder-like series of shelves to house a lot more plants than you could fit into the ground you have available.
Tip #4: Make It Beautiful. Although some may argue that beauty for its own sake is neither productive nor practical, I disagree. Your kitchen garden is an extension of your home and will likely be visible to your family and guests. So, making the area as attractive as possible just makes good sense.
Balance, symmetry, and repetition are components of any good garden design. To incorporate balance and symmetry into your garden, try adding two matching brightly colored containers filled with herbs and place them on each side of the entrance.
For repetition, add multiples of the same plants throughout the garden. For example, a group of 3 cherry tomato plants in attractive containers will have a stronger visual impact than a single plant. You can also create a sense of order by planting lovely borders of edible flowers or fragrant herbs along walkways.
One great thing about incorporating ornamental aspects into your garden is you may find you want to spend more time in an area that nourishes both your body and soul.