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Kitchen Garden Size

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Raised beds on deckHow big should a kitchen garden be? Two more questions: How much space do you have? How much ground can you care for? A small garden that provides the vegetables you will eat is better than a vegetable plot that produces more than you can use or give away. A small garden that you can easily care for is better than a large garden that wears you out and leaves you discouraged.

A kitchen garden can be any size and any shape: square, rectangle, circle, half circle, any shape. Kitchen garden crops can be grown in containers or mixed among the flowers in a flowerbed. A garden as small as 3 feet square will offer you 9 square feet of garden; more than enough room for a salad garden, a tomato and basil garden, or a root or vegetable soup garden.

If you have never grown vegetables before or if your time is limited, start small. Make a short list of the vegetables you like to eat first. As you gain experience, grow more crops and grow the size of your garden if you like. Keep a kitchen garden notebook where you can record what you like and dislike, what works and what doesn’t. Aim to make your garden a little bit better every year and your kitchen garden enjoyment will follow.

If your space is limited, here are a few ideas to get your first kichen garden growing:

• A window box can contain an herb garden with a half dozen different kinds of herbs.

• A half wine barrel is enough garden for a tomato plant or cucumber or zucchini or pepper plant.

• A narrow flowerbed border is an ideal location to grow a salad garden of radishes, leaf lettuce, carrots, and beets.

• Tuck staked tomatoes and snap beans into a rose garden. You can plant the beans between the tomato plants.

• A wall or fence that faces south with just a foot or two of soil in front is ideal for tomatoes and pole beans (especially limas), and cucumbers trained on a trellis.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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