Friday, March 20, 2015

Designing the kitchen garden

This morning I sat out on my patio and had breakfast with my family while I sketched the design for my kitchen garden. After last year's garden tour, many people ask me how I grow everything perfectly in my kitchen garden. (My kitchen garden was very popular with the visitors at last year's garden tour). The first thing I tell people is that I can't grow everything right and I make plenty of mistakes. There was a time in my gardening experience where I didn't have a plan and would planted things randomly. After this many years of gardening I have learned from my many mistake and now I try to have a plan on a piece of paper before I begin planting. With regard to a kitchen garden, you should plant based on your family needs. I try to grow lots of Indian vegetables. I don't want to use up my valuable real estate in the kitchen garden for cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, because these vegetables are readily available in supermarkets and farmer's markets. Instead I want to grow exotic varieties.

Sketch the design:
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I have a triangular kitchen garden plot on top of a small hill. This kitchen garden has 16 raised beds. This morning I sat with all my seed catalogs, eating my favorite breakfast, avocado toast, and  sketched the design for my kitchen garden. My favorite thing to do in the spring is to sit outside with a cup of coffee and go though the seed catalogs to check for new varieties.

The view from the patio is not bad, either!

Last years kitchen garden

Final sketch is ready for this year based on crop rotation

Preparing the soil:
Now that the design is ready, it is time to prepare the soil. A good garden begins with good soil. I always prepare the soil by mixing it with homemade compost (more on that subject later).Composting is a natural way of recycling. I am a firm believer in composting kitchen and garden waste and it has served me well for the past few years.

Crop rotation:

Think about crop rotation when you are planting the kitchen garden. Crop rotation is very important for an organic vegetable garden to balance soil fertility and to reduce soil-borne diseases. For example, tomatoes deplete a lot of nitrogen and phosphorous from the soil. If you plant tomatoes at the same spot year after year, naturally soil will be lacking nitrogen and phosphorous, making the yield very low. A general rule of thumb in my kitchen garden is that I won't plant the same crop for three years in the spot.That is why keeping the garden journal is important.

Happy gardening! Spring is here, time to stop and smell the roses.

For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website

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  1. Excellent advice. Thank you. I don't grow a vegetable garden, but we do have an herb garden. I need to draw up a plan.

  2. Beautiful garden Mrs Nunna!! Also your handwriting is so beautiful !! Loved your blog!