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May 2012
Kitchen Garden: Harvest Health
Pratyusha Sen
 
The concept of having a kitchen garden is nothing new, just outdated. This is mostly because urbanisation of families has left people with very little time on their hands and easy availability of produce makes the efforts of maintaining a kitchen garden seem worthless. However, most people would be surprised to know how easy it is to maintain a kitchen garden to cater exclusively to the daily needs of a family.

Getting Started
  • Starting a kitchen garden is easy if you have a lot of open space in your house. In case open space is less, it becomes a challenge, but it can still be done. All you need to do is invest in garden tubs and pots, good quality soil and fertilizers, preferably organic.
  • The best kitchen gardens are born out of careful planning. Plan your garden and decide which crops you would like to grow in your house. Crop selection also depends on the climate of the place and the environmental factors conducive to having a good harvest.
  • Drawing up a paper plan of the garden helps in visualizing how you will use the available space for maximum benefits. For large areas of land, plotting the design on graph paper is very effective.
  • Before starting any garden it is very important to get the right kind of soil. The ideal garden soil should contain air, solids, clay, silt and loam in appropriate amounts. Conduct a garden soil test and then add those fertilizers and nutrients that are lacking in it.
  • Compost provides the best nutrients for kitchen garden soil. It is organic and cost efficient. Start a compost pile using grass clippings, leaves, sawdust and kitchen waste.
  • Once your kitchen garden is planted, check the plants regularly for diseases and infestations. One of the best ways of keeping insects away is by companion gardening, such as planting garlic along with celery or cucumber to keep insects away.
  • Plant watering is a tricky business. While some plants need watering daily, others just become a hotbed of diseases with too much water. Research on plant up-keep to make sure your crop is safe and healthy, would come handy.

Advantages of having a kitchen garden

  • Apart from being environmentally friendly, having a kitchen garden provides you with your very own stash of vegetables to be picked and used as and when necessary.
  • Kitchen gardens using organic fertilizers and pesticides produce healthier crops, which do not pose health hazards and are tastier than artificially enhanced crops.
  • You save a ton on groceries. And, any extra produce can be marketed for additional profits.
  • Gardening is one of the best workouts acknowledged by health experts. It’s an additional health benefit, which should not be overlooked.
If maintaining a full fledged vegetable garden sounds like too much hard work, you can always start off small with a herb garden instead. They are easier to grow and will act as a practice run for the vegetable kitchen garden. Or, you can just focus on an exclusive herb garden only.

Having a garden takes effort, but the end result makes the effort worth it!
 

    
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