Do you have a kitchen garden on your homestead? I do and I love mine. It’s convenient and fun. It provides everything I need close at hand while I’m cooking. It is a great project to start if you never planted one before. In this post, you will learn just what a kitchen garden is and how to get started with one on your homestead.
Planting a Kitchen Garden on the Homestead
A Kitchen Garden: What is it?
A kitchen garden is usually a small garden. However, it can be as big as you want and need it to be. It is usually placed very close to the house. Its purpose is to provide some of the fresh ingredients you may need while cooking. It is not part of the regular vegetable gardens you may grow larger crops in. No, this garden is for the everyday veggies and herbs you use on a regular basis mostly for cooking. This type of garden is like a convenience garden for everyday ingredients and changes by season.
I have a large vegetable garden in the back that I use for canning and preserving. But on the side of my house is where I keep small quantities of herbs and veggies that I use all the time. That small garden is my kitchen garden. It is my favorite garden on my 15-acre homestead.
What to Grow in the Kitchen Garden
What you grow in your garden is totally about you and your family’s needs. If you don’t eat tomatoes, for example, you won’t grow them in your kitchen garden. If you eat a lot of parsley, however, you would plant plenty of parsley. You may even plant veggies and herbs in your kitchen garden that would not be planted in your regular vegetable garden.
What you plant also depends on the season and climate where you live. In the spring here in Florida I usually plant bulb onions, carrots, radishes, peppers, peas, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, and various herbs. When the summer starts the lettuces and radishes are usually all harvested along with all the onions and I start on tomatoes and other veggies and herbs that can take the high heat here. The peppers stay in all year round.
Perennials and Ornamentals in the Kitchen Garden
I have to have some color and I love flowers and ponds. Therefore, I added a small pond on the side of my walkway and planted perennials like coreopsis, butterfly plants, ornamental bamboo, and phlox. I even placed an ornamental tree in the corner between my lettuce and onions.
I also added some birdhouses and ornamental pieces. These things make me happy with my kitchen garden even though it is far from done. The nicest thing about my kitchen garden is that it is always changing each season. See The Most Popular Options For Food Forest Perennials for more ideas.
If you want you can plant only edible perennials in your garden. There is nothing more enjoyable than harvesting edible flowers for your salads and dishes!
How to Get Started
Getting started is easy! First, pick a spot close to your kitchen or front door. This is so you can easily access your kitchen garden. If you can’t put your kitchen garden right up to your house that’s okay. Just try to keep as close as possible.
Once you decide your spot, make sure the soil is ready for planting! You can check out The Ultimate Guide To Garden Soil for some great information on obtaining the right soil. After your soil in your kitchen garden is prepared we can start planning our garden and planting some seeds.
Planning and Planting your Kitchen Garden
Now it is time to think about what you want to grow and to make yourself a list. What do you use regularly in your cooking? Tomatoes? Carrots? Lettuce? Write those down. Choose the vegetables and herbs you have seeds for on hand to start with, then order whatever you don’t already have. I have included a free printable here of common vegetables and herbs and flowers for a kitchen garden.
As far as where to plant what plants, use the same rules as in a normal vegetable garden. For example, keeping friendly companions together and plants that harm each other far apart. Then the sky is the limit! For an excellent and very informative post about companion planting please see Your Practical Guide to Companion Planting.
Things To Keep In Mind
When I plant my kitchen garden, I keep my plants as close together as I can. There are 2 reasons for this. The first is because the closer they are, the fewer weeds I seem to find. The second is because I like my kitchen garden to be full and tightly woven together. I always include marigolds for pest control too.
I love to make pathways with natural materials such as thinly sliced logs. It adds to natural beauty. Wood chips are great too and come in an abundance here! Then I add whimsical things that just scream “look at me!” and I try to incorporate plants that simply attract bees and butterflies even if not edible.
I added a pond to mine and I love the sound of the frogs that made it their home in the early morning and late nights.
Other options to add:
- landscape lighting or spotlights
- hanging lanterns
- hanging planters
Lastly, I fence my garden in to keep the dogs from trampling and doing “their business” on my plants.
Resources for a Kitchen Garden
The resources below are great places to find exactly what you need for your kitchen garden. I have included tools, seeds, and misc places to find more information too. I hope you find these links helpful!
Tools for the Kitchen Garden:
Ukoke Garden Tool Set: This is a 12 piece tool set for hand gardening. I love this set! It comes with 2 sizes of shovels, a mini rake, a mini pitchfork, and a hole digging tool. It also has a pair of heavy-duty pruning shears as well as snips. The handles on both are very comfortable too. You will also like the gardening apron and the kneeling pad. If that isn’t enough you also get a pretty good pair of gloves as well as a small spray bottle.
I own this set and it is one of the best purchases I have made! It is very much worth every penny!
12 Gauge Round Point Shovel: This is a common size and style of shovel you may have the need for with the bigger digging projects in your kitchen garden.
I use this shovel for digging in the bigger potted plants or digging out around stumps, and/or turning the soil in a reused bed.
Make a note to check the length of the handle. I am short so the super long handles are harder for me to use. Just a side note.
Seed Suppliers for the Kitchen Garden:
These are a few good gardening resources for finding information on planting herbs and vegetables.
- Stone Family Farmstead
- The New Homesteaders Almanac
- Oak Hill Homestead
- The Reid Homestead
- Healing Harvest Homestead
Do you have a kitchen garden on your homestead? Are you ready to start one? I hope this post helped inspire you to start one! Let me know in the comments your future plans! Happy Homesteading!