How to Create Your Own Organic Kitchen Garden A Newbie’s Guide to Making Your Own Potager - Kailyaird!
As more and more of us are looking for healthier food alternatives, and easy food resources, which do not add to the burden of our limited budget, is it surprising that so many of us are interested in how to make a potager.
This is the French word for what is a kitchen garden. In Scotland, they call it a Kailyaird, or simply the yard where you are going to grow your family’s necessary requirements of fresh fruit and vegetables, depending on the space available. During the First World War this was called a Victory garden.
This is the place which is not going to be cluttered up with lots of sweet smelling blossoms. It is going to be reserved just for vegetables and herbs, which are ready to go right into your cooking pot. Also, the lawn area is definitely not going to be utilized in the making of a potager. Leave that particular area to the grass.
A kitchen garden – also known as a vegetable plot – has been used by mankind for centuries, in order to grow their own vegetables. That is because man would rather have easy access to his food, then go out hunting for it. And that is what made him add fruit and vegetables to his daily diet, instead of substance on just animal products like meat, fish, and game, which needed to be hunted in all weather, depending on the need and requirement of the tribe and family.
And that is why he began domesticating farm animals. But we, a large number of us who are town dwellers or city dwellers, have supposedly lost touch with our roots, no pun intended, and that is why we can not imagine ourselves grubbing in the family farms or plots, from dawn to dusk, in order to get enough of a harvest to feed our families.
Benefits of Your Own Kitchen Garden
So, before you are totally persuaded in trying to make a potager, let me tell you all about the benefits.
People all over the world are going back to vegetarianism, as an alternative and healthier source of good health. They are cutting down on heavy proteinaceous meat diets. And they are adding fresh vegetables or cooked vegetables to their daily meals.
Vegetables have so much nutritional nourishment value in them that a diet devoid of vegetables is going to make you sickly, with a very weak immune system, and restrict your normal natural growth, if you are a growing child.
Unfortunately, the lifestyles of today, especially eating habits do not encourage children to eat lots of fruit and vegetables, because they take their cue from their parents. The parents are either dieting or starving themselves on purpose, and that means they are skipping meals, and definitely not eating any vegetables, and so a child is not going to learn from day one that vegetables are delicious food items.
Also, the bad press given to vegetables is vegetables are good for you. How many children like to be told that they have to eat something because it is good for them? I did not. And that is why I would not eat anything which had been deemed good for me, when I was a child. And so I missed out on really delicious vegetables cooked by my grandmother traditionally. And as a result, I was a 52 kg six-foot, thoroughly skeletal, and anorexic weakling at the age of 17.
You need at least 300 g of vegetables every day and about 85 g of fruit, so that you can keep naturally healthy. The vegetables can consist of any greens, yellows, reds, oranges, and the fruit can be anything upon which you can get your hands and which you can eat raw.
Best Position/Placing of Your Garden
Where should it be? In the backyard? On the terrace? On your kitchen windowsill? In boxes all in a row, on that teeny-weeny window ledge, which is the only place which has natural air and sun, in your cooped up flat?
You will need to choose your space and placing of the potager with some care.
The kitchen gardens that I have seen are mostly made, near the kitchen, especially when the back door opens up right into the backyard. That means that if I want a herb, I can step into my garden, and get my choice of mint, sage, parsley, marjoram, and other herbs, fresh to put in the pot. Same goes for vegetables for lunch or for dinner, freshly cooked, and harvested from one's own potager.
However, not many of us have kitchens abutting on empty yards just aching to be cultivated and made green and productive again. Your ideal position for a kitchen garden is an area, which is full of the sun, but also has plenty of shade. It should be airy, have access to light, and if you are lucky to have the sun, the air, and the light in any area from morning to evening, all that space can be utilized profitably to grow vegetables throughout the year.
But what if you are living in an area, where the sun is harsh, and the sources of water are comparatively less, for example, a desert area? In such cases, you will need to see whether you have ample sources of water with which to feed your plants and also, you can grow plants which are heat resistant and able to adapt themselves to harsh climatic conditions.
For the vegetables that you are growing on the terrace, you can either grow them against the walls, or in the shade of a shelter. Also, there should be a water source nearby, so that you can water your plants daily.
Plants of choice
Just a helpful tip before we dive into individual vegetables, cucumbers and other vines and creepers, against your walls, and even if the harvest from these plants are seasonal and occasional; the greenery in itself is quite attractive and enchanting.
Let us start will the potato, the ubiquitous essential first item in any vegetable garden.
A garden without potatoes? Horrors. Even though I've seen many gardens where you have lots and lots of other vegetables growing, yellows, greens, and reds, but where are the potatoes? The gardener immediately tells me with a very sorrowful look that his/her doctor has stopped her from eating potatoes. And besides she is so afraid of gaining weight, that she has dropped potatoes from her diet.
Excellent. This gardener has now stopped her family from getting an excellent source of food, and essential nutrients, just because some doctors somewhere said, 83 years ago, that potatoes should not be eaten. They of course did not tell the general public that about 200 years ago, potatoes were the staple diet in Ireland, along with the greens, and any other vegetables, and potatoes in large quantities were consumed by everyone, and they kept healthy, because they ate these vegetables with greens and bacon.
This plant is one of the easiest plants growing in your garden. Also, it grows really quickly, and that is why, if you want to start out on a fulfilling harvest, in the initial stages, try planting lettuces, especially in the summer and spring. However, they like a little bit of shady space, so if you live in the area where the sun beats down directly, go for a shady patch.
The people in our area cannot do without radishes. That is because since childhood, they have been eating raw radishes – thus resulting in really strong and healthy teeth – our bread stuffed with radishes or radishes as vegetables or radish salads, so every garden here has a radish patch.
Just buy some radish seeds, – from your nearest friendly neighborhood market gardener or nurseryman, sow them in boxes so that you can get some seedlings, with seedlings, you may need to transplant them, especially if you have sown them quite thickly, or directly in freshly prepared ground, and give them free access to sun air and water for a month. Then pull them up, munch, munch, munch. Try salted radish, with a little bit of real butter spread upon it, really delicious and an unusual combination.
Best Time for Planting
Like I said before, that is going to depend on your location on the globe, taking the weather and other factors, like soil, into consideration. But if you are beginning your spring planting, just heed my council. Many times, you see sunny weather and say, hurrah, spring is here, only to find the winter winds coming back with a vengeance for another 10 or 15 days. So I have a suggestion here. Do all your sowing of your seeds in containers, inside your house, and in comparatively warmer surroundings, so that they can be transplanted into other larger containers, or outside in warmer soil, when you know for certain that the danger of frost has passed for the year.
So now that you have got plenty of information on how to start your kitchen garden, the location, the choice and setting out of plots, mulching, transplanting seedlings and other tips and making traditional pesticides with the help of neem cake and organic fertilizer which is traditional, again, my advice is do not take on too much, in the first year.
The growth of your garden is going to depend upon how much energy and enthusiasm you have left, and how much you have learned during this first experimental year. After that you can scale the expansion of the garden, bit by bit.
In America, there are families who have gardens, which they have turned into kitchen gardens. A 1,500 ft.² garden produces enough vegetables for a family of three – four. However, in many parts of the world, more people are able to get more harvest, out of lesser land. Naturally, they are helped by the resources of nature, sun, water, air, lots of green organic fertilizer, kitchen compost, and nutrient rich soil. Besides this, working outdoors is such a healthy and positive experience that more and more gardeners find that not only does gardening have a very beneficial therapeutic value, but older people are encouraged to do some gardening just for relaxing, and to keep themselves busy.
Always remember that when you harvest a crop, the area has to be replaced immediately with fresh seedlings. No area is to be left bare. This is the only way your kitchen garden is going to survive, and give you a plentiful harvest, all around the year. This also means that you are going to know all about the seasonal vegetables and fruit, which are going to be planted at different times of the year. Note them down, so that next year, you do not have to go peeping into your neighbor's garden thinking "What Has He Got That I Have Not Got," no double entendre intended.
So start up a brand-new revolution, right there in your kitchen and backyard. Start small, start healthy, and begin thinking of planting your own kitchen garden right now. Your potager is just a dream away.
Live Long and Prosper!