What is Kitchen Gardening? How is it Different from Vegetable Gardening

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what is a kitchen garden

People may have forgotten about the concept of kitchen gardens, but it’s actually been around for generations.

A kitchen garden is not so much a garden inside your kitchen, as it is a garden that’s outside but harvested frequently to bring into the kitchen.

A kitchen garden is planted with vegetables, herbs, and fruits that you use in your everyday meals, and it’s pretty awesome.

It’s good for us and our bodies, neighborhoods, and communities, and it’s good for the planet too. 

It’s basically been created to show people what they can do in their gardens. There is a lot of science involved in kitchen gardening.

Kitchen gardens are important places, especially public ones, because we can try out new crops that help us with our food security for the future.

To know a little bit more about kitchen gardens, it’s better to understand how it is different from Vegetable Garden. 

Difference Between Kitchen Gardens and Vegetable Gardens

kitchen garden vs vegetable garden

1. Size

A kitchen garden is relatively small, so it’s going to range from something small like 20 square feet all the way up to maybe 200 to 250 square feet. A vegetable garden, on the other hand, could be huge.

A vegetable garden will be growing like sprawling fields of corn and melons and just loads of big vining plants, so it needs some more space to spread out, but kitchen gardens are tidier and smaller. 

2. Location

A kitchen garden should be located near the kitchen. It needs to be as close to your home as possible. Kitchen gardens are designed to be like a focal point of your landscape, rather than something you’re going to hide away.

A kitchen garden is really like a feature point. It’s a central place to invite your friends, host parties, or hang out with your family. In short, it’s a pretty cool space to be in. 

But, a vegetable garden is generally further away from your home because it’s big and it needs a lot of space to spread out, and you’re not necessarily going to be showing it off.

There will be times for your vegetable garden where it might look a little not so great, to times when the land is just kind of plowed down, and then other times when the crops are a little bit wild and crazy.

This is not the case with the kitchen garden, though. It should be set up so that it’s nice and tidy and pretty even in its off-season as well. 

3. The Way They are Tended 

A kitchen garden is tended regularly. You’re going to be stepping out into your garden, sometimes three-four or maybe five times a week, not necessarily to work in it but to harvest from it.

So, in kitchen gardens, we harvest herbs and greens almost daily when they’re growing well, and then there’ll be times on the weekends when you’ll head out to harvest a lot of fruits. 

But not wholly similar in the case of the vegetable garden. Well, you may step out to harvest into your vegetable garden as well, but generally, these gardens are attended more intensively, so you’ll plant a whole bunch at once, and then you’ll harvest a whole bunch at once.

The tending isn’t as tender. It’s a little bit tougher. So you have to get out there and work in the field, which is a little bit dirtier and a little bit tougher, and then you may end up with these huge harvests that you have to deal with. 

So you may end up doing canning, storing and pickling, and all that kind of stuff. In a kitchen garden, you may or may not have to do that. Generally, you’re going to be using almost all your harvests fresh because you’re out there so often.

4. Overall Purpose 

A vegetable garden is generally grown just for production. The main point is lots and lots of produce.

The kitchen garden is more about the experience, so it’s about getting out and learning about how food is grown and what happens to each crop and then just having that experience of picking a few things before a meal. 

In a kitchen garden, you can either grow a large quantity of a small variety of plants or grow a small quantity of a large variety of plants. 

There are times when you want to discover how certain things grow, and you are not necessarily interested in getting pounds as a harvest.

Then there are other times when you want a lot of one particular food and don’t want to go to the grocery store for it, so doing a large quantity of a small variety is the best option in those seasons. 

5. Accessibility 

A kitchen garden is possible for everybody, and a vegetable garden isn’t necessarily a good fit for everyone.

A kitchen garden is possible for every single person because: 

  • It can be tended regularly with just a little bit of time. 
  • You can fit it almost anywhere near your kitchen.
  • It’s more about the experience than about tough farming. 

A vegetable garden isn’t necessarily for everybody. It takes up a lot of space, a good bit of labor, and it’s going to require a lot of your time. But, when you bring in all that harvest, you feel great, and a vegetable garden seems the perfect option.

Tips to Keep Your Harvest Healthy 

kitchen garden tips

It’s disappointing to go through the effort of growing vegetables only to find your crops withering before you even get a chance to reap what you’ve sown.

To save yourself from this issue, consider the following steps for your garden:

1. Watering and Observation 

Plants need water to survive. Enough water cannot stress the plants, but too much water will drown or rot vegetables.

Watering also gets you to be focused on the plants. If it’s not possible to hand water more often,  it is suggested to wander around your garden every day if possible. This way, you will become well connected with your crops and know how they’re going.

Walking around your garden is fun and relaxing anyway.  Because of the pandemic, most of us have more time these days to go for a stroll around the veggie patch.

Observing our garden closely allows us to pick up small changes and see any signs of problems early, so we can rectify them before they become big and start affecting the health of our valuable crops. 

2.  Fertilize

Your plants need adequate food, or they’ll go into survival mode, and this is not what you want for a food crop.

Feeding a little more often is better than feeding a lot in one go because too much food can have adverse effects on plants.

Fertilizers also keep the soil healthy. Soil health is essential, and it must be free draining enough to allow roots access to oxygen, but then it should retain enough water so that the plant can get a drink. 

3. Protection from Pests

It is essential to protect your kitchen garden from pests by using different types of herbal medicines. We don’t grow our plants for other things to eat; we grow them for ourselves. So, it is fine to have a bit of crop loss with organic kitchen gardening during this process.

Healthy plants attract fewer pests, which is why nature has hardwired pests on sick plants first, but of course, this isn’t always the case.

Healthy plants can get hit by pests, too, and if you’ve got pests like aphids or scales that are sucking the energy out of your plant, they’re going to turn from healthy to being sick real quick. So you do need to get on to remedies as early as possible. 

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