How to Start a Kitchen Counter Garden
In this post, we have Clive Harris of DIY Garden; a popular gardening blog in the UK. After bringing his vegetable garden from the backyard to the kitchen, today he’s going to share with you his top tips for starting a kitchen counter garden and why you should do it too!
Is your dream of sustainable living hindered by a lack of outdoor space? Then look no further than a kitchen counter garden! Countertop gardens are a hot trend in the horticultural world right now, and it’s easy to see why. At face level, they allow gardeners the satisfaction of growing their own produce, regardless of time, space and environment. But dig deeper, and you will see that there are many more benefits to this nifty little niche.
Countertop gardening allows you to intensively farm a small amount of space with a relatively large yield. On top of this, the soilless growing method that most systems use reduces the threat of pests and diseases, so you can grow your fruit and vegetables organically, with no need for harsh chemicals or pesticides. As the produce is available all year round, fresh and on-demand, you only pick and use what you need, eliminating food waste.
So, as well as personal gratification, and health benefits of fresh organic food, countertop gardening is also a win for the environment and your carbon footprint. What’s not to love about that!
What Is a Countertop Garden?
Traditionally, kitchen counter gardens were simply herbs and, at a stretch, salad vegetables that were planted in pots or window boxes and grown on any available kitchen surface. Remember those grow-your-own chilli sets? At a basic level, they were the most primitive counter gardens.
However, with advances in technology, there are now kits available that support the propagation of a large variety of fresh produce. These kits generally use a growing technique called hydroponics, which offers the gardener precise control over the growing environment. The plants can be developed with the exact nutrition, light and temperature that they need, meaning they grow to their absolute full potential in a quicker timeframe than regular gardening allows.
It may sound scientific and counterintuitive to the whole nature aspect of gardening, but in truth, hydroponics actually results in bigger, tastier, healthier plants which are grown with no harsh chemical additives. Stylish kits are available in a variety of designs, meaning you don’t have to compromise on the décor of your home.
- Choosing a setup is the first step. Time, money and available space all play a big part in which system suits you best. It’s also worth considering what you plan to grow, and what kind of yields you expect. Do your homework!
- Finding the ideal spot in your home is the next challenge. Counter gardens like consistency, so make sure your chosen location has a relatively stable temperature and a good source of natural light (although some come with built-in grow lights). Check the area for draughts or anything else that might impact the growing conditions. Most systems also require a power source, so there should be an electricity point within reach.
- What do you want to grow? It might be tempting to opt for exotic fruits and unusual herbs, but what good is it having bunches of lemon balm on hand when you’re going through three bags of store bought spinach a week? Grow what you eat, and eat what you grow!
- A decent light source is crucial to your counter garden, and has been scientifically proven to influence the flavour of fruit and veg. If your kit doesn’t have a built-in grow light then consider buying one, or at the very least ensure that your garden is situated in an area of good natural light (southern facing windows are best for this).
- The correct balance of nutrients is also vital for a healthy crop. Most counter garden kits will come with their own pre-mixed food and watering instructions, so make sure you study up and follow the directions.
Different plants favour different environmental temperatures, but 18-21 degrees (64-69 degrees Fahrenheit) is a good median point for keeping your crops happy. Ensuring that the temperature around your garden is fairly constant and unchanging is the key.
Plant like with like. The best way to guarantee a fantastic harvest across a variety of herbs and vegetables is to check that all plants have similar nutritional, heat and light requirements.
Reap What You Sow
Eating home-grown produce is exciting and amazingly fulfilling, and thanks to the advent of kitchen counter gardens, it is so easy and accessible to people from all backgrounds, in all climates. Your whimsical notions of living off the land may still be a pipe dream, but a kitchen counter garden is a good step to set you on your way!
This article (How to Start a Kitchen Counter Garden) appeared first on Natural Blaze and can be shared with this message, bio and links intact.
Having loved the great outdoors since he was a kid, Clive has always enjoyed being creative in the garden. This and a passion for writing helped bring DIY Garden to life; his own personal gardening blog to share ideas and inspire others. He lives just outside of London with his beautiful wife Tamara and cute little troublemaker Zack!