Many people in urban areas are turning towards eating organic and healthy food. They are keen on growing their own vegetables at home. Consequently, home owners are turning to balconies and window sills, to accommodate small kitchen gardens. A kitchen garden is an area in the house, where you grow your own food, such as herbs, vegetables and fruits for personal use. Kitchen farming in urban areas leads to better health as we eat fresh and organic produce. From leafy green vegetables such as water leaf spinach and Malabar spinach to herbs like basil and mint, almost anything can be easily grown from seeds. 

Here are easy steps to help you develop a kitchen garden: 

1. Decide On The Location:

The two most important ingredients for growing edible plants are sunlight and water. A kitchen garden should be in a sunny spot with a water source nearby. The area should also be protected from animals and pests. The most favorable area for a kitchen garden is the balcony. But sometimes window grill can also be good spot as sunlit stays for a long time there. 

2. Determine The Type And Size Of Your Garden As Well As Pots:

This will be influenced by the location. Kitchen gardens can be small or large and can be in containers, a raised bed or in the ground. You can grow edible plants in almost any container. You could use old bottles and tetra packs or you can buy pretty-looking metallic, ceramic or wooden pots. Choose as per your interest and most importantly as per the space that you have chosen to start your kitchen garden. If you have a terrace or a balcony, square-foot gardening can work very well. 

3. Prepare The Area

Kitchen gardens should have rich, fertile soil that is well drained. Use a shovel or spade to turn over the dirt in the area. Remove weeds, including their roots, to prevent them from returning. Add compost or topsoil to the soil as per your requirements.

4. What To Grow And Their Arrangement

Pick the type of plants and flowers you want to have in your garden. Weather conditions must be taken into consideration when choosing vegetables. Include plants that you plan to use in your cooking. Kitchen garden ideas include tomatoes, snap peas, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce and herbs. Consider the mature height and spread required for different plants. Determine how you will use plants and hardscape edging to define your garden space and design any pathways for your kitchen garden. 

5. Get The Right Soil

Once you have decided on your pots and plants, then go about finding the right soil. These days, many nurseries are selling ready-made potting mixes, which are mixtures of soil and compost. Make sure the soil is allowing the water to seep through and not holding it in, as too much water can rot the roots. Keep a pack of organic fertilizer ready to sprinkle in the pot whenever required. 

6. Get Seeds And Saplings  

Most city nurseries do not sell seeds but you will be able to find the right shops closest to you. There are also a lot of online gardening websites if you don’t find anything in the nearby market. Combine flowers and vegetables for healthy partnerships. Certain types of flowers can attract pests that would otherwise harm the vegetables. Herbs need just 2 to 4 hours of direct sunlight and vegetables need at least 4 to 6 hours so keep that in mind. 

7. Plant Your Vegetables And Watch Them Grow

Plant the vegetables or flowers by digging holes with a plant spade that are wider than the root ball and just as deep. Fill dirt back into the hole around the plants and pat the soil down. Once you have sown the seeds and saplings, look at your plants daily. Water your plants before planting to loosen the root balls. Make sure that the plants get enough spacing and timing, and it varies for different plants.  

8. Harvest Your Kitchen Garden As The Vegetables Get Ready 

Harvest times will be different depending on the vegetables, the timing of planting and the location. If you include a variety of plants, you can enjoy fresh vegetables and flowers from your garden throughout the growing season. 

If you are thinking of growing your own herbs, start by planting things that you like to eat. Plants don’t cost much and once they get settled in, all they need is a little water. If you choose the right herbs then they can also act as mosquito repellents.