Growing a Kitchen Garden for Fresh Produce

If you’re trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle but find the high cost of good food to be prohibitive, a kitchen garden plot might be the answer.

Food is a big deal! We are all constantly trying new ways to make meals that are affordable, tasty, eye-catching, and healthy.

kitchen garden beds with veggies growing

Nobody wants to eat the same old thing week after week. Shifting towards better quality ingredients in our food can create a big shock at the cash register, though. How do we help keep our food costs low, yet make meals that are high-quality?

One way: Produce some of your own fruits and vegetables in a kitchen garden.


pretty garden with tomatoes and flowers - cover of book "edible front yard garden"The 5-Gallon Garden

New to gardening? Limited on space? The 5-Gallon Garden gives you the skills you need to grow food in the space you have. Get started with your garden today!

Starting a kitchen garden

Everybody has a go-to set of foods they cook with regularly. For many of us, that list includes fresh produce like tomatoes, onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and potatoes. What if you could grow those essentials, and instead of running to the grocery store, you simply step out of your door?

That’s what a good kitchen garden does for you. 

You’ll have access to the freshest of foods in a steady supply that will keep you eating great seasonal produce. Besides reducing your food costs, you’re going to create a brand new hobby that will bring you joy and reduce your impact on the environment. Honestly, does it get much better than this?

Now, not to make you feel bad about your own efforts, but want to see an AMAZING kitchen garden? The Royal Kitchen Garden at Hampton Court Palace grew food to feed hundreds of people during the Tudor reign.

kitchen garden in wooden raised beds with greens and yellow flowers

What to plant in a kitchen garden

Be certain that you are planting crops that you actually love to eat. Don’t wind up like some of your neighbors who grow okra or eggplant, never eat them, then spend the rest of the summer trying to give them away.

If you’re growing a kitchen garden for the first time, beware the desire to grow all the things. While that sounds good, if you’ve never grown anything except a houseplant, be cautious. Keep it simple and start with plants that are both easy to grow and a crop you absolutely love.

roma tomatoes in a wooden basket



Crops to consider for your kitchen garden

There are so many crops to consider, but these are a few that are both easy to grow and easy to use in your efforts to cook at home.

Once you’ve successfully grown some of these easy crops, you’ll probably be inspired to expand your kitchen garden next year.

garden fresh carrots with bittermelon, peppers, and other vegetables in various containers

What do I need to start a kitchen garden?

Make sure you choose a spot in your yard that is going to get lots and lots of sunlight. The majority of the plants that produce our food need a good amount of sunlight. [See this post for crops that tolerate shade well.] You’ll also want to be certain that you have good quality soil. Crops grown in well-amended soil will yield a great harvest for you.

As far as tools go, stick to the basics. A hoe, a shovel,  and some kind of plant marker for each crop will be sufficient. Consider the idea of tool sharing for bigger items, whether as part of an organized group or just among neighbors.

Enjoy it!

There is no greater sense of accomplishment than sitting down to eat something from your own kitchen garden. Your time, labor, and energy go into building up that garden. When you take that first forkful, it is going to taste like victory.

Enjoy every bite!

kitchen garden beds with veggies growing

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About the author: Kris Bordessa is an award-winning National Geographic author and a certified Master Food Preserver. Read more about Kris and how she got started with this site here. If you want to send Kris a quick message, you can get in touch here.

4 comments… add one
  • Ruth Mar 20, 2019 @ 1:55

    What are those rounded borders you have going on in the main picture for this article? How did you get/make those?

  • AmandaonMaui Feb 23, 2019 @ 17:27

    How do you keep powdery mildew and caterpillars off your cucumber plants? I live on the wet side of Maui and I have never successfully grown cucumbers due to these problems.

    • Kris Bordessa Feb 23, 2019 @ 18:05

      Cucumbers (and cucurbits overall) are SO HARD here! If they grow and fruit before the powdery mildew sets in, the pickleworms ruin them. Couple suggestions: If you can grow undercover to protect the plants from rain and moths, look into a parthenocarpic variety that doesn’t require pollinators. I’ve had the most luck when keeping rain off these plants, but I’ve also used a 9:1 mix of water: milk to spray on plants. It seems to help with the mildew.

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