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How to Find the Perfect Raised Bed Kitchen Garden Spot
Listen in to Chapter One of Kitchen Garden Revival here on the Podcast
Let's start with a message for the perfectionists and overachievers...
There is no such thing as the perfect garden, especially if you live in the city. But even without a perfect spot, delicious food will grow beautifully in the space you have available.
Chapter One of Kitchen Garden Revival is Called...
Find the Perfect Kitchen Garden Spot
In this chapter, you face the challenging task of picking a site for your kitchen garden.
Choosing your kitchen garden location can be a tough decision.
It's one of the key tasks our garden coaches at Gardenary and my team at Rooted Garden do every day: we help clients make the choice between the left side of the backyard, the spot along the driveway, or the space next to the patio.
Choosing the location for your garden is tough for good reason—location means everything. In some cases, the decision may have already been made for you if you have only limited space, just a patio, or only one patch of ground that got sunlight. And for others you may have countless spaces where gardens could belong. In both scenarios, there’s more to the decision than you think.
When Choosing the Perfect Spot for Your Kitchen Garden
First, let's note the four key aspects you should consider when choosing a spot for your kitchen garden.
Take our fast and fun Green Thumb Quiz to see which plants best match your current skill level. We'll send you lots of resources and tips to help you grow your gardening skills to the next level.
As much sunlight on your kitchen garden as possible—that’s the goal. Sounds simple, right? But getting hours of light in your garden throughout the year is difficult, especially if you live in the city.
Sunlight can be obstructed depending on large trees, houses, and even what side you’re able to plant your garden. No matter what side you’re on, the truth is that most of us live in cities and tight quarters and, sometimes the most light our garden can receive is significantly less than six hours.
If this is the case for you, don’t stop reading. There are loads of edible plants that will grow in just a few hours of sunlight. In part two, you’ll learn how to plan your plants based on your sunlight hours.
If the spot you selected, or have available, receives less than four hours of sunlight per day in any season, you’ll need to prioritize growing greens in that spot, such as herbs and lettuces. If it receives four to six hours of sun per day, you can grow root vegetables, and if it receives more than six hours of sunlight per day, you can grow leaves, roots, and plenty of fruit.
Now, let’s consider the second matter: water.
After sunlight, the second item to prioritize for your kitchen garden is its proximity to a water source. Consistent water is key to your success. Nature’s water is best but also unpredictable. And most vegetables and fruit and plants thrive with water schedules they can rely upon. For this reason, think about the available water supply before choosing the site for your kitchen garden.
If possible, place your garden near a spigot or a rain barrel or where you can easily connect to a formal irrigation system.
Before moving on, mark all the spigots, rain barrels, or irrigation hookups in your home or yard on your garden map with a circle.
It’s a kitchen garden, so it makes sense to have it as close to your kitchen as possible. Keeping the garden as close to the kitchen as possible will also ensure you get more use out of it.
So on your kitchen garden map, mark the most accessible spots in your landscape with a square.
To avoid your kitchen garden becoming “awkward” in your space, follow these tips:
- Find a natural spot where the garden could fit in (i.e., side yard, along a fence, etc).
- Look for an area where your garden could match some measurements of other pieces of your landscape (i.e., garden beds measure the height of your deck).
- Third, plant where it will have friends to grow along with. If you’re just creating one box, add fruit trees, a birdbath, potted herbs, or something else to group alongside the garden.
How to Weigh Each Aspect of Your Garden Location
My very scientific calculation has determined that exactly 60% of this decision should be based on sunlight; 20% on water accessibility; and the final 20% of the decision is split between convenience and aesthetics.
It’s true. I did say there’s no such thing as a perfect spot for the kitchen garden, but there is a perfect formula.
As you select your garden location, the goal is to find a location that matches the blueprint as closely as possible:
- Receives six or more hours of sunlight per day
- Is near a water source
- Is located as close to the kitchen and your everyday activities as possible
- Ties in well to the rest of your landscape
- Is able to accommodate the size necessary to hold the amount of vegetables and fruit you’d like to harvest
Each of these aspects should be considered, as they all matter. If you want to, make a blueprint of your property as you begin to design your garden.
Even without a perfect spot, delicious food will grow beautifully in the space you have available. Something edible, possibly dozens of edible choices will thrive in your space. There's always room for you to grow your self.
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