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Kitchen garden

There is a growing interest in growing your own food.

It is perfectly feasible to enjoy this pleasure even if only herbs in a small pot on the kitchen window. A proper kitchen garden, containers or hydroponics, there is surely a method right for everyone.

Vegetable gardening for everyone

Vegetable gardening has all kinds of positives. It's fun, it's good exercise in fresh air, and (not least) it provides a tasty and healthy food. But nothing comes free. It does require effort.

Planning your vegetable garden is a must. It's a rare crop in unusual circumstances that can simply be grown from throwing some seed into the ground and harvesting a few months later. Laying out the proper size and location, preparing the soil and making compost are only few activities that need to be done before ever planting a seed.

Fertilization needs to be done before vegetable plant seeds are planted and while they are growing. Which kind and how much depends on the species, the soil type and other factors. There are a wide variety of choices today and in each case the directions have to be carefully followed. Over fertilizing leads to burning. Using the wrong type will kill a plant more often than using none at all.

Consider whether you want to use strictly organic methods of vegetable gardening, or whether you will rely on modern aids. Not that those two methods are necessarily opposed. It's becoming more difficult to tell the difference all the time. Traditional organic techniques have been informed by modern science. Modern science has advanced to see the wisdom of incorporating many natural compounds and processes to produce the safest result. Going organic can save money.

Before getting started, investigate which plants to sow. Personal taste will play a large role, of course. Some people don't like onions, others can't stand broccoli. But the soil and climate will have much more to say about the success of your efforts than a child who doesn't like spinach.

Tomatoes, for example, are a great vegetable. Tasty, versatile and very healthy. But they like lots of hot sunshine and most varieties are very sensitive to frost. Planting a number, then having your effort ruined because of a hornworm or an early cold snap is a disappointment you don't need.

Whether you want to grow indoors or outside, in a large plot of earth or grow vegetables in small containers, vegetable gardening will bring many rewards. Putting in a modest effort will bring them forth.

Weed control is a never ending battle. They spring up in the most unexpected places. But they're not the only form of life that will cause trouble for your vegetable plants. Pests and diseases are an ever present threat. Keeping them under control doesn't have to be a war, but it is a perpetual detente.

Watering is critical. Here again, not too much and not too little is key. Soils vary a lot in how effectively they'll drain or retain water. Species vary in how much water they need. How much water is right is also influenced heavily by temperature and humidity. When to water is equally important. Cool nighttime temperatures can encourage fungi and water left on the leaves makes it almost a certainty.

Planting in the Spring and harvesting in late Summer or early Fall is right fot many crops, and this is the case for the majority of kitchen gardens: a summer vegetable garden. However, with indoor or container gardening, crops can grow all year round. Same principles apply when planning and planting for fall and winter.