Kitchen Gardens


Humans have grown their own food for centuries. It was the industrial revolution that changed the way we ate. What we thought would bring ease actually brought dis-ease. Food processing has inundated our food system with greed of mono-cropping and food addicts. McDonald’s slogan of “Gotta Have It” explains a lot. Before fast food people ate fresh fruits and vegetables bought in markets or grown in their own backyards. Immigrants came to this country and found that stores did not sell their cultural foods and they grew vegetables familiar to them. The Great Depression and World War II inspired even more to grow their own food out of necessity and in support of the war effort. Kitchen gardens are a familiar companion to man.

In France, the potager (kitchen garden), was traditionally a space separate from the rest of the residential garden. They were used seasonally and most were miniature versions of an old family farm plot. The kitchen garden can be a source for herbs, veggies, fruit and edible flowers. Whatever shape, it is a structural garden. The potager comes from the gardens of the French Renaissance and Baroque times. The goal was to make the function of food production aesthetically pleasing. Kitchen gardens have a long history.

A well designed kitchen garden can provide food, cut flowers, and herbs for the home with very little maintenance. The kitchen garden can disguise their function of providing for a home in a wide array of forms…herb gardens, vegetable garden, knots, and cottage gardens. Sometimes urban design calls for a windowsill, a kitchen counter and an old coffee can.

When choosing the location for your garden, keep in mind that most vegetables and herbs need as much sun as possible to do their best.  Good drainage is also a must, so avoid areas where water collects.  Another consideration is the distance from your garden to the kitchen. Your garden may be in your kitchen, a back deck, a backyard or even a kitchen window. Some challenges faced in installing a kitchen garden could range from determining the site, access through and to the site, and access to materials.

People are installing and creating a variety of types of kitchen gardens for a slew of reasons. They are simple and can produce for a various set of needs. There are plenty of individuals online sharing their information and experience in creating and maintaining a kitchen garden. People are creating gardening clubs and kitchen garden networks, from New York to San Francisco. People are transforming whatever available space they might have and some are doing it with others in their community, especially in an urban setting.

Kitchen gardens represent a willingness to live right in the day and age of living fast convenience. It is amazing the type of effort people are playing in their lives, becoming self-sufficient and living a healthier lifestyle. People are reviving the ways of community and self reliance and they are eating well.