I recently wrote a piece for Treehugger, “Where Should You Place a New Kitchen Garden?” And this got me thinking about the mistakes I have seen people make. So here are some things you should not do when placing a new kitchen garden:
- Don’t hide away a vegetable plot at the far end of your garden. It seems quite common for people to wish to separate flower plots/ planting schemes and to keep edible food production away behind ornamental areas. But a well designed kitchen garden looks great – and can definitely enhance the view from your windows. And it makes far more sense to keep it as close to the kitchen as possible.
- Don’t automatically place a vegetable garden in the sunniest spot. In some areas, maximising sunlight will be key. But in other situations, the sunniest spot may also pose problems during the warmest and driest part of the year. A sunny spot might dry out excessively in summer. It might be particularly exposed. Consider wind and water as well as sunlight and shade when thinking about a position for your garden.
- Don’t subject yourself to unnecessary work. Make sure there is not a long slog between the kitchen garden and the elements that will provide its inputs and accept its outputs. Sometimes, positioning is a compromise – a spot that is less ideal in other respects but more easily irrigated, for example, and closer to a composting system, could be the best choice. In one extreme case, I knew of a gardener who had been walking nearly 500m several times a day to tend their kitchen garden and water by hand. I helped develop a better, holistic plan that eliminated this walking time almost entirely.
If you need some advice on which type of growing system to choose, or where to position a kitchen garden please do get in touch for consultancy, or a full permaculture design.