From improving your family’s health and saving money on groceries, to reducing your environmental impact and simply enjoying better-tasting food, there are really countless benefits in kick-starting your own self-sustaining kitchen paradise. Not only is it incredibly nutritious and cost-effective in the long run, but it’s also very rewarding to see that with a little time, practice and patience – your efforts will pay off, and that’s something to be mighty proud of.
Whatever your motivation, chances are you’ll enjoy this new hobby and your body and wallet will thank you for it.
Here are four fantastic ideas to get you inspired and started:
1 - Select hardy varieties and companion-plants
Companion planting makes life easier for both you and them. For the simplest of all herb gardens, get a big pot and find an empty corner or bench space in your kitchen. Get your kids to help with the labels. Source via: homedit.com
To make it easier on yourself in the long run, choose herbs and vegetables that you cook with most frequently and team them up with their companion varieties. Do a little bit of research on what plants and herbs are more compatible than others (making less work for you). Companion planting also increases the versatility of your little garden space.
Start with healthy plants rather than seeds for a quick head start. For example, basil, parsley and rosemary are a popular and complimentary combination. Other culinary herbs worth growing indoors are bay, dill, sage and thyme. As for vegetables, you’ll discover that carrots and radishes go well together, and as do all the varieties of onions.
2 - Get Creative with the Right Storage
If you don’t really have the floor space, or even wall space – don’t forget the ceiling space! Consider upside down counters off the ceiling. Source via: homedit.com
Whether you live in a big 4 bedroom house or a small dwelling, there are many ways to store your indoor veggie and herb garden without comprising on space. Besides the standard pot or jar on the windowsill, you could also go for,
- hanging planters,
- bookshelf garden,
- vertical box planter,
- pegboard herb garden,
- vertical hanging planter,
- teacup herb garden,
- sunken counter garden,
- mason jar planters
- little herb garden in a recycled vintage crate/washtub.
Almost any pot or container at least 6 inches or larger can be used for growing herbs as long as it has drainage holes. If dealing with big, growing roots, choose a large pot for extra room. When it comes to soil, fast-draining potting mix is effective over garden soil. If you only have a sealed pot, place rocks at the base and toss some vermiculite into the soil to aid with drainage.
As for vegetables, depending on your vegetable type, some of the easier ones only require a jar and water. Again, do your research on the plants and herbs of your choice to ensure you create the right environment for them to thrive. Research, practice, more research and more practice!
3 - The Essentials: Sun, Water, Fertilize and Harvest Properly
Even in the smallest of kitchens, an indoor veggie and herb garden is achievable, just be selective with what plants you choose and how much sunlight exposure they have access to. Source via: eckforsenate.com
Make your routine easier by keeping a calendar, which helps if you have trouble remembering when you watered last. Most plants die because of excessive attention, not the lack thereof.
Light is key when creating an indoor veggie and herb kitchen. Position your pots where the sun can reach them. Don’t forget that pots will need to be moved around, depending on seasons and when light conditions shift. Rotating your pots is effective too for healthy, all rounded herbs.
One last thing – harvest properly! Wait until the plant is mature to harvest the first time, and never harvest more than one third of the plant at one given time. Then, wait for that one third to grow back because you harvest again.
4 - Regrow your Scraps
Leeks & spring onions are one of the easier vegetables to regrow from scrap. A glass jar, fresh water and a sunny window is all you need. Source via: pennywize.co
Before you throw your scraps in the trash or compost bin…
Did you know there are a variety of vegetables that can re-grow from the scrap pieces you’d normally dispose of? And with many of them, all you need is to just add water.
You can easily re-grow fennel, scallions, onions and leeks by putting their white root end into a glass jar and pouring a bit of water over it. If you keep it in a well-lit area (like the kitchen window) the green leaves will sprout. When it’s of decent size, cut it away and use on your dishes while freshening up the water supply so it can grow again.
Other plants that you can regrow food from scraps include
- sweet potatoes,
- bean sprouts,
- bok choy plus plenty more.
Now it’s time to test your green thumb.
Growing your own herbs, fruits and vegetables can really foster a great sense of community and pride in your household, as well as save money on your next trip to the grocery store. Reduce the amount of pesticides on your plate and up your Masterchef skills. Have fun!
Looking for more kitchen inspiration? Check out our Top 5 Design Ideas for Indoor and Outdoor Kitchens to make greater use of your cooking spaces this Perth summer.
Want to start building your dream kitchen? Contact us!