11/25/13

Grow Your Own Food

This article is from Instawares Kitchen and Restaurant Blog, a publication that covers everything from the latest kitchen equipment and supplies to food safety best practices.

Growing your own food is satisfying and healthy. Keeping a small vegetable garden by your house can be a great way to beautify your yard and stock your kitchen. We all have limited space and time to tend to our gardens.

When starting a kitchen garden, prioritize crops to be low maintenance and perishable after picking. This will save you from running to the store often or having your vegetables go bad. Here are five essential plants to grow in your garden to keep your kitchen stocked with great produce.

1) Garlic. Garlic is a fairly low maintenance and pest-resistance plant. Simply plant before the winter and pull up in spring. Depending on how much you plant, you will be set with garlic for the season. Garlic is a great staple in healthy cooking and worthy of a place in your kitchen garden. Once you pull your harvest, clean and bread the bulbs together. Hang them on walls as household décor and use throughout the year.

2) Leafy greens. Depending on your preference, chard, kale and spinach are all terrific things to keep in your garden. When you buy leafy greens at the store, they go bad quickly if you don't use them within a few days. The advantage to growing leafy greens in your garden is that they keep better in the ground than in the refrigerator, and you won't need to go to the store often to replace them.

If you need greens for cooking, simply go outside and pick a few leaves of what you need for the freshest greens possible. Leafy green plants will keep growing and putting up new leaves all season. A few plants should keep you well stocked all season.

3) Hot Peppers. Hot peppers are very healthy and very pest resistant. Some hot pepper plants produce so much fruit in a season, you may be looking for ways to dry and store the bounty. This is great because hot pepper works just as well dried as it does fresh. Pick a variety you like for your garden.

4) Every kitchen garden needs herbs. Herbs can be expensive, so why not grow tasty fresh herbs at home? Herbs are endlessly useful, whether you are flavoring tomato sauce or making medicinal teas. Rosemary, sage, parsley, coriander and thyme are all excellent things to keep in your garden. Perishable herbs such as parsley are well worth keeping in your garden, as you can simply pluck a handful as needed while keeping the plant in tact to produce more parsley for the future. Keep fresh herbs around you will notice a real increase in the quality of your cooking!

5) Grow another vegetable that you like. The great thing about a kitchen garden is that it provides you with perishable plants that you can often pick as needed. Pick one more vegetable that you really like and cook with often and grow it near your house.

The key to a good kitchen garden is to plant crops of perishable foods that you use frequently. You can keep your kitchen otherwise stocked with grains, potatoes flour and spices that keep for a long time. This way, you will limit the amounts of trips you need to make to the grocery store and be able to get many of your perishable greens and herbs directly from your garden.
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