Food for thought: grow the produce aisle in your backyard

The key to a healthy diet is loads of fresh vegetables and fruit. Why not make it easier by growing your very own bounty of delicious, whole food at home? Save money and feel healthier. Here's how to get started.

Food for thought: grow the produce aisle in your backyard

Gardening tips

  • Lay your kitchen garden on flat ground so that it is sheltered from the wind, but receives plenty of sun. If possible, the minimum size of a kitchen garden should be about 25 metres squared (270 feet squared).
  • Choose your plantings carefully. Take into consideration the height and width of growth — will one fruit block the sun from another? Are some vegetables better suited to grow beside a particular pairing? Make selections that will ripen at different times during the summer and fall; this will guarantee a continuous supply and variety of fresh produce. You won't get bored and your body will reap the benefits.
  • Make a sketch before you break soil. The sketch should show the locations of the beds, pathways, possible sitting areas and desired plantings; this will make seeding and harvesting much easier. If you have a clear visual idea of how things should look, the physical process will become easier.
  • For a traditional kitchen garden, use a four-square design, based on the intersection of two major paths within a symmetrical, enclosed area. When laying out the pathways, take into account the width of the plants that will grow along its edges.
  • Use intersecting pathways in your plan so you can easily reach garden beds to plant, care for and harvest your fruits, veggies and flowers.
  • Delineate pathways with ease by lining them with box hedges that grow no taller than 50 centimetres (20 inches).
  • Save space in a smaller kitchen garden by edging individual beds with marigolds, other perennials and even chives.
  • Start laying out the kitchen garden in the fall by planting the trees and shrubs, keeping in mind their eventual height and the shade they'll create.
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