Grow Your Own Food
Practicing your green thumbs right in your own home for your own convenience!
Gardening has always been a form of therapy for a lot of people. Especially in light of an MCO 2.0, it seems that Malaysians need a means to destress more than ever and what better way to do it than exploring gardening? Best of all, even those in high-rise homes can get into it with a kitchen garden!
What is a kitchen garden?
A kitchen garden may take place in your kitchen by the windowsill, and can involve growing vegetables or herbs. This initiative is great for those who constantly cook and are living in high-rise homes with a lot of natural lighting or a spacious balcony. Whereas if you are living in a landed house, that’s even better because you can grow the plants outdoors, giving ample space and sunlight for them to grow well.
How to start a kitchen garden
Starting a kitchen garden really costs less than you would think. Most of the items to get you started may already be in your homes already. Even the vegetables in your fridge can be reused for regrowth. Let’s take for example a chilli and an aubergine.
If your interests are piqued upon watching how easy it is to grow both plants, here’s what you need to know to get started with your own kitchen garden!
1. Do your research
As easy as kitchen gardening may be, you should still take some time to research on the topic. Know what are the best plants in warm climate countries like Malaysia, and what is the best soil type for each plant. Some plants thrive in more alkaline soil while some in acidic soils. No use planting the seeds for crops you will not be harvesting. Spending some time to do your research will actually save you time from redundancy in gardening. So read up!
Image via Modern Farmer
2. Collect your materials
To start the process, of course you will need soil and a container such as a garden pot or reusable items for a more sustainable choice; polybags, buckets, tins—anything that can hold soil in it. For example, you can just use an old plastic bottle as an alternative to a watering can. Just poke some holes in the cap, fill it with water and you’re good to go! You won’t have to worry about overwatering your plants either, because this method will help you easily control the water intake you give your plants.
Additionally, once your plants need to be fertilised, you won’t have to spend on fertilisers as what may be waste to you, will be nutrients for the plants. For example, egg shells contain calcium and can be broken into smaller pieces or ground to a powder to supply the nutrients to your soil, causing your plants to grow better. And if you’re a heavy tea drinker, your used bags of tea can also be used as fertiliser among other benefits.
Image via Container Gardenville
3. Start small
You can grow a lot of things in a kitchen garden, but that doesn’t mean you should. It’s best to plant vegetables and herbs that you favour in your dishes. In Malaysia, coriander, curry leaves and chilli play a huge role in almost every dish so you might consider these three plants for you to start with or vegetables that you enjoy eating so you won’t have to keep restocking.
Image via Gardening Know How
4. Stay positive and encourage communication
As we know, plants are living things and as with all living things, a positive environment is needed so they can grow better and healthier. Some people may find it ridiculous, but talking to your plants will really help it grow healthier and faster. But, that’s not all.
Before you, a beginner, even start planting, you should eliminate all your worries with gardening. Stop asking yourself questions like: What if my pot is too small? What if it’s too big? What if my seeds won’t grow? Worries are the branch of a negative environment, so it needs to go. You should know that plants can still grow well in small pots. And hey, if you’re so worried, you can always relocate your plants if they get too big for their tiny pots!
Image via HGTV Canada
5. Be committed
Of course, this goes without saying. Growing a plant is like taking care of a child; attention and good nurturing will ensure better growth. If you are not committed to the wellbeing of your plant’s growth, don’t expect them to produce a lot of harvest. Invest time out of your day to properly give your greeneries the attention and care they need.
Image via Garden Gate Magazine
Benefits of getting into kitchen gardening
Now that we know how we can start a kitchen garden, let’s figure out why we should get into kitchen gardening. Really, what’s in it for us?
Depending on how many plants you are planning to grow, a kitchen garden can be very space-saving. Hence, why it is so great for people living in high-rise homes who want to get into a new hobby or start living self-sufficiently.
2. Endless supply of fresh cooking ingredients
If you constantly cook, growing your own vegetables and herbs will greatly benefit you. Not only do you get easy access to cooking ingredients, but they are also fresh! As we know, fresh ingredients make a dish taste better.
As mentioned multiple times in the article, a kitchen garden is greatly cost-savvy. It does not take a lot to start one or maintain one. A kitchen garden is the epitome of sustainability; financially and environmentally.
Gardening is a great way to destress. There are really more reasons than one why gardening can help you reduce stress levels but we figure that gardening exposes an individual to the sunlight, whether indoors or outdoors and sunlight has been proven to boost serotonin levels in your brain.
5. Fostering connections
If you are gardening with a family, it can be a great way to strengthen the familial relationship as you are spending time together. It can also teach your children responsibility from taking care of the plants.
Kitchen gardening should be taken up by everyone who has the time and is looking for a new hobby or a means to reduce stress and anxiety levels. It costs very little, but gives back a lot of benefits; not just to the grower, but also to the environment as a whole.
Now, excuse us, while we water our plants.
In the meantime, if you have any interesting stories or tips about kitchen gardening, share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover image via House Beautiful