The Rise Of Homegrown Food: How The Cost Of Living Has Pushed Us Towards Kitchen Gardens And How To Get In On The Action Yourself

Last Updated on September 15, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

If you ask people nowadays what hobby is growing the fastest, you might be surprised to hear gardening is skyrocketing in popularity. And it’s no coincidence – with the insane cost of living these days, families are getting creative to keep healthy meals on the table.

More and more folks are turning to grow their own organic garlic, tomatoes, and other kitchen staples right at home. Kitchen gardens are becoming less of a trendy hobby and more of a necessary solution.

In fact, a report from the Bigger Garden found a whopping 55% of Americans are gardening. When you can’t afford to shop for groceries like you used to, growing your own makes a lot of cents!

Kitchen Gardens Are Becoming A Necessity, Not A Luxury

potted plant

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you know prices seem out of control. Inflation on food hit 9.5% last year – the highest increase we’ve seen in decades. For families trying to make ends meet, putting even simple meals on the table has become a challenge.

Nowadays, a kitchen garden isn’t just for folks who have time for a trendy new hobby. These homegrown veggies provide access to organic, nutrient-dense, and affordable ingredients to help offset the costs that keep rising in the market. Even starting a small garden can make a dent in your grocery budget.

The Health Benefits Of Homegrown Food

It’s common knowledge that homemade meals are more nutritious than takeout or packaged foods. But studies also show even store-bought produce doesn’t stack up against the nutritional power of homegrown fruits and veggies.

The vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients are significantly higher from your backyard bounty. Having this fresh, tasty produce at your fingertips makes it so much easier to throw together nutritious meals. After all, even Brittany Coburn, a family nurse practitioner at Logan Health, said for News Medical:

“Real food matters and increasing fruits and veggies can reverse some forms of diabetes, eliminate elevated cholesterol, and impact blood pressure in a positive way.”

Soon, your family won’t be able to imagine dinner without your homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers! And knowing exactly where your food comes from gives you peace of mind you just can’t put a price on.

How To Start Your Own Kitchen Garden: A Step-By-Step Guide

Starting a kitchen garden seems intimidating, but don’t sweat it! It’s much easier than you probably think. With some upfront planning and prep, even total newbies can be on their way to big, beautiful harvests in no time.

This handy guide breaks it all down step-by-step so you can start growing a thriving garden right from your home. So don’t let a lack of experience stop you from reaping the tasty rewards. 

Planning Your Garden

Getting started with a kitchen garden is easier than you might think! First, take stock of the outdoor space or sunny spots inside your home that could host plants. Even a small area on a balcony or windowsill can grow a bounty with the right approach.

Consider your climate and sunlight exposure as you select plant varieties suited for your region. Will raised beds, containers, or a mix of methods work best? Proper planning early on helps set your garden up for success.

Choosing The Right Plants

For beginner gardeners, focus your selections on hardy plant varieties known to be relatively easy to grow. Tomato and pepper plants are classics for a reason – they tend to thrive with minimal fuss.

Don’t forget nutrition-packed leafy greens such as spinach and kale that can be grown in tighter spaces. Beans and root vegetables like carrots and radishes also make great starter crops.

And herbs add a flavorful punch to dishes without taking up much room. If you’re looking for something that’s both easy to grow and offers a burst of flavor, consider planting your own organic garlic bulbs from the Basaltic Farms. Choosing disease-resistant varieties gives you a head start battling common garden pests

Soil And Fertilizers

Now comes the fun part – getting your hands dirty! Test your soil’s pH and nutrient content before planting. Most edible plants thrive in the 6.0 to 7.0 range. Add compost or balanced organic fertilizers to enrich the soil as needed.

Maintain this fertility throughout the season by applying all-purpose fertilizers every 2-3 weeks. This keeps plants well-fed for optimal health and production. Proper soil nourishment makes all the difference.

Planting And Maintenance

With your soil primed for planting, it’s time to get growing! Follow seed packet or plant tag instructions for proper planting depths and spacing. As plants grow, use trellises, cages, or poles to support climbing crops like tomatoes and beans.

Consistent weeding and watering prevent your crops from withering. Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings to avoid oversaturation.

Watch closely for signs of pests or disease, removing any infected plants immediately to prevent spreading. Healthy maintenance keeps your kitchen garden flourishing.

Harvesting Your Produce

Before you know it, you’ll get to enjoy the fruits (and veggies!) of your gardening labor! Keep an eye on seed packets and plant tags for estimates of when different crops will reach peak ripeness and flavor.

For leafy greens and herbs, harvesting often by pinching off outer leaves and stems encourages steady regrowth.

Allow vining plants like tomatoes adequate time to fully mature before picking. One of the simple yet profound joys of gardening is plucking a sun-warmed tomato or pepper straight from the vine to add unmatched freshness and taste to your next meal.

How Kitchen Gardens Contribute To A Sustainable Planet

Beyond the benefits for your budget and health, homegrown food has major upsides for the planet, too. Produce transported across countries has a far larger carbon footprint than local harvests.

Kitchen gardens also foster a connection to nature’s cycles and nutritional wisdom. Wasting less food means sending less organic waste to landfills. And composting plant leftovers creates “black gold” to enrich your soil. The impact of even the smallest garden is significant.

Conclusion: Dive Into The World Of Gardening

If you put in the legwork on planning, caring for your plants, and hanging in there with some patience, that kitchen garden of yours can crank out monster harvests, save you big on groceries, deliver health perks, and even help the environment – not bad for a bit of effort and waiting, huh?

Don’t let limited space or inexperience stop you from diving in. Start small this season by selecting a few hardy, beginner-friendly crops to raise from seed to table. Before you know it, your family will be hooked on the fresh flavors and the sense of connection that comes from nurturing your own plot. So why wait? Grab your trowel, and let’s get growing – your kitchen garden bounty awaits!