Garden-to-Table Gardening

Easy, Step-By-Step Guide

Garden-to-table gardening is not a new concept, but it is being embraced more and more as food prices and health concerns surrounding food, continuously rise. But what does garden-to-table actually mean, and how can you do it yourself?

Garden-to-table gardening is when a person grows a garden for the purpose of bringing their harvest to the table. This is a smaller concept of farm-to-table, which is where restaurants purchase fresh produce directly from local farmers to use in their recipes. Garden-to-table gardening can help cut your food costs in half while ensuring that you are consuming fresh, high-quality, chemical-free produce at all times.

How to Start Your Own Garden-To-Table Garden

Choose What You Use

The first step in planning your garden is to choose the type of produce that you’d like to grow. Many types of herbs are easy for beginners to grow, and many people use them on a daily basis, so growing a small herb garden full of your favorite herbs is a good place to start. These can include sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, parsley, and coriander, among many others. If you are a tea drinker, consider planting herbs to use in your tea such as lavender, chamomile, and peppermint. Herbs grow well in containers, indoors, and of course, in the ground, so no matter the amount of space you have, anyone can easily grow herbs. Choosing herbs that you tend to use in your kitchen the most will help cut your food costs down substantially.

Next, think about vegetables or fruit that you purchase regularly. If you are buying potatoes, onions, or tomatoes every week, then they could be great additions to your garden. Fruit such as apples, peaches, and oranges are common kitchen staples, but keep in mind that they grow on trees, which can take years to produce fruit. They are a great addition to any garden if you’re able to wait a while. Make a list of common fruit, vegetables, herbs, and spices that you use regularly to help you make the most of your garden.

After you choose the plants you’d like to grow, you’ll need to do a little research to ensure you’ll be able to grow them in your area. Some vegetables, such as tomatoes, have long growing seasons that require a lot of heat and sunshine. So, if you live in a colder climate, you may need to keep this in mind.

Choose Your Garden Type

The next thing you’ll need to do is to figure out what type of garden you want to grow. Do you have enough space to grow your plants in the ground, or would you prefer the convenience of a raised garden bed? Do you only have space for a few small containers? Many plants grow just as well when planted in containers as they do in the ground, so your garden doesn’t have to be a conventional style. The best thing to do is to create a garden that is right for you.

Raised beds offer the convenience of accessibility, and you also have full control of the type of soil you use. When planting fruit, vegetables, or herbs, the quality of the soil is as important as the amount of sun and water your plants receive. It is best to have light, fluffy soil that is well-draining but also retains a good amount of moisture. You can mix your own soil using a mixture of peat moss, sand, and organic matter, or you can purchase high-quality soil from your local farmers market or gardening store. Keep in mind that filling containers or raised garden beds can require a lot of soil, so be prepared.

If you opt to plant your garden directly in the ground, then you can amend the soil by adding well-aged, organic compost or other organic material into the soil a few weeks before planting. This will help ensure that the soil is full of nutrients and has proper drainage. In-ground garden beds are prone to weeds, so be on the lookout and eliminate any weeds right away. If you choose to start your garden in the ground, remember that most spring vegetables must be planted after the last frost of the season.

Once you’ve got an idea of what you want to plant and the type of garden you want, there are a few more things you’ll need to know before you start planting.

  • Different types of fruit, vegetables, and herbs grow in different climates–some hot, some cold. Be sure to research any plants you want to grow to ensure that they can be grown in your area. You don’t want to tend to a lovely jalapeno plant all summer, only to have the frost kill the jalapenos before they’re ready to be harvested.
  • Remember to follow planting guides or research the different types of plants you incorporate in your garden. Proper planting techniques and care are essential to helping your garden thrive.
  • Anyone anywhere can start a small garden-to-table garden. It’s easiest to start small with just a few of your favorite herbs or vegetables and then incorporate new plants as you get more comfortable with gardening.

Garden-to-table is an economically friendly and sustainable way to garden, that gives you the benefits of fresh produce that you have total control over. If you are concerned with the quality or costs of your food, then consider garden-to-table gardening to help cut your worries in half.