Kitchen garden for beginners - build and get started

Kitchen garden for beginners - build and get started

If you are a beginner and want to be sure to succeed in your kitchen country, you benefit from starting on a small scale. Then choose simple, easy-to-grow vegetables - then you will succeed!

Location of kitchen garden

Place the kitchen garden and vegetable land in the plot's sunniest place. It is wise, because virtually all vegetables, berries, vegetables and herbs develop best in the sun. Deep, permeable soil and practical edges are other important details that make the land both fertile and easy to manage. If you start from scratch with a newly planned plot, you need a deeper layer of topsoil than the usual 15 cm laid out for lawn. One way is to edge the vegetable land with coarse logs or boards (available at DIY stores, but make sure they are not impregnated). It provides opportunities for an additional close to 20 cm of soil depth, which is sufficient for most kitchen plants. The rough edges provide another advantage, namely that the grass is prevented from migrating into the country. It will also be easier to keep clean from weeds if there is a solid edge that separates grass and soil. Quick root and other perennial weeds must be carefully dug away with a handle before it is time for sowing. Rotograss can be avoided by planting in a raised bed. Then you build a higher frame or use pallet collars and place newspapers at the bottom.

Four small kitchen counters

The kitchen area is 3x3 meters. That surface is then divided into four equal squares, with the same kind of boards as in the outer edges. The division makes it easier to get a good crop rotation. The soil is depleted if you grow the same crops in the same place all the time. In addition, the boards make it easier to clean and harvest without having to step on the ground. Porous soil provides better root development and more lush growth.

More about kitchen cultivation:

Beginner's easily grown vegetables

8 cultivation tips for the kitchen land

Main salad, winter salad, parsnip, coriander, wax bean, beetroot and black root. It's a selection of the seeds that steamed into my box the other day. I have done it again..ordered a little too many seeds. But my desire when I sit and order and fantasize, is greater than my ambitions! If you look at the delivery note, it looks like I'll make a whole potager in the French manner. What ambitions do you have?

  • Pre-cultivate (if desired, softened and planted when the risk of frost is over)
  • Spring digging and fertilizing
  • Rake, loosen and smooth to the surface
  • So
  • Water
  • Weeding
  • Thin if necessary
  • Harvest
  • So again in installments
  • Autumn sowing
  • Autumn digging

Easy-to-grow vegetables

Lettuce, Roman lettuce, arugula, spinach, radishes, leeks, yellow onions, red onions, chives, sugar peas onions, kale, chard, kyona, mizuna, mizuno, pak choi (Asian leafy vegetables).

Carrots, parsnips, beets, black root, kohlrabi, turnips, radishes, potatoes, horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke (can easily take over).

Poppy, Jerusalem artichokes and squash are mixed - both delicious and beautiful.

Color, aroma and usefulness

Edible: sunflowers (seeds), marigolds, watercress, aniseed, bronze fennel, tagetes of various kinds.

Beautiful and fragrant: reseda, sweet peas, rose hips (available in different heights), leaf hut, cornflowers.

Other good vegetables

Different kinds of beans, asparagus (lighter soils), different kinds of cabbage, corn, head lettuce, fries lettuce, winter lettuce, garlic, fennel, broccoli, strawberries (berries), strawberries (berries), rhubarb.

If you are going to grow vegetables, they do not have to be that high. Maybe a single pallet collar with pickled lettuce and radishes, a balcony box model larger with spices or a more traditional garden land of a few square meters where both vegetables, spices, flowers and berry bushes have a place. As a beginner, you can start growing the easy-to-grow vegetables and then expand to the slightly more difficult varieties. For the sake of variety, it's fun to check out what news the different seed companies have to offer. Today, there are many seeds to order online. Then you get them sent home directly in the box. In the last year, the organic seeds have increased, on my list there were many of them this year.

Straight rows or how crooked can it get?

If you really want to live out your artistic ambitions, you can create a potager. A potager can be said to be a fabulously beautiful kitchen garden where both different vegetables and flowers come together in stylish patterns. A potager does not have to be so remarkable or need such a large area. You can compose each cultivation bed so that a beautiful and varied mix of both vegetables, flowers and spices is created.

The vegetable beds can be rectangular, square or circular. It is important to assess the surface of the cultivation bed so that the vegetables you intend to grow can fit and that you have access to clean and harvest without having to step in among the vegetables. The cultivation area can be long, but the most important thing is to think about the width. The usual traditional and practical dimensions are 1.20 m. Whatever dimensions you choose, they can be repeated one after the other depending on space and cultivation ambitions.

The traditional way, if you want straight rows, is to measure exactly straight rows with a string or by placing a rake on the soil you are going to grow in (the shaft gives a straight impression in the soil). Straight rows can be a gardener's measure of beauty. Holes about noise can be an insult to many. The vegetables themselves give a varied and lively expression.

Garden room!

A kitchen garden can be developed into a fantastic garden room and into a potager! This example is surrounded by clipped hedges. Gates with rose arches or maybe climbing beans. Berry bushes on the sides surrounded by hedges of some kind. Here you can sit down on a bench next to the pots of spices. Cut flowers in the crescent and vegetables of various kinds in the cultivation beds. Why not a brick walkway so you can easily access!

Location and protection

It is important to think about where your cultivation should be located. A vegetable grower needs sun at least 6-8 h / per day. In other words, large trees must not be in the immediate vicinity, partly due to the shade provided by the tree crown and partly due to the tree's roots. The roots can extend very far. Particularly thirsty for water and nutrients are, for example, birch or willow and poplar. If the kitchen garden is close to the kitchen, it is an extra plus! If you, like me, have a lot of deer on the plot, it may be necessary to protect the cultivation with some form of fencing. The type of fencing depends a lot on taste and liking. Preferably a beautiful gate that makes the kitchen garden. In wind-exposed situations, wind protection is needed. Trimmed hedges at different heights some distance from the cultivation, planks and / or trellis can be the solution.

Before you start growing, find out what soil you have. A sandy soil is usually permeable and warm, but with a poorer nutrient content than a clay soil that can be compact but contain more bound nutrients. Maximum performance requires maximum fitness in terms of soil. Different vegetables have different nutritional needs, but the rule of thumb is that the soil's nutrient content and structure are good. If you grow on the same plate every year, the vegetables consume the nutrients. It is important that the soil is drained, that no water remains. No vegetables like a cold and wet soil. The most common is that the soil contains too little humus (soil), ie decomposed plant parts that provide a porous, water-retaining and easily dug soil. In many cases, they also provide a nutrient supplement to the soil and add microorganisms that make the soil more alive. Whether you have a clay soil or sandy soil, mixing in humus is always good. Examples of humus are, for example, manure, compost, bark soil and peat soil. The nutrient content of them can differ markedly. Mixing humus and digging can be a great way to get oxygen into the soil. What time of year you dig and fertilize depends on where in the country you live. At the bottom of southern Sweden, spring digging is recommended, while in the rest of Sweden you should dig in the autumn (clay soils).


In a garden land, you should fertilize 1-2 times / year. The most common is to use different types of manure. What is available is cow manure, horse manure and chicken manure (composted / well). If you have a really nutritious compost, it is excellent. Another way to add nutrition is to cover with grass clippings. A main rule is to never fertilize too much, it can harm the plant and the environment.

Traditional rectangles or raised plantings

The easiest way is to grow directly in soil beds - in existing soil. But if you want to make it a little more manageable, and also nice, you can build some kind of edge around each cultivation bed. That way you can easily access the planting, delimit it to other surfaces and can easily have control over the soil. The boards should be at least 10 high. If you have difficulty bending, you can build high edges so it will be easy and convenient to reach, sow and harvest. It is very popular to put together several pallet collars in height so you easily get a tall growing box.

Raised growing boxes are practical and attractive. Easy to keep track of the earth and its contents.

I have used both home-made pine boxes and purchased pallet collars. It goes well, but you can count on them lasting only a few years. This year I am lucky to get nice boards made of kernel. Oak is a wood that lasts for many years. If you are really ambitious, you can brick the edges of ground bricks. Make sure that the brick edges get a nice finish with a protruding brick, then you can also use them to sit on!

Steel edges are both durable and attractive. These are available to buy ready-made. And if you are lucky, you feel a good blacksmith who can bend to a little steel edges to the dimensions you want. Remember to get them as wide (high) as possible. It will be really nice when the steel edges assume a rust-colored shade.

If you have a small area, you can also grow at height! That is, vegetables that wind up on different types of climbing supports or pyramids. Growing at height also adds variety to the garden land!


If you grow in raised beds with, for example, a wooden frame around it, it is very practical and nice to have some ground cover around it. It facilitates care and accessibility to the drawers. The cheapest and easiest is to dig out around the drawers and lay shingle in the aisles (according to the rules of art), but in the long run it can be a problem because soil and compost will be spilled and thus become a breeding ground for weeds. Many also use coarse mulch that is laid directly on the ground. It's simple and neat, but remember to refill after a couple of years because it breaks down.

A wall and stepping stones of natural stone. Warms and protects. here with vegetables and flowering thyme.

Plates of different types that also fit in the dimensions between the cultivation boxes are practical and look nice. The passages should preferably be 50 cm wide so that a wheelbarrow emerges. A cheap variant is different types of concrete slabs. More expensive but fantastically beautiful is ground brick. It is harder to lay but durable and a beautiful contrast to the vegetables, especially the red.

What shape do you want in the garden land?

Grow in a square, a small land that can be built on when needed. Easy to place in the garden. Aisles of bricks so you can easily access them?

A circular shape can be exciting. Surrounded by a low frame hedge, corridors of shingle and a birdbath in the middle!

3. Simplest form with long cultivation beds but with a width of about 1.20 m. Concrete slabs so you can access.

Compost boxes with top layers of soil

Significantly simpler and more frugal than above is to do the basic step with newspapers and pallet collars as in the previous example, but instead fill the pallet collar with garden compost and organic material / rubbish from the garden. Primer with coarse stuff like twigs and stems from perennials and more finely divided material over. Top with an approximately ten centimeter thick layer of soil that you grow in. The box becomes like a compost to grow on, very nutritious. Later in the season or the year after, you can dig out of the box and get new fine compost soil for other garden projects and then build a new pile in the box. This method requires significantly less soil and is a good way to take care of garden rubbish, while reducing the need for labor-intensive compost.

Kitchen garden for beginners - build and get started - garden

Do you want to spruce up the windowsill with home-grown vegetables and herbs?
Here's how to put one together for use with your kitchen garden.

Gardening can be about so much more than just sweet flowers and perfectly trimmed lawns - the trend of growing your own food has grown in popularity. Some edible plants are easier to care for and grow faster than others, but in general it is quite easy to set up your own utility garden. Limited space does not have to be an obstacle - in many cases it is just as well to grow herbs and vegetables in pots and other containers.

How to start your kitchen garden
Before you start - especially if you are new to cultivation and gardening - you should make sure to do proper research so that you know what goals you should have and what you can expect from your cultivation.

How much space do you have?

How much sunlight does your kitchen window get during the summer?

What vegetables and herbs do you want to grow?

Can these vegetables and herbs be grown in pots or growing containers?

How much time can you spend on care?

The list can be much longer, but these are at least some issues to start with.

The basics: this is what you need
Unless you have an infinite amount of time and a really large budget, it can be a good idea to start with easy-care houseplants. So the first equipment you should get are - unsurprisingly - pots!

Depending on what you intend to grow, the pots should be between 10 and 30 cm deep (and possibly deeper for some vegetables).

Then you should buy sowing soil and topsoil. The best vegetable soil contains a lot of organic material such as composted leaves and well-rotted bark. The soil should be loamy and nutritious, but neither too compact nor sandy. In addition to pots and soil, you need seeds or vegetable residues from which your plants can be sown.

What to plant - herbs?
If you are a beginner when it comes to gardening and gardening, herbs can be a perfect start. They are smaller than most other edible plants and are generally quite durable. Some herbs thrive indoors, making them a perfect choice.

Examples of good herbs that you can start with are oregano, parsley, basil, thyme, dill and chives.

The majority of these want either full sun or partial shade. An advantage of growing the herbs in pots is that you can move them around and place them in the sun if their original storage place is too shady. Sunny kitchen windows are perfect for this purpose.

And vegetables?
Vegetables that are suitable for planting in pots are tomatoes, chili, peas, radishes, lettuce, pak choy, carrots and onions. There are of course many more to choose from, but it can be a good idea not to have too many different varieties to begin with.

In colder climates, it can be more difficult to grow heat-loving vegetables such as eggplants, tomatoes and chillies. Keep this in mind when choosing which plants to plant and where to have them. Good first choices are carrots, spinach, green onions, certain varieties of lettuce, parsnips and radishes.

These plants require different cultivation depths and have slightly different requirements when it comes to sun and shade, but all can withstand slightly cooler temperatures. Growing in pots makes you all the more flexible with what you can grow - and where. If you want to grow your vegetables indoors, you can collect your plants on a tray or other protective surface.

Getting started - when to plant?
Herbs are definitely the best place to start if you are a beginner. You can either sow the seeds yourself or buy small seedlings from your local nursery. Getting a young plant that has established itself and grown a little is usually easier, but on the other hand, it can be very satisfying to grow a plant all the way from seed to full-grown plant.

Another great advantage of planting in pots is that you do not have to be as seasonal when it comes to the time of year you sow your seeds. Although it is best to sow herbs during spring or early summer, the indoor environment is warm enough to keep the crops alive all year round. In addition to sufficient heat, it is of utmost importance that your plants receive a lot of light - preferably natural daylight.

Growing vegetables in colder climates
If you are going to grow vegetables in pots, it is advisable to plant them in spring or early summer. Lettuce and spinach seeds should be sown indoors in February and then moved outdoors in April - weather permitting, and if you have enough space in your garden. If you are planting vegetables outdoors, it is good if they are protected by a dense hedge or other larger plants during the time they are growing. Strong winds and heavy rain can otherwise cause great damage. Other vegetables, such as carrots, do best if they are sown in March or April.

Radishes can be planted later in the season, preferably between March and May.

Another tip: plants can undergo photosynthesis - at least to some extent - in artificial light, even if it is not ideal. You can use special LED lights to get a light that is as similar to sunlight as possible for optimal growth.

Ongoing care
Pot-grown plants require basically the same care as those grown outdoors in the garden. Water, light and fertilizer are what is required to get as plentiful a harvest as possible.

Plants that are kept indoors are less likely to be affected by pests, but it can still be good to keep an eye on them if unwelcome insects or diseases appear. Most edible plants require a lot of water to grow.

Time to harvest
When growing in pots, it is best to harvest regularly and often because the space for growth is so limited. It is also good to know that some vegetables grow and ripen faster than others.

Something that can really test your patience are the vegetables that give harvest only after many months.

Herbs grow continuously and can be harvested regularly for most of the season. For most vegetables, it takes even longer. Salads and other green leaves can be a good option if you do not feel like waiting too long. You can also dry your herbs after harvest to be able to enjoy them for the rest of the year.

Harvest what you sow
Growing your own food may seem time consuming, but in most cases the pros outweigh the cons. In the long run, it saves you money while you get to enjoy the taste of your, to the highest degree, locally grown crops.

Kitchen garden for beginners - build and get started - garden

Here I have collected some of the questions that have come after I shared a series of posts with a concrete proposal on how a new kitchen garden can be built and cultivated.

I am very happy that so many people seem to have found inspiration in the series The Little Kitchen Garden. Many have heard questions about exactly how to start growing and I hope that this very simple variant can be the starting shot for as many as possible. Feel free to tell others about this series if you come across more people who are wondering about ways to realize the dream of their own kitchen garden.

Several have posted questions about vegetable growing I described. I'm gathering a bunch here.

Why do you not keep the pallet collars as an edge?
For several reasons:
1. The pallet collars cost money and to keep the cost down I do not want to buy more than necessary.
2. This year I grow in the company of killer snails, unfortunately. The growers I get inspiration from like to emphasize that the snails like to stay in the space between the board and the soil / compost. Therefore, I prefer not to frame the beds.
3. My experience is that the beds dry much faster out if I grow in pallet collars. The collars do not hold much soil and often a space is formed between board and soil as soon as it becomes dry and I have to keep up with the watering in a completely different way than in the open-air beds. Larger frames are different, but the size of the pallet collars seems to make my watering frequency crazy too low. In the other kitchen garden, I do not need to water so much because I cultivate cover crops.

When do you think that pallet collars are good to use in cultivation?
When I build new beds they are great, I fill them with rubbish and start the bed there and then lift them off. They are also great to use in, for example, the tunnel greenhouses where I do not want the soil to stick out to the edges. There I water more often and the soil does not dry out in the same way. I also use the pallet collars in the children's cultivation, for the simple reason that it is fair and easy for each child to take care of and decide over what they want. Here I also have to be very careful with the watering. In addition, I know that pallet collars or other types of boxes are great for those who, for example, need a slightly higher cultivation to not have to bend when the body aches, or who cultivate from a wheelchair.

We are away for several weeks in a row during the summer and have difficulty watering, can I still succeed with the cultivation?
I think so! Cover crops are absolutely superb for retaining moisture in the soil. The thicker the layer of organic material above the ground, the less water needs to be added. A very simple irrigation system can be a large thin water with a water hose connected to where the hose itself is perforated and as if water leaks out continuously in the bed. Maybe water can be led there from a gutter or else the neighbor can refill once a week?

I would think carefully about which vegetables are grown in the beds and opt out of the vegetables that need to be harvested regularly to stay nice. Many vegetables often need to be harvested to produce more. In the proposal I give in The Little Kitchen Garden, I would in that case replace the sugar peas with perhaps a low cooking bean and the summer squash with a pumpkin that can be harvested in the autumn. In addition, I would sow the summer carrots sparsely in two rows instead of sowing. The broad sowing requires thinning for fine roots, but the sowing does not do so in rows if the seeds are sown at a reasonable distance from the beginning.

What do you think about fertilizing with what is left over when we clean the hamster's cage?
Njae. The manure is cannon, as is rabbit manure and other small animal poop. It is not so nutritious namely and can be laid straight down in the bed. But shavings are not good. It requires a lot of nutrients from the soil to break down. And in a new bed of purchased soil, it is foolish to suck out the little nutrients that are available and let it go to the shavings. Rather add the manure to the potatoes, preferably together with grass clippings or household compost that evens out the conditions somewhat. The potatoes also do not require much nutrition, they still grow well. In a well-established bed with plenty of other cover material, I would not be quite as careful.

Is there anything else that is suitable for growing in the pallet collars' compost cultivation other than potatoes?
Yes, lots! Pumpkin and squash are known to grow nicely on composts. They love nutrition and do not complain if you fertilize the pile from time to time during the summer and cover with grass clippings. Tomatoes also work well, but choose low varieties that do not fall over in the porous mass. I can also imagine beans, cabbage and a lot of other plants, but not root vegetables. Be sure to pull up vigorous plants in advance and plant out in bed in the same way as I described with the potatoes. Give the plant a little extra soil and feel free to cover the surface with organic material that ensures that the pile does not dry out.

How thick a layer of soil should you put on the newspapers so that the roots have the space they need?
The more soil, the better the vegetables grow, of course. So a simple answer is to put on as much soil as you can spare. These are the simplest possible suggestions for getting started growing. And the depth of the soil will get better and better the more seasons are grown, then the roots perforate the lawn more and more and get more space. But also the first season happens surprisingly much when the roots search through the stock of newspapers to reach the bottom of the earth. If the plant thinks it is heavy, it lets the roots go sideways where the soil is porous. A good tip is, again, to cover crops with as thick layers as possible. It provides good conditions for new soil to be created.

Anyone who thinks the soil layer will be in the thinnest layer and is doubtful whether, for example, the roots can have a chance in the bed can choose other varieties than the ones I have suggested. The beetroot can, for example, be of a variety that is flat (it usually says so in the description) and of the carrots there are round varieties (for example 'Paris Market') or varieties that give very short roots.

If there is something specific you are looking for to develop your new kitchen garden, you can look under categories and labels in the right-hand column on the blog. Or throw away a mess via Facebook, I try to respond as quickly as I can.

And for those of you who just need to know more and get even more inspiration, I once again recommend Charles Dowding's clips on YouTube. An extremely knowledgeable grower who in such a humble and fine way shows a way of growing that we do not see much of, it seems to me. The canal does not contain many clips, but it is clear what can be done in a garden without taking a single sod, almost. There are many more who have made clips that show the method "no dig-garden", search and you will find.

Now it's soon spring! Hurray! And although I will have a lot to do with the new little baby, a lot of job projects, tunnel greenhouses and everything else in the kitchen garden, I still can not help but plan for how to expand my cultivation with new beds like the ones I described in series. It is so funny!
/ Sara Bäckmo

Video: How to Start Your First Container Tomato, Pepper and Herb Garden: All the Steps to Get Started!