Property Advice

Why you need a kitchen garden

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter |
Why you need a kitchen garden

With the trend towards making our cities greener, comes an awareness of how we can all contribute to strengthen our nation’s resilience to climate change. Kitchen gardening, which is the ability to grow our own food for use in our own cooking, carries some weight in responding to climate change. It eliminates the need for us to use transport to shops, it is convenient and requires no packaging, and best it that it gives us a chance to produce fresher and healthier food.

Some of the benefits of a kitchen garden:

  • Fresh produce is rich in nutrients such as vitamins A and C, folate, and antioxidants, among other plant specific nutrients.
  • Plants are not adulterated by pesticides.
  • Produces cleaner, fresher air.
  • Cheaper than store bought.
  • Recyclable in terms of unused plants that can be recomposed for growth of other plants.
  • Organic kitchen waste can also be used as compost.
  • Easy access.
  • Greenery and gardening is known to improve mood and wellbeing, and reduce stress levels.
  • Engages the whole family in a united project.

How to create a kitchen garden

Regardless of where you live, be that in an apartment with or without a balcony, or an estate or free-standing property, anyone can create a kitchen garden with minimal effort.

  • Decide on the area. Designate a specific space, bearing in mind that you can even devote a vertical wall to this dedicated project.
  • Plan your layout.
  • If using a garden space, don’t forget access pathways and potentially brick or stone edging.
  • If a wall, plan to put shelving or wall bags evenly spaced and within reach.
  • If using troughs or plant pots, make sure they are raised off the ground.
  • Prepare the area removing weeds, and/or prep your plant pots, troughs or bags with nourishing compost and/or potting soil.
  • Compile a list of the vegetables, fruits and herbs you wish to grow, with a particular focus on those easy to maintain.
  • Decide whether you wish to plant seeds, or ready-to-plant versions.
  • Note which plants prefer full or partial sunlight, or shade.
  • Consider grouping companion plants together (eg: legumes like peas and beans), roots (eg: carrots and beetroot).
  • Note the care instructions such as planting dates/seasons and watering.

Easy grow

There are certain types of plants that are easier to grow than others, but the most important consideration should be given to those that you will use regularly. Herbs can be easily grown in pots and most recover well from multiple snips. Also note that certain regions have greater success than others in producing the healthiest plants. Consider these plants which are popular in kitchen gardens, depending on the effort and time you are prepared to invest, and your personal taste:


Beans, beetroot, celery, corn, carrot, eggplant, lettuce of all varieties, peas, peppers, radish, tomatoes and their baby version, pumpkin, spinach, Swiss chard, melons including watermelon, cucumber, onion and spring onions, chilies, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, zucchini, and potatoes.


Coriander, rocket, fennel, basil, mint, sage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, chives, origanum, dill, tarragon, marjoram, fennel, lavender, sorrel, bay leaf and lemongrass.


Strawberries, blackberries, figs, gooseberries, lemons, tomatoes (note these are also included in the vegetable list), rhubarb, plums and apricots.

Best advice

Most reputable nurseries have an advice desk or helpful staff that can direct you in your startup kitchen garden. It is recommended to start small and plan according to the tastes and consumption of your household.

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