Kitchen garden

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A kitchen garden is one in which vegetables, fruits, and herbs are grown for household consumption. [1]

The term is often used interchangeably with “vegetable garden” or “vegetable patch”, although there is some indication that modern aficionados consider the kitchen garden as being specifically for hobbyists and gourmands who are also interested in garden design and cuisine rather than simply food for sustenance. In this view, the kitchen garden differs due to the design for aesthetic interest, and in the object—that the end product (not just “food”, but the look and appeal of the food, which could include unusual or exotic food items,) is considered in the choice of plants, and also in the diversity of plants, i.e. that flowers, both edible and inedible, and herbs are included in the plans as well.

Still, others find this pretentious, and insist that a “kitchen garden” is really a good, old-fashioned “veggie patch”.

The best known kitchen garden existed at the site of present-day Covent Garden, originally Convent’s Garden, which was at first a kitchen garden for a monastery, then the surplus produce was sold onsite, and later it became a flower, fruit and vegetable market from the 1500s till 1974, when it was relocated.


  1. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Houghton Mifflin Company 2000

Further reading

Bartley, Jennifer R. Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook. Timber Press: Portland, 2006. ISBN 978-0-88192-772-6