With spring just around the corner, I find myself itching to get out in the garden! With all the changes to our lifestyle, however, our typical garden just won’t work anymore. We used to grow the garden staples – corn, carrots, pea’s, potatoes. That is hardly keto friendly. I didn’t want to give up my garden so I decided to plant a keto friendly garden this spring! Being self-sustainable and healthy are both important and you don’t have to give up one for the other!I didn't want to give up my garden so I decided to grow a keto friendly garden this spring. Click To Tweet
What will you grow in your Keto friendly garden?
There are actually quite a few vegetables you can grow in a keto garden. Although my list of possibilities was long I paired it down to a more manageable size. I decided to pick the vegetables our family used the most in our keto cooking.
Vegetables I will Grow
- Brussel Sprouts
- Swiss Chard
Of course, there are many other options. Vegetables such as Bok Choy, Asparagus, Cucumber, Radishes, turnips, eggplants & Green bell peppers are also very keto friendly. Pick what works for your climate, diet and gardening room!
What are the Challenges of a Keto Friendly Garden?
Challenge 1 – Layout
Planning the layout of a keto garden actually took a bit of work! It seems that most of the keto friendly vegetables belong to the same plant families. It is generally considered a bad idea to plant vegetables from the same family right beside one another. Plants from the same family group growing too closely together can lead to the spread of diseases and pests. No garden wants that!
I decided to alternate my leafy greens with the rest of the vegetables. I even had to add one to make it work, but who is complaining about more vegetables? Besides I have always wanted to try growing Swiss Chard. I worked up this quick visual chart so you can see what I mean.
Challenge 2 – Cool Weather Plants
Depending on where you live this may or may not be a problem for you. I live in South Georgia. It gets hot here in the spring very quickly! When researching my keto garden I discovered that almost all of the keto friendly vegetables prefer cooler temperatures.
Get my butt moving and plant earlier! If you are planting from seeds starting them indoors could negate some of this problem. Or you could buy seedlings. This problem is also a bit of a blessing in disguise as most of these plants can be planted a second time in my growing zone for a fall garden. One garden, two crops! How great is that? It is possible that good mulching and some shade cloth could also help.
Help! I don’t really know how to garden! But I want to try!
No problem! To be honest I am far from being a master gardener myself! I have put together some quick tips for each of the vegetables I plan on growing in my keto garden. Between that and our layout plan above, you should have a pretty good start on growing a Keto Friendly Garden! Be careful though, gardening is addictive. Once you start you just can’t Stop!
Vegetable Growing Tips for our Keto Friendly Garden.
- Grow near cucumber, lettuce, radish, celery, swiss chard, spinach.
- Prefers Cooler Temperatures (65-80 Degrees). Brocolli that is planted while it is too cold will form heads too early which will result in small crops. Plant when it is too hot and they will bloom too quick (bolting). It is best to check your local planting dates for the best time to plant broccoli in your area.
- Needs 6 hours of sun a day.
- Needs fertile, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter.
- Space plants about 18 inches apart in rows. Space your rows about 24 inches apart so you have room to walk between them for weeding.
- water regularly.
- mulch your garden to help keep the soil cool and moist.
- Harvest broccoli when the buds on the heads are still tightly closed. If they start to open harvest immediately.
- Grow near celery, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard.
- Prefers cooler temperatures (the 60’s). Cauliflower is slightly more temperamental than some of the other keto friendly garden plants and requires consistently cool temperatures. It should be planted 2-4 weeks before the last frost date in your area for a spring crop and 6-8 weeks before the first frost for a fall crop.
- Requires 6 hours full sun a day.
- Space plants 18 inches apart in a row with rows spaced about 30 inches apart for easy weeding.
- Mulch your garden to help keep the soil cool and retain water.
- To get crisp white and tender heads on your cauliflower pull the leaves over the developing heads and fasten them with a clothespin. The plant leaves are supposed to cover the heads naturally, but sometimes they need a bit of help!
- Leave your cauliflower heads to grow for as long as the heads remain compact. If they start to loosen go ahead and harvest them, the won’t get any better.
- Grow next to lettuce, spinach, pepper, squash
- Prefers well drained and fertile soil
- Plant about 1 week after last frost date in your area.
- These plants need a LOT of room. Space them out 3-4 feet apart in rows. If your space is limited you can use a trellis for vertical growth.
- These plants like consistently moist soil but should be watered at the roots to avoid disease.
- Harvest when the fruit is about 4 inches long. Your plant will continue to produce as long as you keep picking the fruit regularly.
- Grow near cucumber, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard
- Brussel Sprouts are slow growing plants. Seeds should be started 6-8 weeks before the last frost date for your area.
- Requires 6 hours of sunlight a day
- Plants should be spaced 18-24 inches apart in rows with rows spaced about 30 inches apart.
- Water thoroughly after planting
- Harvest your Brussel sprouts when the heads are about 1-2 inches in diameter. If you harvest from the bottom of the plant upwards your plant will continue to grow and produce.
- Brussel sprouts can withstand frost and can be harvested until hit with a hard freeze.
- Grow near cucumber, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard.
- Plant about 4 weeks before the last frost date for a spring crop and 6-8 weeks before the first frost for a fall crop
- Requires at least 6 hours of full sun a day.
- Space plants about 12-24 inches apart in a row.
- Cabbage requires consistent and even moisture to form good heads. Mulching is very important to keep the soil cool and moist.
- Harvest your cabbage when the head of the plant feels firm when squeezed.
- A cool weather crop spinach prefers temperatures from 35 – 75 degrees.
- Prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade
- Plant spinach 4-6 weeks before the last frost for a spring crop and 6-8 weeks before the first frost for a fall crop
- Space your plants about 12 inches apart
- Once it starts to get too hot spinach will start to bolt (go to seed). If you see your plants doing this pull and eat them before they get bitter.
- You can start to harvest your spinach as soon as the leaves are big enough to eat. Harvest the large outer leaves first and leave the smaller center leaves to grow. Harvesting your plants in this manner will keep them producing longer!
- Kale prefers cooler weather. Plant your seeds 3-5 weeks before the last frost date for a spring crop and 6-8 weeks before the first frost for a fall crop.
- Grows best in full sun but will still grow in partial shade.
- Space your plants 18-21 inches apart
- Mulch your soil to help keep it cool and moist.
- Harvest your kale as soon as the leaves are big enough to eat. Harvest by picking the larger older leaves from the bottom of the plant. Leave the smaller leaves at the top so that your plant continues to grow and produce.
- Lettuce is a cool weather crop, it grows best in temperatures ranging from 45-80 degrees. Plant your lettuce about 1 month before the last frost date in your area. for a spring crop and 4-8 weeks before the first frost for a fall crop.
- Space your plants about 6-18 inches apart for larger heads but lettuce will adapt to more crowded conditions if you plan on harvesting the leaves as you need them.
- Lettuce prefers full sunlight but will still grow in partial shade.
- Harvest your lettuce by taking what you need from the outside of the plant or cut the entire head off at the base to eat the whole plant at once. If your plant starts to go to seed then harvest the entire plant immediately.
- Plant Swiss Chard about 2-4 weeks before the last frost date for a spring crop.
- Unlike many of the other keto friendly garden plant, swiss chard will actually tolerate some heat as long as they are well watered.
- Swiss Chard will continue to produce spring, summer, and fall.
- Space your plants about 12-18 inches apart.
- Harvest the outer leaves of the plant as soon as they are big enough to eat. Younger leaves are more tender but make sure not to overharvest if you want your plant to keep producing!
Have you started your spring garden yet? What are you growing?