Friday, August 10th, 2012...9:28 am

Creative Vegetable Gardens

vegetable garden by mazaletel

When TheGardenLady recommends making an edible garden instead of merely a flower garden in the front yard, it should be as attractive as a flower garden can be. It should not be the long straight rows of one type of vegetable, the type of field a farmer would make to grow commercial vegetables. Just because you are using vegetables doesn’t mean that the artist in you cannot create a beautiful masterpiece. You can create a landscape with vegetables that are beautiful as well as edible. When one reads gardening catalogs it is apparent that vegetable plants of today are often as pretty as flowers. Go through the Park Seed Catalog or the Burpee Seed catalog or any catalog that has photos of the plants. You will find vegetables as pretty to the eye as they are to eat.

AMSTERDAM: PRINSENEILAND. The mural shows the vegetable garden of Nelson Mandela on Robben Island by Akbar Simonse

Many of the vegetables TheGardenLady suggests can be grown in containers. If you buy attractive containers, the vegetables will seem like flowers. Since you will want to eat vegetables, a large container the size of a half barrel (I like the look of barrels used as containers) would work best.  Remember the formula that is used for a flower container is thrill, fill and spill.  Do the same formula for the vegetables in the planter.  If you must have a tall flower, put something in the center that flowers but you can still eat and surround it with leafy vegetables.  Our thrill flower could be one of those many container sunflowers.  Check out Park Seeds Solar Babies Mix Sunflower Seeds that grows 2 to 3 ft tall but has different sized flowers.  If it doesn’t have to be a flower, consider a tomato plant as the center or thrill part of the container.  For the fill part of the container consider Park Seeds Hestia Dwarf Bean Seeds that also have pretty flowers. And for the spill plants, try nasturtiums.  Nasturtium flowers and the leaves in salads you serve your friends will make you “the hostess with the mostess.”Remember to get plants that grow about the same time- you don’t want to mix cool weather crops with hot weather crops or your container might look empty.

I can’t believe anyone seeing this type of container display in a front yard would criticize it or complain. If you prefer to have containers with just single types of vegetables – so many of the new vegetables have been bred to plant successfully in containers – some of the small cherry tomato would be especially pretty.

If you want raised vegetable beds, again try to create something pretty.  Surround the bed with pretty rocks like an alpine garden. Here are some examples.

Remember, the vegetable garden can be as creative as you are. And if you want more ideas, there are books written on the subject.

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