How to Make Your Edible Gardens Beautiful
Gardens should be beautiful, and productive edible gardens are no exception. Dispense with that idea that vegetable gardens are unkempt, disorganized, utilitarian spaces. There’s no reason you can’t have a productive garden that is also beautiful.
Planning Your Edible Garden
One way to amp up the beauty in an edible garden is through organization. The long rows we typically envision in a vegetable garden aren’t necessarily the most practical for most home gardeners and they lack a bit of excitement. Raised beds, which offer many other benefits, offer built-in organization when you plant in grids or short rows.
Ornamental Plants and Vegetables
In addition to planning out when vegetables will be harvested and how much room they’ll need, think about their ornamental value. Combine plants of different colors and textures in short rows or a grid. Greens are particularly good for creating a grid of alternating colors.
Some vegetables such as tomatoes are better planted by themselves to make crop rotation or maintenance easier. But attractive and useful accessories, such as a beautiful glass cloche to provide early season protection to a special plant add a touch of charm to the garden.
At the famous Chanticleer Garden, giant poppies grow alongside tomatoes, adding beautiful color and interest before tomato plants really get going in the heat of summer. They also plant their small vegetable garden in short diagonal rows.
If raised beds aren’t your thing, consider changing up the usual row concept by planting in grids, on a diagonal or in another interesting pattern. In other words, break the rules and do what you like. It’s your garden.
A small water feature, in this case just a stock tank with a few water plants, adds another element to a productive garden and helps attract pollinators and adds a bit of intrigue when peeking through the garden gate.
Every garden has maintenance requirements and those chores aren’t always fun. But weeding becomes far more pleasurable in a beautiful place with good tools. The Dutch hand cultivator is perfect for working in packed vegetable beds.
You don’t have to choose between attractive and productive. Your garden can be both.
—Erin Schanen shares gardening inspiration and education at The Impatient Gardener—