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.
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.
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.
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.
Just because you use a space mainly to grow edible plants doesn’t mean you can’t also grow purely ornamental plants. In fact it’s a great idea to incorporate flowers and other features that will attract pollinators to your garden and add color.
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.
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.
And if you don’t have room for a dedicated garden at all, there is no reason you can’t have beautiful containers that feature edible plants. Swiss chard is a gorgeous plant, beautiful enough to plant even if you don’t intent to eat it, but why wouldn’t you? You can eat the outer leaves and it will continue to grow all summer so you never have a hole in your container.
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.