Vegetable Garden

Create vignettes in your vegetable patch for nice views and places to relax and take a break.

Maybe you like the idea of having fresh vegetables to serve at your table, but you don’t live on a farm and want to preserve some curb appeal. One compromise that many people make is to tuck the vegetables behind the house where they can’t see the road and limit beds that are visible from the street to flowers.

But if you don’t have enough room to do that or if the light in your backyard isn’t conducive to vegetable plants, it’s possible to plant an attractive vegetable garden that won’t be an eyesore.

With a little careful planning and a few flowers sprinkled here and there among the vegetable plants, there’s no reason you can’t plant an attractive vegetable garden. Just remember that most vegetables need full sun to thrive.

Another important step to Vegetable Garden success is to have your soil tested before you start. It’s much easier to work organic matter into empty beds than it is once you’ve planted, and poor soil will really hurt your vegetables.

Vegetable Garden History

Vegetable Gardening has a long history. As farmers moved into cities and suburbs to look for work, they planted small plots wherever they could to supplement their food sources.

Tending the vegetable crops is a favorite pastime and hobby for many enthusiasts, taking us back to more pastoral roots.

Around World War II, Vegetable Gardening was even considered a patriotic move. Everyone was expected to contribute to the war effort, and the planting of a Victory Garden or War Garden (which were patriotic names for what was essentially a regular Vegetable Garden) was a way to keep people healthy. Some communities started plots together, bringing rise to cooperative gardening.

Vegetable Gardens look particularly great with Foursquare homes, Cape Cods, and Ranches. They also integrate well with Rustic decorating, Tuscan style, or Arts and Crafts décor.

Vegetable Garden Characteristics

As noted above, many Vegetable Gardens are tucked behind houses. These gardens are often planted in rectangular raised beds, with plants organized in long rows. If you’ve got the space to do this, it’s a tried and true way to raise fresh veggies for your home. However, if space is at a premium, there’s no reason that you can’t integrate vegetables throughout your gardening space on the side or even the front of your home as long as the soil and light quality are both sufficient to support the plants.

Enclose your vegetable garden to frame it and also keep pets and animals out.

When you’re trying to plant a more attractive Vegetable Garden, implement some basic gardening principles. For example, consider the color of the vegetable in question and plant it in tandem with a flower in a complimentary color. For example, bright red heirloom tomatoes would pair well with orange-yellow Gaillardia. Or you could plant them with flowers of the same color, like red poppies, to make the tomatoes less visible.

When it comes to planning your beds, decide if you want a more permanent layout or if you want to be able to change it every year. You’ll need to till or turn the soil every year and rotate the location of each vegetable type if you want them to be successful plantings.

One option is to create permanent pathways segmenting the garden into small plots and turn each plot individually. Or make temporary paths each year with wood chips or sawdust, and then mix them into the soil next year and start anew. If you plan on using this more flexible approach, carefully consider the placement of any perennials, since you’ll have to work around them every year.

You might also use a row of vegetables as an edge or a border. For example, plant a row of cabbages at the border of a flower bed instead of hosta. You’ll need to plan ahead in case of critters, though. This approach only looks good if your row of cabbages isn’t decimated by hungry rabbits.

Even a small yard like this one can be planted efficiently to grow a nice little vegetable garden.

Vegetable Garden Layout

  • Vegetable garden beds can be any shape, with curved or straight lines
  • However, beds shouldn’t be too deep; you want to avoid having to step into them very often, tamping down the soil and damaging your seedlings or plants
  • If beds are larger, you’ll need to plant in rows, which is going to give you a more farm-like and less decorative appearance
  • Raised planting beds will give your vegetable garden an early start in the season.

  • Raised beds warm earlier, allowing you to get started earlier in the season if you’re in a cooler climate
  • Wood chips or gravel are simple pathway covers, or try some concrete pavers for something a little more permanent
  • One way to dress up your vegetable garden is to make the most of your entrance. For a larger vegetable garden, try an arbor planted with climbing flowers. For a smaller area, use a white picket gate and hang a planter filled with blooms

Plants to Use in a Vegetable Garden

Obviously, you’ll want to plant vegetables in your garden, but don’t exclude the possibility of mixing veggies and flowers. Many flowers will attract beneficial insects to your garden, minimizing your need for pesticides. And by carefully mixing vegetables with flowers, you’ll get an attractive plot that you’re proud to show.

So many things to choose from when planting a veggie garden!

Consider planting edible flowers that do double duty. You get the attractive element of the flowers and, if you plant them with lettuce, you have a beautiful ready made salad right at your fingertips just in case you need to throw one together at the last minute.

Some popular choices for a Vegetable Garden include:

  • Clematis
  • Climbing roses
  • Daisies
  • Gaillardia
  • Morning glories
  • Nasturnium
  • Poppy
  • Sunflower

As with any other plant, pick your vegetables carefully. Start out with some of the easier varieties like tomatoes, lettuce, green onions, and green beans. Consider integrating some herbs into the mix for variety. Skip more difficult crops like green peas until your garden is established and you’ve got the hang of Vegetable Gardening.

Use small outdoor tables, a wheelbarrow or other decorative touches to give your vegetable garden added appeal.

Also make sure to consider the scale; corn is a great crop, but those ears take up a lot of space and aren’t the most attractive plants in the world if your plot is visible from the street.

Vegetable Garden Accessory Suggestions

  • Furniture materials:
    • Wicker
    • Wood
    • Wrought iron
  • Some accessory ideas to integrate into your Vegetable Garden include:
    • Inject a little country farm appeal with a scarecrow
    • Hang a bright painted butterfly house or birdhouse
    • Plant some strawberries in an old watering can or wheelbarrow

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