Vegetable Garden Ideas

Vegetable gardens come in all shapes and sizes. Vegetable gardens can be just as creative and attractive as ornamental flower gardens.

There was a time when people had “a garden.” Vegetables and flowers were chosen for their usefulness and intermixed in one garden, a cottage garden often in the front yard.

Now, you can create a conversation piece as well as a productive little vegetable patch. An old set of drawers finds a new purpose as a planter when arranged on a ladder-like structure. The drawers are deep enough to grow most vegetables, and there is even room for a small tomato cage.

Some vegetables, like Swiss rainbow chard, are too beautiful to be confined to the vegetable garden. Show them off by making them focal points in your garden.

This Swiss rainbow chard was recently planted in these strawberry pots, but they will be even more beautiful once they fill out. And as you harvest the outer leaves, new leaves will fill in, keeping the plants fresh looking and lush.

You can grow just about any vegetable in containers. This can be a very creative and ornamental way to design a vegetable garden. Virtually any box will do, as long as it has good drainage.

Containers can be moved about to take full advantage of the sun. You can plant one type of vegetable per box or mix things up. A downside is that the soil in containers tends to dry out quickly, and you may need to water it every day.

No gardening rule says hanging baskets have to be flowers. Most vegetables will work in hanging planters, too. You may even get a better yield due in part to the heat reflected off the wall.

You can use any container you like, from old buckets to recycled soda bottles, even expensive ceramic bowls. Just remember that the boxes will get heavy when they are full of wet soil and fruiting plants. This gardener has hung baskets attached to strong horizontal boards along a wall.

Vegetable Bedding Plants
Sometimes you have to think outside of the garden. Many vegetables make attractive bedding plants, especially if they are quick growers and frequently harvested, like lettuce and other salad greens. A shady spot under a tree is the perfect spot for them. Or you could try a row of something like carrots on edge around a sunny border.

Rabbits and other wildlife may find your vegetable bed tempting, but if you interplant with companion flowers with a strong scent or maybe toss in a few onion plants, these will act as a deterrent.

Change Your Garden Pallet
Many gardeners know that old, discarded pallets make excellent compost bins. They also make great vertical gardens. Staple some landscape fabric to the inside of the front of your pallet and the outside of the rear. Fill the whole thing with some good potting soil. Then turn the pallet on its side and make slits where you want to insert your plants. If you are hanging your pallet garden, make sure you have sturdy hooks because all that soil and wood will make it very heavy.

Gardening Inside the Box
A simple crate is all you need to plant a salad garden that will feed you for weeks. This is a variation on a raised bed garden, but since it’s self-contained, it’s portable. It may be too heavy to lift when full, but if you put wheels on it, you could move it to wherever the sun decides to shine.

You can squeeze a lot into one small space. Vegetables that are harvested frequently, such as lettuce, carrots, and onions, will be thinned out as you harvest them, so there will not be overcrowding.

Container Garden Collection
If you have shelves, you have a garden—and a nice looking one at that. You do not need to buy special hangers or spend the weekend digging out a spot in the yard—all you need is a set of shelves and some containers.

Place your collection on your deck or patio just outside your kitchen, and you will find yourself harvesting far more often than if you had to walk out to the garden. You can even bring some of the containers indoors when the weather turns cold. Do not forget to include some herbs, too.

Taking Raised Beds
A lot of times, raised beds are only a few inches off the ground. While that does provide benefits to the plants, like improved drainage and warming the soil earlier in the spring, you can give the gardener another gift if you raise the bed even higher—less bending.

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