Years ago, vegetable gardens were hidden in backyards, where their long rows and convenient plantings could be hidden from neighbors. Today, food gardens are a point of pride for many gardeners and are placed wherever there is enough sun to grow healthy vegetables, herbs and fruits. The design of the garden has also changed, as many grow their edibles entirely in containers, vertically on walls or in raised beds. To help you grow a productive and beautiful vegetable garden, we have put together some of our most popular ideas for edible garden design.
The basics of edible garden design:
In my second book, Revolutionary Food Gardens, edible garden design is celebrated with fun plans and ideas from 73 fantastic garden experts. While I was writing the book, I also took notes for the changes I wanted to make in my own 2000 square foot vegetable garden. And the following spring, I began a complete renovation of my growing space. We turned freeform raised beds into 16-inch hemlock beds. The beds are arranged in a symmetrical pattern with enough space between them for comfortable work and passage for a wheelbarrow.
Before you break the ground for your new food garden or improve your existing plot, think about how your garden looks and how big it is. Consider the following three considerations: Size, location and soil.
Pruning-if you are new to the vegetable garden, start small and grow only a handful of plants. A small raised bed is easier to maintain than a large garden and gives you the opportunity to improve your gardening skills without feeling like the garden has become a chore. Once you’ve had a season or two gardening under your belt, you can always add more beds, containers, or expand your space more and more.
Location-a good choice Of location is another important consideration. Most vegetables, herbs and fruits need at least eight to ten hours of sun a day to harvest well. This is especially important for fruit crops such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash. This means that gardeners with less light can still grow vegetables, but they should stick to shade-tolerant food crops like chard, spinach, and lettuce.
Soil-you also need to take care of your soil, because healthy soil is essential for healthy plants. In a new garden site, a soil test kit shows what nutrients need to be added to the soil and whether the soil pH needs to be adjusted. In my Northeast region, our soils tend to be acidic and I have to add lime to My beds every fall. I also feed the soil with lots of chopped leaves, compost, aged manure, seaweed flour and various other soil changes in spring and between successive crops.
5 Edible Garden Design Ideas:
Raised beds – we like to grow food in raised beds. In fact, one of our experts, Tara, has written a best-selling book about gardening in raised beds, called Raised Bed Revolution. We are partly raised beds, due to the many Advantages that the Details included in this post. For me, I love the early warming of the soil in spring and that my 4 x 8 ft and 4 x 10 ft beds are the perfect size for the mini Hoop tunnels that allow me to harvest vegetables all winter long.
My twenty raised beds are made of untreated local hemlock, as shown in the photo below, but you can use a lot of different materials to make raised beds. Amy used concrete blocks and Tara likes to mount antique objects like this metal sink. If you are using an object such as Tara’s sink, make sure it has good Drainage, or you will need to add drainage holes to the floor.
Obelisk-old-fashioned bamboo Teepees are a traditional way to grow climbing plants like pile beans, but adding something more formal like a metal emblem or bean tower can turn a simple vegetarian Patch into an elegant vegetable Garden. Vertical structures also add visual height and interest to the garden. I also like when I visit a vegetable garden and they have painted their vertical structures in bright colors. A black Metalobelisk (like the one pictured below) is timeless, but it’s also fun to play with bright colors like red, blue or even purple! This is your garden, so if you want to add color to your structures, take a box of paint and get busy.
Tunnel-when I rebuilt my vegetable garden a few years ago, I added three tunnels for vertical crops such as beans, cucumbers, Cucamelons and other vine vegetables. My tunnels are very simple and consist of 4 x 8 foot panels made of concrete reinforced mesh panels attached to the raised wooden beds. The tops of the tunnels are secured with plastic Zip ties and there are two wooden spreaders at the top of each tunnel to maintain the structural shape while the plants grow. Tunnels have become a focal point in my edible garden, and it’s a place where everyone likes to sit on a hot day – I often bring my laptop into the garden to write in the shade of tunnels with bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Container-I have a large vegetable garden, but I always use containers in my edible garden. Pots of fragrant herbs and compact vegetables are hidden between my raised beds and placed on my super sunny back deck. In this room, heat-loving peppers and eggplants thrive and bring an earlier harvest than the plants in my vegetable garden. Most vegetables and herbs can be grown in containers, so do not be afraid to experiment with a variety of crops. If you garden in containers, be sure to check out this comprehensive list that lists everything you need to know about growing food and flowers in pots.
Eating Gardens are not just about Vegetables and Herbs. I also include berries and fruits in my landscaping and vegetable garden. If you do not have much space, you may want to try growing dwarf berry seedlings in containers. The key to success is to choose the right varieties and plant them in large containers filled with a mixture of high-quality potting soil and compost.
A decorative edge-sometimes the most subtle elements of a garden make the greatest effect. In the photo below, a raised wooden bed with a low braid edge was transformed. The border has no practical purpose, but adds a natural detail that fits well with food plants. This edge was made from cut willow branches, but other materials could be used for a similar border. I also like to use compact vegetables and herbs to dress up a garden edge. Excellent marginal plants are lettuce, curly persil, compact kale, bush basil, lemon, marigolds and hilly nasturtium.