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 simply had "a garden." Vegetables and flowers were chosen for their usefulness and intermixed in one garden, a cottage garden, that was 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.
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Decorate With Your Vegetable Plants
Some vegetables, like rainbow Swiss chard, are too beautiful to be confined to the vegetable garden. Show them off by making them focal points in your garden.
This rainbow Swiss chard was recently planted in these strawberry pots, but once they fill out, they will be even more beautiful. And as you harvest the outer leaves, new leaves will fill in, keeping the plants fresh looking and lush.
Containers can be moved about to take full advantage of the sun. You can plant one type of vegetable per container 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.Continue to 2 of 9 below.
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Hanging Garden of Vegetables
There is no gardening rule that 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 that is being reflected back off the wall.
You can use any type of container you like, from old buckets to recycled soda bottles, even expensive ceramic bowls. Just remember that the containers 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.Continue to 3 of 9 below.
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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 the edge around a sunny border.
Rabbits and other wildlife may find your vegetable bed tempting, but if you interplant with companion flowers that have a strong scent or maybe toss in a few onion plants, these will act as a deterrent.Continue to 4 of 9 below.
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Change Your Garden Pallet
Many gardeners know that old, discarded pallets make great 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 going to be hanging your pallet garden, make sure you have sturdy hooks, because all that soil and wood will make it very heavy.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
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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.Continue to 6 of 9 below.
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Show Off Your Container 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.Continue to 7 of 9 below.
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Taking Raised Beds to New Heights
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 benefit if you raise the bed even higher—less bending.
Lifting the planting beds to waist height, like the three weathered troughs running through this colorful garden, means very little bending and far fewer wildlife problems that would otherwise need additional fencing.Continue to 8 of 9 below.
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Create a Garden Room
The term garden room usually refers to a secluded spot in the garden. But gardening in a greenhouse will not only provide fresh vegetables year-round, but you can also pull up a chair and literally watch the plants grow.
This greenhouse provides a view of the garden outside as well as the sheltered vegetables and flowers growing undercover. It is a great place to set up an office while you keep tabs on how everything is growing.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
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Gardening Au Naturel
If you are drawn toward sustainability, look into creating a permaculture garden. This type of garden tries to duplicate the layering found in natural systems and forests. There are upper story trees, climbers, perennial vegetables, root crops, and self-sowers that intermingle, creating your own personal foraging garden.
It takes some effort to create a working permaculture garden, but it will require much less maintenance than traditional vegetable gardens once it gets going.