10 Creative Vegetable Garden Ideas

Vegetable Garden Made of Pallettes
Dorine Ruter /Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • 01 of 10

    What Makes a Vegetable Garden?

    Dresser Turned into a Vegetable Garden
    mazaletel / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Vegetable gardens come in all shapes and sizes. 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 vegetable gardens can be just as creative and attractive as ornamental flower gardens. Why not create a conversation piece as well as a productive little vegetable patch? Here, 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's even room for a small tomato cage.

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  • 02 of 10

    Decorate with Your Vegetable Plants

    Strawberry Pots Planted with Swiss Chard
    Marie Iannotti

    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. These strawberry pots were recently planted, but think how beautiful they will be when 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 container will do, as long as it has drainage.

    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 every day.

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  • 03 of 10

    Hanging Garden of Vegetables

    Hanging Vegetable Garden
    Well Preserved / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    There's 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, thanks 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 attached strong horizontal boards across the wall to hang the baskets on. 

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  • 04 of 10

    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 bedding vegetables tempting, but if you interplant with flowers that have a strong scent or maybe toss in a few onion plants, these will act as a deterrent.

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  • 05 of 10

    Change Your Garden Pallet

    Vegetable Garden Made of Pallettes
    Dorine Ruter /Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Many gardeners know that old, discarded pallets make great compost bins. They also make great vertical gardens. Just 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.

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  • 06 of 10

    Gardening Inside the Box

    Crate Vegetable Garden
    USDA NRCS Florida /Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

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

    Look how much you can squeeze 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 won't be overcrowding. 

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  • 07 of 10

    Show Off Your Container Collection

    Container Garden Collection
    Loren Javier / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

    If you have shelves, you have a garden. And a nice looking one at that. You don't 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. Don't forget to include some herbs, too.

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  • 08 of 10

    Taking Raised Beds to New Heights

    High Raised Beds
    Mitch Diamond / Getty Images

    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, there aren't many benefits for the gardener.

    Lifting the planting beds to waist height, like the three weathered troughs running through this colorful garden, means no bending and far fewer wildlife problems, with no fence. 

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  • 09 of 10

    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's a great place to set up your office, while you keep tabs on how everything is growing.

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  • 10 of 10

    Gardening Au Naturale

    A Permaculture Garden
    naturalflow / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    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 they require much less maintenance than traditional vegetable gardens, once they get going.