Vegetable Garden Tips for Vegetable Garden Plans and Layout

vegetable garden layout

The kitchen plot has been banished from many gardens, mainly because it often appears so unattractive. Yet this need not be so. Why, for example, grow the long-suffering Brussels sprout directly outside the kitchen window when you could, instead, look out on a fruit and herb border planted to screen the less prepossessing plants beyond?

Much depends on how many vegetables you wish to grow, but it is advisable that you make vegetable garden plans for the layout before your commence. If you need only a few vegetables, grow those which are expensive at certain times, or difficult to get from the nearest shop. Often they can be set among the flowers, used as edgings to paths or borders, as patterns in a patio. You would be surprised to see how prettily and inconspicuously they can be made to blend in if you put your mind to it.

One friend of mine has no defined vegetable plot at all, yet he manages to grow a wavy line of spinach behind a row of pinks, alpine strawberries along another border among low-growing flowers, lettuce, mint and parsley elsewhere. A great root of rhubarb fits extraordinarily well near the water garden and has become part of the scene.

In the garden of another friend, a few neat rows of raspberries and lettuce are well hidden behind the steep rockery which slopes down to a pool. Few people who admire the splashing, romantic waterfall realise that behind it is a very matter-of-fact plot, imaginatively hidden.

In a relative’s garden I visited in Northumberland, a lush plot of potatoes and cabbage near a summerhouse was screened by a hedge of pink roses. The blue green of the brassicas looked most attractive, shining low down through the sugar-pink flowers.

One year, my wife and I designed a “His and Hers Garden” for a stand at the Chelsea Flower Show. Mine was intended to show just how prettily yet thickly one could grow herbs, vegetables, and salads among flowering plants and make a small garden really productive as well as pretty. In it you could see the variegated kale, which could be eaten or used in flower arrangements, growing next to regal lilies and purple pansies in delightful colour harmony. A border of alpine strawberries, attractive for all summer and autumn with white flowers and red fruits, grew before a row of asparagus peas, which gave bright crimson red blooms and, later, delicious pods. These followed the border of the stepping stone path at the side of which grew little “rotational” plots of salads and vegetables. Tomatoes grew near the wall of the “house” although this, in fact, was covered with a flowering quince. At the back of the narrow food border, espalier fruit trees were planted to hide the fence.

We are all so accustomed to seeing the red-flowered scarlet runners in allotments and gardens all over the country that we often do not think of the bean as being anything other than utilitarian, but actually it can be used in many lovely ways. In the first place, other varieties are more handsome than the scarlet runner and, I can assure you, the handsome Blue Coco carry beans you will find a great deal more delicious. Don’t be put off by the violet coloured beans! These cook greener than any other you are likely to have seen. They are more tender and buttery and do not need slicing — merely breaking into pieces. If you cut them young, you can cook them whole.

This productive plant should be used in a decorative way. Try it as a screen at one side of your patio to give you a little privacy in summer. Try it growing up strings on a whitewashed wall with vivid nasturtiums below. Try it up tripods at the back of a flower border. Try it for vivid colour effect alternated with scarlet runners and white runners. The latter will give you butter beans for winter.

If you grow sugar peas, you will also be growing a pretty plant; for these too have purple flowers. You can get other purple peas and fancy beans, all of which cook to a lovely green or a buttery yellow.

Maize or sweet corn grows best in blocks not rows, so that the plants protect each other from the wind. Here, then, is a good vegetable to grow in groups to the back of the border, staying there until late summer when you will have other tall subjects in bloom.

Gardeners wanting to grow gourds and all the marrow family usually go in search of a mound over which the plants can scramble. Here they are often very much in the way. But why not, if the plants naturally trail and climb, use this habit to advantage? Here again; is an attractive and most effective patio plant. Courgettes make neat, attractive plants. Try three on your patio, each one in place of a paving stone. You will have special vegetables to cook, splendid foliage and exotic flowers.

Plan your vegetable garden layout, even if you have an ornamental garden but would like to grow a few vegetables. Go ahead with the ornamental garden, but bear one thing in mind, if you have to dig to get at your crop, then it is not likely to be a practical one to mix. On the other hand, any vegetable which can be cut like cabbage, gathered like spinach and the leaf lettuces such as the oak-leaved Salad Bowl, pulled like radish or young carrot and beet (all of which when they are sown need no more than a scratched soil surface), can do no harm at all.

26. September 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Brassicas, Fruit & Veg, Legumes, Root Vegetables, Salads | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Vegetable Garden Tips for Vegetable Garden Plans and Layout


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