Traditionally, when planning a vegetable garden, the focus has been primarily on function with aesthetics as an afterthought. This year, why not try a new approach? Thoughtfully combine beauty and performance to create an edible garden that will explode with a riot of color and an abundance of produce. A feast for the eyes!
Color, texture and form are characteristics we keep in mind when designing our ornamental beds. We plan our gardens so that plants complement each other. We repeat colors and shapes for continuity and flow. We work in plenty of texture for interest. Vegetables, herbs and fruits can be just as vibrant, exciting, diverse and easy to combine as annual and perennial flowering plants are.
To begin, provide structure. Placing a picket fence around your garden offers instant structure and visually sets it apart from the rest of the landscape. If you plan on planting along the outside of the perimeter, you will create the allure of a garden within a garden. Place a straight pathway through the center, starting at the entrance. Divide the larger garden into smaller square planting beds using pathways to separate the beds. This will enhance the structure of, and provide easy access to, the garden beds as well as lead your eye through the garden.
Next, focus on plant selection. Begin with a plant plan or layout. Initially, base your selections on what is pleasing to your pallet. Consider unusual varieties of vegetables and herbs that come in unique colors. Repeat colors, both horizontally and vertically, to add depth and dimension to the garden. Don’t forget to add brightly flowering annuals such as zinnias and marigolds to mingle amongst the edibles. Another consideration is edible flowers like nasturtium and calendula. Contrast colors for a striking, eye-catching effect. Keep in mind, also, texture and form. Bold textures add drama to the garden and are often combined with fine foliaged plants for a softening contrast. Short, stout plants anchor the garden bed while tall, willowy plants raise the eye and lead you farther down the garden path. Take all these characteristics into account when planning and place plants in geometric patterns to create a quilt-like garden tapestry.
Finally, your spring edible garden will emerge invoking a feeling of calm, displaying a variety of cool greens, purples and blues found in peas, lettuce, cabbage and broccoli. Shortly after, the summer edible garden will be completely transformed at harvest time with an explosion of vibrant shades of red, purple, orange, yellow and the like. A feast for the eyes!