With winter just a memory in the northern hemisphere, and spring in full swing, it’s time to think about your summer vegetable garden. Whether you’re planting your first-ever vegetable garden or you’re an old hand looking for some new design ideas to spruce up your landscape, you don’t have to be stuck with a basic rectangle of dirt in your yard. These design ideas will give you inspiration and help you create the perfect garden for any space – even if you don’t have a yard.
If you lack acreage to grow all the crops you’re dreaming of, try growing your veggies vertically instead. A sturdy, creative trellis can support upward growth of vining cucumbers, small squash, peas, beans and tomatoes, leaving you more space on the ground for additional plants. Try ones that can tolerate a little shade, like summer lettuces and long-season carrots. You can also try hanging planters on a sunny wall or fence to grow a green wall of herbs or strawberries.
Keyhole gardens were originally designed to help African farmers maintain moisture and nutrients in arid conditions, but this design has a lot of advantages for city slickers as well. Raised beds allow you to add friable, sandy loam and avoid any soil contamination in an urban yard, while the center well provides you with a compost pile. It’s a great way to start gardening in a more sustainable way with natural fertilizer and less water.
Another great option for those without a lot of arable land to work with are hydroponic gardens. You can usually outfit your basement with bright fluorescent grow lights, some fans for air circulation and good irrigation to grow almost anything indoors. Cool-weather plants like salad greens and leafy herbs are the easiest for beginners, but even tomatoes can be grown this way all winter long if you take care to regulate the temperature.
You don’t have to be afraid to keep your vegetable garden close to your patio — or even in the front yard! — if you add edible flowers to the mix to keep it pretty. Try planting a floral border around your garden beds for a colorful visual boundary. Marigolds are good for the soil and keep nematodes at bay, while chives and onions can deter some pests. Other bright and flavorful choice choices include nasturtium, borage, chamomile, bee balm, and calendula.
Don’t forget the plants themselves! With so many varieties of seed available on the Internet, you can choose yellow beets, purple basil, green tomatoes and red carrots to change things up. Plan your garden layout based on color and plant several colorful, eye-popping varieties to show off nature’s good eats. Your landscape and salad bowl will be so much more interesting this summer.
No matter which garden design trend you choose, you’re sure to have fun out in the sunshine getting your hands in the dirt this summer and improving your yard’s curb appeal. Don’t forget to enjoy all the healthy fruit of your labors by serving up delicious dishes to your friends and family using your harvest!
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