While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, traditionally a vegetable garden isn’t considered the place to show off one’s yard-scaping talents. It’s time to reconsider the natural beauty of the edible garden and do away with the notion that veggies are only to be grown in a rectangular patch with linear rows at the back of the yard.
To the contrary, mingling flowers with edibles not only pleases the eye, but the blooming plants will attract pollinators to the garden, resulting in a bigger bounty of fruits and vegetables. Ornamental plants are an integral part of sustainable gardening at home.
If your organic food gardening plans do tend toward the rectangular patch, consider adding a border of flowers around the perimeter. The flowers will attract the bees, the bees will pollinate the veggies and you’ll be well on your way to growing organic vegetables.
If you have sections of your yard devoted to flowers and ornamentals, add a vegetable plant here and there among your plantings. Many beautiful varieties of edible plants are available, such as Green Zebra tomatoes and Black Pearl peppers.
Also consider that some ornamental plants are edible and some edibles are ornamental. Leafy herbs such as purple basil and a feathery dill add beautiful accents to any flower bed and delicious flavors to your cooking. Ornamental kale, a traditional fall planting with leaves in shades of purple and green, can indeed be eaten and is delicious added to stir-fry recipes. Obtain your plants from a supplier who uses organic growing methods to avoid chemicals that are frequently applied to landscaping plants.
Adding structures such as raised beds can also add visual interest to a garden. Not only will this add geometric design, a raised bed has better drainage and its soil will warm faster in the spring, potentially adding weeks to your growing season. An attractive trellis will add vertical aesthetics and provide support for vining plants like cucumbers, squash and beans.
Have you ever said, “I want to grow my own organics, but I wish someone could just come plant me a garden”? We’re here to help! As a home garden consultant in Chicago and the northwest suburbs, we will help you design a garden. We’ll handle as much of the labor as you want throughout the growing season. And because we garden organically, we will get you on your way to sustainable gardening at home.