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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – May 12

Nor is it Mrs Obama’s vegetable patch at the White House. The good news is that growing your own food can be done on a scale and style that suites you. Whether you choose to plant in containers on the back deck or replace your front lawn with edibles, growing your own vegetables has never been more flexible.

Here are some tips for fitting edible plants into your landscape:

A Salad Bowl: Lettuce grows well in all sizes of containers. Plant it by sprinkling the seeds on top of soil in window boxes, pots or just about any other container you can fill with dirt. Lettuce seeds can also be sprinkled around perennials. Eat the salad greens as the other plants get bigger, and plant new lettuce seeds later in the summer around perennials that have finished flowering.

Move To The Front: Put the vegetables where the sun shines, even if this means the front of your home. Create an “entry garden” in front of your foundation plantings and surround it with an attractive low fence. Turn the soil well to loosen it and plant your veggies there.

Walk Through Thyme: Create beds on either side of the paths to your front or side doors and plant a mix of salad greens and herbs. Your visitors will be walking through thyme…and basil, parsley, or sage. Wider beds can be lined in back with a border of bush beans.

A Tomato Trellis: You say you have a small trellis or arbor and don’t know what to plant on it? Try cherry tomatoes. Most types of cherry tomatoes grow over six feet tall and you can fit three or more plants on one structure. Plant one red  (‘Sweet 100’s’) one gold (‘Sungold’) and a dark variety (‘Black Cherry’) for a mix that’s as attractive on your arbor as it is on your dinner table.

Meals on Wheels: Large pots or boxes can be mounted on casters or plant dollies so they can be pushed to new locations as needed. This allows a gardener who’s tight on space to utilize sunny areas during the day but push the plants out of the way to allow for parking of vehicles or other purposes in the evening. Containers can also be placed on standard children’s wagons and wheeled to follow the sun or tuck the veggies temporarily out of sight.

The typical notion of a vegetable garden being a large, rectangular space in back of the house has changed. In the twenty-first century we’re in an era where people speak of urban homesteading, edible landscaping, and gardening with a purpose. In other words, we’re planting our landscapes in a way that works for us. I guess you could call this Victory Gardening after all.

These mini-tomatoes look lovely cascading over the edge of the window box. You can mix veggies and herbs in with flowers, or plant an entire theme box of edibles.

These Sun Gold cherry tomatoes were planted in the front yard entry garden. The fancy "cane toppers" help the group of edibles to be as ornamental as possible.


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