4 Oct 2011

How to Grow a Secret Vegetable Garden

Posted by bcsands

When most people think of a vegetable garden, they think of carrots, cabbages and potatoes, growing in military rows on bare ground, usually hidden somewhere in the back of the garden. It’s utililitarian, but it’s not usually the prettiest part of the garden. Some people, especially those with smaller gardens, choose not to grow vegetables, because they want to look out at a view of colourful plants and flowers, rather than the functional ranks of a vegetable patch.

But if you choose your vegetables, herbs and fruits carefully, and scatter them among the rest of your garden, you can have the best of both worlds – something that is beautiful to look at and that you can eat as well!

Vegetable garden edging

Many smaller vegetables and herbs can be used as attractive edging plants. The small globes of baby lettuce, either in red or green, planted evenly along a garden bed, look just like tiny bushes. Keep your edges even all season by picking a few leaves off several lettuce, rather than pulling up a whole plant. Chives make another handsome edging plant, with dark green foliage and pretty purple flowers. Parsley is a larger plant, but its vivid green makes a beautiful edge.

Vegetables among the flowers

Some smaller vegetables can also be scattered among flowers and other plants to look like part of a planting scheme. Try using them in shapes – create a spiral of herbs in amongst your flowers, or use triangular shapes, alternating flowers and leafy vegetables or herbs. Great choices are endive with its attractive curly leaves, Swiss chard which has red or yellow stalks under its leaves or basil, which will grow in a compact, small bush shape if you pinch out the early shoots. Zucchini’s large yellow flowers look at home in any flower garden.

Taller herbs such as coriander and dill, both of which have delicate leaves and flower as they mature, look good at the back of flower beds, as do the feathery fronds of carrot tops. Rhubarb’s dramatic large, dark green leaves can make a dramatic background to taller flowers.
Runner beans are vigorous climbers with bright orange or white flowers – they look great on a trellis behind your flower bed. Or you could stake a few tomato plants behind your flowers – red baby tomatoes look good, or try yellow tomatoes for a change. If you’re worried about the plants falling, plant a climbing bean on the other side of the stake. It will wrap itself around the tomato and help support it.

Vegetable ground cover

Many plants that grow on vines can also grow horizontally – making them an ideal form of edible ground cover. Try cucumbers, squash, or look at fruits, such as strawberries – which give you beautiful flowers before delicious fruit. Herbs work well too, in particular oregano or thyme.
If you’re worried about the tomatoes falling about, plant a climbing bean on the other side of the stake. It will wrap itself around the tomato and help support it.

Vegetable Trellis

Vines are also ideal to use on a trellis. Grow them over a small trellis to form a roof over sun sensitive plants below. This also helps to protect them against snails and soil borne diseases.

Vegetable hedges

It’s a herb rather than a vegetable, but if you’d like a hedge you can eat, then try rosemary. It grows to around a meter and a half high (or there are some variants that are larger or smaller) and has purple flowers in summer.


BC Sands has everything you need for your garden, vegetable or otherwise! Take a look at our web site to find out more: www.bcsands.com.au

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