Plant a Vegetable Garden: No Excuses

Lettuces in the Kitchen Garden

Lettuces in the Kitchen Garden

Lacking space, there are few reasons for not planting a vegetable garden. One person I know, who prides herself on her creativity and gardening sophistication, and who owns a very elegant and historic property complained to me that when she bought the place, “there was a big vegetable garden smack in the middle of the lawn…I had to get rid of it”. This statement so shocked me as to render me speechless. Had I managed to regain speech during the course of her monologue, I would have suggested that, with some creativity and thoughtfulness, a person might find a way to highlight the vegetable garden, treat it as a valuable, enhancing landscape feature from which one might extract a sense of aesthetic pride as well as civic pride for ‘greening-up’ their lifestyle and reducing their carbon footprint. I didn’t, at the time, regain speech but am doing so now.

Creating a vegetable garden, or Kitchen Garden, the preferred term, is a project, but it’s an undertaking that will reap benefits that you may never have thought of. If you can’t begin the process yourself, you can get others to do the most difficult part, laying out the garden, tilling the area, creating raised beds (if that’s what you’re after), installing irrigation systems on timers, mulching paths to suppress weeds and reduce your work (or, better yet, laying down landscaping fabric beneath the mulch to virtually eliminate path weeding).  Siting it in the landscape is crucial and is the most important decision you’ll need to make for the project. The kitchen garden needs full sun and, ideally, it is located at a convenient distance from the kitchen.

As for making it attractive in the landscape; I see this as an opportunity to create ‘charm’ and to engage with the land and your food supply in a more intimate way. Fencing will be necessary to keep out the deer and the rabbits, but this isn’t a problem. There are numerous creative and handsome fencing options that will contribute to the aesthetic of your property and plenty of climbing ornamental plants to adorn your fence; many of such staggering beauty that you’ll be spoiled for choice in how to use them. Climbing roses, clematis, morning glories, perennial sweet peas; all contribute to making a Kitchen Garden inviting, beautiful and a place you’ll enjoy working in and relaxing in and looking at.

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