Wondering what an ornaveggie garden is? It’s a single garden with both ornamentals and vegetables planted in it. Who said you have to plant only ornamental plants in beautifully designed and tended flower beds that are closest to the house? And that your vegetable garden had to be relegated to a plain rectangular plot in the far corner of the backyard? Nobody!
You can design your landscape any way you want but so many landscapes are merely an extension of their neighbors’ landscape. If you want to be adventurous this spring, integrate your edible plants in with your ornamentals. You may want to do a little research or work with one of our landscape designers this winter. It’s important to integrate plants in such a way as to keep compatible plant together. For example, combining corn and pansies in the same bed probably wouldn’t be too attractive but corn among sunflowers or tall ornamental grass would be fine.
Ornamental plants aren’t the only plants that flower. Vegetables do, too. Most may not be as showy as the ornamentals but they flower just the same. The big difference is that the seeds that result from vegetables are tasty for humans rather than only to wildlife.
Besides being a head turner, you won’t have to walk so far to harvest. You need a tomato or pepper for tonight’s dinner? Just step outside the front door and pick the bright red tomato or shiny green pepper. How about integrating fragrant herbs in a container with flowers that either live on your deck, patio or back stoop.
When laying out your ornaveggie garden, decide on whether you want to start your garden from seed or buy plants in six packs at your local garden center. If you wan to start your vegetables from seed and buy your flowers in six packs or containers, I suggest you invest in a seed starter kit and start your seeds indoors during the late winter or early spring. Your goal is for both ornamentals and vegetables to grow together. To do that, they have be approximately the same size when you plant them outdoors.
Raised beds are becoming increasingly popular. They make ideal environments for your ornaveggie garden. However, you might want to concentrate the flowers in the center of the raised bed and the vegetable plants toward the edges. Conventional wisdom would dictate that you do just the opposite – bury the veggies in the center and surround them with attractive flowers. If you do that, you’ll have to reach into the center to harvest your crops, and you can damage the flower plants or miss some veggies. If you plant the veggies on the outside, harvesting will be easier and more complete. Visually, it’ll look like colorful flowers sitting on a bed of green foliage. And, the color of the year for 2022 is green! The only downside might come when you have to deadhead the flowers but a pair of loppers will ease the job.
When buying, building or having your raised beds built, make them look like pieces of outdoor furniture, rather than just a plywood box. Make them so they blend in with the landscape. If you make them almost waist high with a wide, flat top, you can work either standing up or sitting on the top piece. Finish them with either paint or a clear coat of preservative.
A garden is for tending not for toiling. The ideas presented here will let you do that while enjoying a garden that’s unique to you rather than just an extension of your neighbor’s landscape.