When it comes to vegetable gardening, there are numerous tips and other vegetable garden design ideas that can make the task an easier one and the vegetable garden a more eye appealing space. As no one garden is the same, not all ideas for designing a vegetable garden will work for everyone. Many of the following vegetable gardening ideas, however, not only have provided my gardens with exceptional results and beauty but have oftentimes made the labor of gardening a little less demanding both physically and financially.
Decorative Vegetable Garden Ideas
To add visual interest and variety to your vegetable garden, plant them with flowers and herbs. Flowers and herbs not only help with creating a pretty vegetable garden, but they are beneficial in other ways.
For instance, did you know that they can attract beneficial insects to the garden while deterring others? Flowers or herbs that have strong odors, such as marigolds and garlic, actually can repel pests from your garden and help prevent disease as well.
Implementing these plants with vegetables also can create sensational borders and edgings. Many vegetables make exceptional border plants and can be grown for ornamental purposes. Okra and asparagus often create lovely backgrounds when mixed with flowers.
Vegetable Gardening Ideas for Staking
Tired of the same old staking techniques year after year? Try these alternatives instead.
- Corn stalks or sunflowers can make interesting poles for beans.
- Use a ladder as support for vine-growing plants such as pumpkins; you can use the rungs and sides of the ladder to train the vines while placing pumpkins on the steps for further support; this technique also works well with staking tomato plants.
- You also can grow squash, melons, or pumpkins on boards or flat stones to help prevent them from rotting.
- Got some branches lying around? Pick out some of the sturdier sticks with thick, stubby branches for staking up your plants. Tie them with pantyhose to prevent cutting into the plant.
- Another alternative for staking plants is with the use of discarded plastic pipes or hollowed-out bamboo. Once staked, you can easily pour water or liquid fertilizer down the opening to reach the roots of plants.
Vegetable Garden Design Ideas for Watering
Keep your plants watered with gallon jugs. Poke a few holes in the bottom of an old, empty gallon jug and bury it approximately two-thirds of the way into the ground next to or between plants. Leave the top exposed and fill with water. The water will seep slowly into the ground, adding moisture to plants. Keep track of the water levels to prevent them from becoming empty. The lids can be reapplied lightly, or you can insert a short stick to keep the opening unclogged and make it easier to locate once the plants have gotten larger. This method also works well with two liter bottles, and it’s a great way to recycle, too.
Here are some other tips for watering: do not water at night in hot and humid weather. The moisture and humidity combined with high temperatures promotes plant diseases. If possible, water crops at the roots; when foliage is allowed to become excessively wet, diseases may set in.
Other Tips for Designing a Vegetable Garden
Here are a few interesting things to try to improve the soil and increase production within the vegetable garden.
- Planting onion sets throughout the garden helps the soil stay loose and keeps weeds out, too.
- We all know that mulch helps cut down on weeds, but have you thought of mulching with vegetables? Many crops, such as broccoli, grow better when they are “mulched” by large, leafy vegetables like lettuce. Simply plant the chosen crops along with the lettuce.
- Keeping the blooms picked off crops, such as potatoes, can often increase your harvest.
- Get earlier tomato plants with grass clippings. Mix the clippings into the soil; they help heat up the soil and as a bonus, give off nitrogen. Nitrogen encourages larger yields. Fertilize your garden soil by planting alfalfa grass or crimson clover before the next garden season. These plants naturally produce nitrogen. Before they begin to bloom, turn them into the soil and watch your garden grow!