Ornamental Vegetable Gardens
People all over the world have taken up an interest in backyard gardening and are buying up vegetable seeds and seedlings like crazy to grow fresh lettuces, tomatoes and other vegetables. (Burpee & Co sold more seeds in March than at any time in its 144-year history!) Part of the grow-your-own movement stems from people looking for productive ways to pass the time with new hobbies – and to become more self-reliant by taking their food-security into their own hands.
If you plant a vegetable garden right now, you’ll likely have produce through the summer and into fall. And not only will you be getting plenty of vitamin D gardening in the sunshine, using your hands can boost your mental health, too. It’s actually a thing – horticultural therapy — gardening is known to improve social and mental wellbeing!
Planning Your Vegetable Garden
Architectural Digest writer Stefanie Waldek recommends that you give some thought to laying out your garden design-wise before you start planting. obviously sunlight is important and areas to walk to do the gardening parts – watering, weeding, and harvesting – matter, too. The plant choices are many and for first time gardeners, fairly easy to achieve success. Think tomatoes, squash, peppers, eggplants and lettuces – but most importantly – grow what you want to eat!
Experts say one of the simplest and most plentiful foods you can grow right now is lettuce. If you snap up the baby greens in the produce section of your grocery story, here’s one way to eliminate that cost from your grocery bill! You can grow lettuce inside containers or in the ground – and lots of lettuces are not only good eating, they’re ornamental, too!
Designing a Rainbow
Blogger Stephanie of Garden Therapy loves plants and the healing power of fresh food. Her favorite purple vegetable to grow is Redbor kale. Other purple vegetables you might consider are include purple cabbage, purple ruffles basil, dark purple mizuna, purple asparagus, purple millet and purple mustard greens. Eden Brothers has a lot of different and colorful choices left, from A (as in artichokes) to Z (for zucchini) – with 75 varieties of tomatoes!
Red vegetable garden plants look beautiful next to green lettuce, and so does Ruby red chard, red shiso, ruby red orach and bull’s blood beets. Now if you’ve only had beets on a salad, you should know there are lots of ways to prepare beets – fresh, roasted, or even charred and smashed and added to Bon Appétit’s hanger steak!
Another variety of kale that produces steely blue gray hues is the Lacinato kale, common in European gardens, and sage is another blue-gray plant.
Add bright yellows to your garden landscape by planting yellow chard, and/or golden oregano, ginger mint and golden pineapple sage. And for a combination of green and yellow plants, add in a bit of silver-edged thyme or variegated lemon thyme. While chard doesn’t get as much love as its cooler cousin kale, it’s every bit as versatile as these 13 recipes from Bon Appétit prove!
The vines that produce scarlet runner beans have edible crimson flowers on their fast-growing runners that will climb a trellis and attract hummingbirds. If you plant chives next to the beans, you’ll be adding pale-pink blossoms to your garden design. Fennel fills a garden with feathery green foliage and if you’ve never had pork chops with fennel-apple slaw, you need to try it!
Tips for First Time Gardeners
Blogger Jennifer at FineGardening.com offers four tips for creating a simple design for a beautiful vegetable garden.
- Arrange bunches of bold color.
- Plant snug beds.
- Smooth out the edges.
- Define your space.
Gardening Gurus of Crystal Valley
The backyards behind the new homes in the master-planned community of Crystal Valley can accommodate container gardens, raised garden beds and straight in-the-ground gardens. The builders in Crystal Valley are among the best: Richmond American Homes, Kauffman Homes, Century Communities and D.R. Horton and offer a variety of designs and architectural styles. Set up your private appointment today to visit these homes set in natural surroundings – both ranch and two-story models — priced from the $300s.