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Article: Edible Gardens Can Look Too Good to Eat

Created on: Monday, June 09, 2003

Vegetable garden doesn't have to look boring, or be set out of view from the terrace because it's strictly utilitarian and, thus, unglamorous. As our garden spaces become smaller and our free time more precious, it is wise to consider the ornamental value of the vegetable garden and the blending of style with utility. Select edible plants based on their flavor, days to harvest and on their ornamental value.

Use lettuces such as "Oak Leaf" and "Red Sails" to create pathways with colorful and ruffled edges. Staked tomato plants, peas running on trellises and pole beans climbing tepees add structure in the rear, center, or corners of the garden. Architectural form can also be found in brussel sprouts and rhubarb, and color can be added with the foliage of "Rainbow Swiss Chard", red cabbage, arugula, beets and purple basil. Colorful additions include all the sweet and hot peppers, purple and white eggplant, wax beans, red and yellow tomatoes, and many varieties of shell beans.

Edible flowers add further to the color and texture of the ornamental vegetable garden; plant borage, calendula, marigold, nasturtium, pansy and chive. Herbs play an important role in any vegetable garden, and color and texture can be added by growing variegated sage or mint, lemon thyme, parsley, rosemary, dill and opal basil. Instead of planting in conventional rows, consider planting the vegetable garden by plants according to their shape, size, contrasting or similar color and texture, to create a dramatic and abundant effect. You'll love watching the tapestry unfold as you provide a feast for the eyes as well as for table.

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