Vegetables in flower beds (Google / Dave’s Garden)

Read at : Dave’s Garden Weekly Newsletter

Grow Veggies Without a Veggie Garden

By Lee Anne Stark (threegardeners)
March 9, 2008

Contrary to popular opinion, vegetables do not need their very own garden. If you have gardens, you have room for veggies!!

My vegetable garden has slowly been converted into a fruit garden. This didn’t happen overnight. It is surrounded by a lovely little picket fence, about 2 feet high. Mom built it one spring when she was bored, to provide a little protection from, well, rabbits anyways. We painted it redwood, to match the garage. Everytime we bought a new fruit and were looking for a place to put it, the veggie garden seemed appropriate. Since I buy most everything in the fall, reduced, the veggie bed would be the only empty place in the yard. Fruits would be parked there “temporarily”, until we could find a suitable spot for them. The temporary spot became permanent. The veggies gradually got moved aside. Now I have a lovely little garden filled with Apple Trees that we started from seed, Grapes, Raspberries and Blueberries. The question was, where am I gonna put the veggies?I thought back to a time when I rented this house, and didn’t have the use of the entire yard like I do now that I own it. Ah Ha!! Problem solved. I’ll put the vegetables in the gardens, with the annuals and perennials, like I did years ago. I mean, why not? The flower beds get weeded, they get compost, a drink if they beg. That’s the exact same treatment vegetables need.

Picture it if you will. Peppers among the Poppies. Green Beans among the Geraniums. Beets around the Blanket Flowers. A driveway lined with half barrels filled with Tomatoes.

It is a well known fact that planting certain flowers with your vegetables helps protect them fom bugs. Why not reverse it and plant the veggies right in with the flowers? Geraniums are said to repel Cabbage worms, makes sense to have them growing together. Marigolds help keep whiteflies off of Tomatoes. Petunias are a good pest deterrent as well. Sweet Alyssum attracts a bug that greedily eats Aphids. Bring your vegetables back to the garden. I once stuck two Tomato plants in my raised front flower bed, under an old leaky eaves trough. Every night the dew would form on the roof and drip down and water those Tomatoes. Nothing else would grow in that 2 foot square area without rotting because it was always damp. That year I had the best crop of Tomatoes ever. They produced quite happily between the Sedum and the Monarda.

Vining veggies. Cucumbers, Pole Beans (Grandads favourite). Imagine them growing along with your Clematis or Morning Glories. Let them grow up your Sunflowers, ready made poles just waiting to be taken advantage of. Saves searching around for wires, string, fencing, etc. Don’t laugh!! It is possible.

Utilize all of that area between your Perennials, just think, the less open space there is, the less room there will be for weeds to grow. Use your imagination here, there are no rules.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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