I'm a firm believer that gardening is an art. Not only does it take skills to successfully grow fruits and veggies but a garden can be designed and cultivated in a beautiful way. In a sense, gardens feed more than the body, they feed our soul.
When I first started gardening I thought there were really only two kinds of gardens: the traditional in ground garden and the raised bed garden. Boy, was I wrong! You can do so much more when it comes to gardening design so I wanted to enlighten you on some clever and beautiful vegetable garden design ideas. Before I do, I have to give credit where credit is due, these ideas came from this SlideShare of garden designs by Safer Brand.
Food Forests are exactlty how God intended gardening: natural and in colloboration with other living things. This is a key concept in permaculture. It does take more work to start because you're not just planting your veggies in a row. You actually have to figure out how each plant benefits other plants and then grow them together to be beneficial to one-another. It's a beautiful community lush life and can be a wonderful place to teach kids about nature. Here's a step by step guide to creating a food forest.
My first garden mentor told me about hugelkultur. She said if she could do her garden over again she would do raised hugelkultur beds up to 7 feet high and therefore you don't have to water it as often since it holds in moisture. Matter of fact, you might not have to water it at all! Hugelkultur is where you stack up wood (rotting wood is best) and then pour your dirt over it so it's one gigantic self-nourishing mound. As the wood rots, it's like compost for the plants growing. Now, you may be thinking, where's the art in this design? You can design your mounds in any shape! Want to do just a rim around your yard, go for it! Want to create your initials- whatever floats your boat! Really a genious concept that you can read how to create here.
The keyhole design takes hugelkutltur to the next level. This concept was actually created to help third world countries grow food in conditions where they don't get a lot of water. This keyhole shaped raised bed is filled with compostable materials like rotting wood or cardboard etc and then topped with dirt . Now at the center of this raised bed before you add anything to it is a circular compost bin (usually made with sticks to keep all the dirt and compost materials around it. So whenever you have something that can be composted, you bring you straight out to your garden and dump it into the hole. Now over time as you water your compost, it will seep into the soil to provide nutrients to your plants. Crazy, right? Now the keyhole garden is a little less flexible in design than the other two but in and of itself it can be beautiful depending on what material you use to do the outside and how you separate your plants (you can even organize it by color to make a rainbow). Learn more on how to create a keyhole garden design here.
So get creative and have fun designing your vegetable garden this year!