I received an e-mail from a fellow gardening blogger who expressed a little frustration that the majority of gardening sites on the Internet are geared towards ornamental plants as opposed to providing tips and information on growing organic vegetables and fruits.
The same applies to local garden centers where the focus is also slanted towards landscape plants and flowers rather than vegetables and fruits. Fortunately there’s no rule that says a backyard veggie garden can’t be both ornamental and edible.
My passion has always been for growing vegetables and creating attractive gardens that also yielded delicious produce. In that light here’s my Top Ten List of Reasons for Growing Vegetables rather than purely ornamentals in the backyard garden and landscape:
1.Vegetables Have Flowers Too – Some striking and beautiful flowers can be found blooming in the midst of the vegetable patch. Ever see an exotic looking okra flower? How about a gigantic globe artichoke left to form a flower head? Even hummingbirds can’t resist the bright blossoms of climbing runner beans. And guess where those hybridized sunflowers got their start… in a vegetable garden!
2.Vegetable Gardening is Healthier – Sure planting any type of garden will provide you with the benefits of exercise and fresh air, but growing your own fresh organic vegetables will also supply you with nutritious produce that is loaded with vitamins and nutrients that you just won’t get from looking at even the most attractive landscape.
3.Edible Gardens are Picture Perfect – If you believe that a vegetable garden has to be an eyesore think again. Blueberry Bushes, Rainbow Chards, Palm Kales, and Nasturtiums are just a sample of the many edible plants that love posing for the cameras. A veggie garden can be designed to offer just as much beauty, color, variety, and interest to your landscape as any ornamental-only garden.
4.Vegetables are Historical – Heirloom vegetables have been treasured and passed down for centuries, and come to us with fascinating histories. Fruit trees grown by presidents, seeds so precious that they were smuggled, a tomato plant famous for paying off a mortgage. There are good reasons heirlooms were so cherished, and there are many interesting stories to be gleaned from the heirloom vegetable garden.
5.Growing Veggies Will Make You Wealthy – Okay, I’ll admit this one’s a stretch, but a vegetable garden will definitely help to slash those costly grocery bills. Besides, if the prices of organic produce continue to rise and food safety issues persist, maybe one day you will be able to turn that backyard vegetable factory into a real money maker.
6.Vegetable Gardens are Versatile – Whether you call it a Kitchen Garden, an Ornamental Edible Garden, French Intensive Garden, or whatever name you use to describe it, a simple vegetable patch can incorporate all manner of vegetation from fruits and vegetables, to herbs, flowers, and even a few edible weeds all growing together on common ground.
7.Vegetable Gardeners Have More Friends – Don’t believe it, just let word slip out that you have an abundance of vine-ripened gourmet tomatoes, juicy homegrown melons, fresh ears of sweet corn, or other delicious gourmet treats growing right in your backyard and your popularity is guaranteed to rise.
8.Growing Vegetables Fosters Creativity – Plant a vegetable garden and you’ll be amazed at your ability to come up with new ideas for preparing loads of fresh produce. After all, how do you think that inventions such as zucchini bread were created, or that rhubarb and strawberries happened to find their way together into a wide assortment of desserts?
9.Cultivating Independence – Your vegetable garden won’t necessarily make you self-sufficient, but it’s nice to know that your own two hands can put food on the table, reduce your dependency on produce from that mega-supermarket, and provide gourmet quality fruits and vegetables for your family’s enjoyment.
10.Ornamental Veggie Gardeners are Smarter – If you buy into what you’ve read so far, then you won’t dispute the fact that its a pretty clever gardener who cultivates a garden that is both brilliantly ornamental and provides delicious and nutritious produce for admirers to savor in the garden as well as the kitchen!
That’s my Top 10 list to promote the inclusion of vegetables and edible plants in every garden, feel free to add your own reasons for cultivating vegetables in the garden. Thanks to Marc over at VeggieGardenInfo.com for providing the inspiration for this post.
Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts: