No matter how small a home’s yard may be, it’s always possible to grow vegetables, especially if the front yard is converted from a traditional green lawn to a colorful garden landscape. While the backyard is usually easy to convert into garden space, it’s often trickier to turn the front yard into a garden because of city regulations. While these vary in each city, township or village, many are adjusting their thinking when it comes to urban gardens.
There are some things gardeners can do to create an ornamental vegetable garden that will fascinate neighbors and create a varied and beautiful landscape, which may escape the scrutiny of local officials and traditionalists.
Adding a decorative touch to a garden takes creativity, but doesn’t mean less productivity or a smaller harvest. Begin by deciding how much of the yard space will be used for vegetables, and what you would like to grow. If you have more space in the backyard or another area, include this in your planning. Choose the more compact, climbing and/or ornamental plants for the front yard.
When choosing a plant support, keep it decorative in nature whenever possible. Consider using Pole Bean And Pea Towers, many of which are ornamental, to grow beans, peas, cucumbers, or small varieties of squash. Decorative finials can be used with bamboo poles to create decorative plant supports. Add color to the front yard garden with red tomato cages instead of the plain, traditional cages.
Raised beds are a wonderful alternative to traditional garden plots, and perfect for the front yard. Long, thin 3 foot cedar raised beds are attractive and can be easily placed in a small yard. The following items can add a whimsical, rustic or elegant touch in or around raised beds and containers, depending on what look you prefer:
The most important aspect of the front yard garden is the choice of plants. Mixing colorful vegetables with herbs and edible flowers offers a nice harvest, but also provides color and beauty. The following will grow well in raised beds and containers:
Giant Red Mustard: This is a beautiful red mustard that grows up to 18 inches tall, and can be used as a green, much like spinach. It can be harvested young for salads, when mixed with other greens and lettuce. This striking mustard does better in the cool weather of spring or fall.
Burgundy Okra: This okra is stunning with it’s red leaf stalks, green leaves and red pods. The blooms are a beautiful cream colored flower with a burgundy center. Plants grow up 5 foot tall, so they do need space, but can be grown in a large tub or pot, as well as a back corner of a raised bed. The pods are best when harvested from 3-5 inches in length.
Heatwave Lettuce Blend:This is a Burpee mix of lettuces that do well in the heat and are slow to bolt. The mix includes green and red crisphead, green romaine, and multiple colors of looseleaf. It’s a pretty mix that will do well in raised beds or containers.
Italian Rose Bush Bean: This heirloom bush bean is beautiful with a mixture of burgandy and tan swirled on outside and inside of the bean. They can be harvested young to use fresh, or fully matured to shell and use as a dried bean. Heirloom. Beauty and the bean-color and taste in abundance.
Fairy Tale Eggplant: A perfect eggplant to grow in containers because of the compact plants, and the short, rather thin fruit, which are a lovely purple and white. Grow in raised beds or containers along with lettuce or cucumbers as companion plants.
Lemon Cucumber: This cucumber is very easy to grow, and can be eaten raw or used for pickling. The fruit is three to four inches round, and they are a dark yellow. The vines can be tied to a trellis, and as long as they are havested they will continue to provide sweet, mild cucumbers.
There are many other vegetables suited to growing in containers and raised beds that will add interest while at the same time provide homegrown food. Always read the description when purchasing seeds to note how much room the vegetable needs, and avoid those that have a “spreading” nature when looking for plants to grow in the front yard. Remember to think outside the box when using plant supports, containers and decorative items in your front yard garden. Your neighbors will be busy admiring your garden landscape instead of noting the absence of a traditional lawn.
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