More and more gardeners now want to incorporate some productive planting into their garden plan. Don’t be put off if you don’t have a lot of space to devote to growing crops – these ideas will make help you grow successfully as well as making crops an attractive feature in the garden.
Growing vegetables vertically helps to maximise productivity on your plot but also helps plants benefit from the maximum light available and protects them from ground dwelling pests such as slugs and snails.
Growing crops at eye level and above can offer unexpected visual interest, especially if you grow unusual or heritage varieties which often produce fruit as attractive as their flowers.
Create A Living Walkway
A Pergola can be a practical and spectacular addition to a Kitchen Garden offering the opportunity to combine vegetables such as climbing beans with flowering climbers for cutting as well as offering some permanent structural interest out of season.
An Agriframes Pergola will happily support even heaviest climbers such as squashes and gourds and their lush growth during the summer creates welcome shade before a a stunning late season display of ripening fruit.
Since the fruit are elevated from the ground they are protected from pests such as slugs, rabbits and deer and vertically grown pumpkins are also less likely to develop rot from resting on wet ground.
Or why not reference the origins of the pergola which was to carry grape vines overhead allowing the fruit to enjoy free flowing air and hang down for easy harvesting – an ideal option for creating a shaded an entertaining or relaxing area on the terrace.
Use Vegetables When Creating Garden Divisions
Vegetables and fruit trained over a trellis offer a great way to zone your garden, perfect for creating an unusual screen between ornamental and Kitchen garden or to add privacy to a patio or seating area.
Currants or fruit trees can be espaliered across a Classic Screen or peas or beans allowed to scramble up a wirework Elegance Trellis as an attractive and long-term, hardwearing option, allowing annual vegetables to be grown alongside perennials – with the added benefit that the pods are easier to spot and pick when they are young and at their sweetest.
Use Obelisks To Grow Vegetables In Pots
Obelisks look beautiful in their own right but will add height and life when paired with climbing vegetables as part of an imaginative container planting scheme.
A Zinc Planter placed just outside your door is s perfect place to grow salad for picking and eating at it’s very freshest and an obelisk supporting sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh pea shoots to add to the mix – you could even try edible flowers such as Nasturtium for a real gourmet touch.
Grow Crops On An Arch
Traditionally many Kitchen Gardeners made use of arches to allow them to grow over pathways and even other crops, such as salad, that could benefit from the shade – The discreet wirework of the Elegance Arch adds a really traditional feel and is a strong and versatile option for climbers such as runner beans, which have attractive scarlet flowers, cucumbers or squashes, which make a stunning feature dangling down as they grow overhead.
Growing grape vines, fig or Kiwi fruit over an arch will create a Mediterranean feel and allow the fruit to enjoy the maximum sunlight and air circulation and an Apple. Plum or even Apricot espaliered over a Fruit Tree Arch will bring delight all year round.
Support Low Growing Vegetables & Herbs
Not all climbing vegetables grow tall and some non-climbers also need support too. Garden Border Hoops And Cloche Hoops are a versatile way to add support to crops or herbs that begin to fall over or get entwined with their neighbour as they mature.
Peas and Broad Beans benefit from support as the weight of maturing pods beings to weigh them down – The Elegance Pea and Pest Fence or Pea and Bean Hoops are attractive additions to any garden and help demarcation of the space within your beds.
Add A Statement Structure To Your Kitchen Garden
If you are looking for centrepiece for your vegetable garden then you can't go wrong with a runner bean frame to provide an elegant support for beans as well as other heavier crops or sweet peas to keep you supplied with fragrant cut flowers throughout the early summer.
Jute netting is a great sustainable and attractive addition to a frame which can be easily removed and disposed of on the compost heap at the end of the season.
Nearly all the edible climbers need some sort of support – choose something that you will enjoy eating as well as growing – here are some of the best to try:
Beans are often the first plant you think of in terms of climbers – runner beans are particularly popular, but also consider other varieties including French and broad beans. Water them well and harvest regularly – the more you pick, the more the plant will produce.
Peas, including mange-tout, will also need to be supported – otherwise the pods will sit on the ground and become easy pickings for pests – try Pea and Bean Hoops with Jute Netting.
Tomatoes need supporting when trained as cordons, and are perfect for beginner home growers. All tall varieties need a support to grow up or a trellis such as the Elegance Pea and Pest Fence to tie in to - remove suckers or side shoots – as they grow.
Squashes and pumpkins can be grown as climbers, and make a striking feature in the garden. However, they are heavy so require strong support such as the Elegance Runner Bean Tower.
Cucumbers work well grown on a low support such as a Bell Cloche or Orb Dome which will allow the fruit to drape.
- Apples and pears can be grown as espaliers against Screens or trellis support against a wall, and also look fabulous grown over an archway – Agriframes Fruit arch is specially designed for the job.
With a bit of imagination the sky is the limit for what you can grow to eat in the garden – the tradition of adding edibles to borders and using fruit and vegetables for visual interest as well as for the produce has become really popular again and the Agriframes range of supports make it simple to enjoy an attractive and productive garden.