Tuesday, May 1, 2012

GrowUP: Turning Flower Beds Into Edible Beds

I have a decorative flower bed in my backyard just off the kitchen and back patio. It gets great sun and is in close proximity to the actual vegetable and fruit garden, but it has mostly been home to flowers and bulbs and other decorative plants.

A couple of years ago I added strawberries to the bed because I did not want the strawberries to run amok  and take over the vegetable space. The flower bed is contained by a brick border and gravel path on all sides so I knew the berries would stay put. The next year I added a small container with a few herbs for the same reason. Many herbs spread like wildfire. Last year I decided to take full advantage of the sun that this spot gets and put my tomatoes in this flowerbed instead of their usual spot in the garden proper. I believe this was the beginning of the end. This year I thought to myself, "Why is this a flowerbed at all?"

I have an adorable neighbor with raised beds surrounding her front lawn. The previous owners of the house always had decorative shrubs and flowers in those beds, but not Miss D. She put in pumpkins and squash of various sorts. All summer long the beds are full of lovely green twisting vines and giant leaves that collect the morning dew. By Autumn it is more decorative than any summer annuals would have been with its collection of round fat pumpkins and the like.

And so I believe that a little at a time I have been converting this flower bed into and edible bed. I just need the final push to tell me it is ok. I do not know why I am so reluctant. Tradition, I guess, tells me that I am supposed to think that flowers and shrubs are pretty and that vegetables are utilitarian and must be shunned and put in the corner of the yard where no one well see them. Well bah on that! I think food can be pretty too. At least I am hoping I can make it pretty because right now that flowerbed looks pretty frightening. I am embarrassed to show it to you. I tore out a large bush and lots of the bulbs that are usually there. I am trying to get those pitiful looking strawberries to fill in now, and I put beans in the end to climb those supports in the back. But I still have a long way to grow. I am hoping that this is a "before" shot, or that if there is no "after" shot, you will have forgotten about this by that time.

So can a former flowerbed be edible and attractive? Time will tell....

Quote of the Day: "Gardening is not a rational act." Margaret Atwood poet


  1. Yess, edible beds are awesome... but there's nothing wrong with throwing in the odd flowering stuff. Nasturtiums are edible, too... and I love the look and taste of borage... You go, girl! Flowers are pretty, but in my books they can't beat herbs -- you can't eat 'em!

  2. I say totally go for it. We took out our entire backyard (it's not really that big!) and made it a garden. I love watching things grow- especially ones that taste good!

  3. yes!!! you can do this..and the fall is so beautiful. But last yr I had an invasion of pests that curled all the leaves of my squash so it wasn't very pretty...especialy in the from yard. So I am on the extra look out this yr!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.
    have fun! good luck!!