Contemporary Urban Vegetable Garden

You don't need to rule out vegetables and herbs just because you live in the city. Create a stylish, modern look with a mix of edibles and ornamental flowers.

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Garden Mix of Edibles and OrnamentalsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

When to Plant: Autumn to early spring
At Its Best: Summer
Time to Complete: 2-3 days

Materials Needed:

  • topsoil or soil-based potting mix
  • composted organic matter
  • all-purpose granular fertilizer
  • fig
  • boxwood
  • sweet basil, chili peppers and lettuces
  • pot marjoram
  • parsley
  • daylily
  • 'Rose of Picardy'
  • wild cherry
  • outdoor tomatoes

Prepare to Plant

You can adapt this design to suit your own garden by creating four rectangular beds that fit your plot. The herbs, fig, vegetables and rose prefer an open, sunny site, while the parsley and daylilies will be happy in the dappled shade beneath the tree. Enrich the soil with organic matter.

Plant the Bed

First, in early autumn, plant the boxwood, rose and tree, which form the structural backbone of the design. Plant the fig close to the house wall in early spring. Clip the boxwood into cube shapes. In late spring, plant the herbs, lettuces and tomatoes in neat rows in the sunny areas, and the parsley and daylilies just beyond the tree canopy. They have been planted closer to the tree here than is recommended because this is a show garden.

Flower BedEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited


Water the tree regularly for the first two years after planting, and keep the area directly beneath it free from weeds. The tomatoes require staking and tying in. Water all the plants frequently in dry spells and throughout the summer. In fall, buy plugs of winter and early spring-cropping cabbages, kale, broccoli and leeks, to replace the summer tomatoes, chilies, peppers and sweet basil.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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