Creating a Vegetable Garden

There are few better favors you can do for your family than to encourage an interest in vegetable growing. Having a vegetable garden or plot means your children will be eating the freshest of vegetables, and plenty of them, too.

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Vegetable Garden

A vegetable garden brimful of produce can be a beautiful sight. There is no reason that vegetable gardens shouldn’t be attractive as well as productive: the textures of crinkly lettuce leaves and feathery carrot tops next to the blue-green of a brassica leaf and a splash of color from an edible flower make a tapestry of textures and colors as lovely as in any ornamental garden. Hard-landscaped paths or small border hedges will keep it looking good during the quieter times.

Fruit Trees

Every garden, no matter how small, should have a fruit tree. Many fruit trees thrive on being trained and pruned into the sort of shapes that suit the smaller garden. Apples, pears, cherries, and peaches can all be trained against a wall, taking up almost no space. The harder you prune fruit trees, and the less you allow them to put their energy into growth, the more they will concentrate on producing lots of fruit year on year.


Culinary herbs are compact and attractive, and easy to fit in among ornamental plantings or vegetables. Some, such as chives, make great edging plants for vegetable beds. Others are particularly ornamental: fennel has delicate, wispy growth and can be grown through a border of colorful plants. Gather a collection of commonly used culinary herbs—basil, oregano, mint—in containers by the kitchen door, to allow you to reach them quickly, even when it is raining or cold.


Make a list of all of the vegetables that your family eat regularly and find out how to grow them. Some may be impossible in your climate, but others, such as tomatoes, are relatively easy to grow and from late summer will produce all the fruits you can eat, plus more. Start off with a few easy crops, such as tomatoes, carrots, and salad leaves, and see where your interest takes you.