Creating a vegetable plot

Garden Experts
I would like to create a vegetable plot. Which equipment do I need, and how should I design the plot? How can I create a vegetable plot so that not only delicious vegetables grow there, but also so that the plot harmonises well with the rest of my ornamental garden?

The GARDENA gardening expert

When creating a vegetable plot, consider which vegetable varieties you would like to cultivate, and in which quantities for how many people. Orientate yourself primarily on your eating habits. Also observe that – if you wish to limit the amount of effort required – it is best to concentrate on the cultivation of vegetables which can only be bought for high prices or which can rarely be found in the shops. Vegetables such as head cabbage, carrots and summer salads which are produced in field cultivation are generally, when in season, cheaper to purchase than to grow yourself. It is therefore more profitable to cultivate beans and peas instead of lettuce; asparagus instead of white cabbage, etc. Of course, it is a different matter if you simply enjoy cultivating vegetables in your garden; in this case, let your curiosity take over! It is also wise to inform yourself on the two key terms “mixed cultivation” and “crop rotation”, further details of which would go beyond the scope of this article. Here you will learn in which expedient combination and sequence you can raise vegetables with each other and after each other on your plot. As far as the required equipment is concerned, you require the appropriate gardening hand tools: a spade, digging fork or cultivator for deeper soil processing, and a grubber, star-shaped rotary hoe, hoe and rake for surface processing. You also require plant string, plant labels, secateurs, a garden knife and possibly, if working on large plots, row-drawing equipment. Also important: expedient irrigation technology.
As far as the design of your vegetable plots is concerned, your vision sounds similar to the principle of a farm garden or – if you prefer formal flowerbed designs – the garden beauty of the Chateau gardens at Villandry (http://www.chateauvillandry.fr), where the beds in the Chateau park are traditionally and consciously designed with the aid of some splendid vegetables. If you google both these images, you are sure to find plenty of inspiration.
In general, it is highly feasible to unite vegetables, herbs, flowers, shrubs and roses to form an impressive overall garden image, in particular in the style of a farm garden. Even if you restrict yourself to vegetables and herbs, you will have numerous attractive design possibilities with green-leafed or multicolour-leafed herbs and vegetables.

photo: © Reinhard-Tierfoto