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Veg ideas for mixed flower/veg beds

Anna33Anna33 Posts: 316
Given what's happening at the moment, now seems like a good a time as any to try something I've been thinking about for a couple of years - planting fruit/veg plants in amongst my normal flower beds. I've only got a small garden, so everything really needs to earn it's place!

But, I need help. I've only grown a few veg in pots previously - tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and potatoes.

And the other thing is - I have a huge slug & snail problem, so most of the leafy things are probably going to get munched to death. I'm going to put a bit more effort in with nematodes this year...

So...what suggestions do people have for veg plants that would do well in amongst ornamentals? I'm not too concerned about aesthetics, as it will all end up being a jumble anyway.

I've got one side of the garden which gets full sun, and another side which gets sun until around lunchtime. My soil is already quite good, possibly on the slightly acidic side so I wouldn't want to chance alkaline loving plants. And up until now I have planted for wildlife (insects mostly), which has been really successful.

I'm currently thinking that I might try the tomatoes/peppers/cucumbers (with support) options above, but any other suggestions or advice gratefully received!


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,581
    Runner beans up a wigwam. The pretty flowers look almost like sweet peas, but you get edible pods.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    Fennel, asparagus, globe artichokes and cardoons are all very decorative.  Swiss chard is colourful.  And some varieties of kale have lovely textured foliage.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,010
    Have a look online and see if you can get the DVD of Geoff Hamilton's ornamental Kitchen Garden in which he makes a whole new garden designed to grow fruit and veg in amongst the flowers so you get colour, perfume and good things to eat.  He explains successional sowing and planting, good combos and soil care to get the most out of a suburban sized plot.   

    The DVD usually comes in a pack with Cottage Gardens and paradise Gardens and there are books available for all 3.  Mine of helpful, practical, do-able information.

    I once saw a red bed at Kalmthout Arboretum in Belgium, home of many new hamamelis and hydrangea cultivars.  The red bed had ruby chard, red onions, red kale and Bishop of LLandaff dahlias plus that red flowered annual with the long tasselly flowers whose name escapes me.  Looked great.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,874
    When we lived right in a city centre terrace we had a tiny front garden ... amongst the lavender, wallflowers and tulips we had a small crab apple tree, ruby chard and broad beans ... passers by used to stop and ask me what the pretty black and white flowers were and were amazed when I told them they were broad beans  :)

    A pretty edging of parsley and chives set it all off  :)

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,717
    Joshusa asparagus needs a big deep bed and takes 3 years.  Yes runner beans, good one that, dwarf beans,broad beans, peas, all very pretty as well, spinach and chard raddishes, seems to be left alone by the slugs, salad veg in a pot of any kind, keep out of slugs way, stawberries, there were alpine strawbs when we moved here in the flower boarders.You may be able to fit in 4 sweet corn near one another, if you have a nice sunny spot.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,717
    Look up Alyse Fowler.
  • Anna33Anna33 Posts: 316
    Thank you all, these are really helpful ideas! I'm slightly concerned that things like chard would end up as slug fodder, but I've got a few more ideas to play with now. :)

    I'm also thinking of planting some sacrificial lettuces so the slugs and snails can munch on those instead, but it might be a bit optimistic given the space available... I'll let you know how I get on!
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