Clever and Stylish Ways to Grow Produce In Your Yard
Feeling the urge to grow your own food?
You might have your friends’ and family members’ social media posts to thank for that. Many people who’ve been cooped up indoors avoiding the coronavirus have taken to gardening to get some much-needed fresh air, ease their worries, and supplement their less-frequent grocery store trips with fresh food from their backyard bounty.
And these folks aren’t keeping their newfound hobby a secret. Flooding our Instagram feeds are daily updates chronicling sprouts wriggling from the earth, tomato plants inching toward the sky, and squash blossoms bursting into bloom. It’s enough to make anyone want to try their hand at gardening.
Whether you’re new to gardening or an old pro, you can flex your green thumb this summer by trying some of the following techniques that go beyond your standard in-ground garden. Garden techniques are listed below from low-commitment to high-, so start wherever makes sense for you.
If you’re not ready to go all in on gardening, give container gardening a whirl. These low-stakes gardens use found objects or small planters to contain herbs and small produce (think tomatoes, radishes, salad greens, and eggplant).
We especially love these types of gardens because they allow for so much creativity in the execution. Found objects like milk jugs and retro soup cans make interesting homes for the plants, and vintage wooden soda crates charmingly corral small containers. You can also start your seedlings in eggshells or egg cartons for an ultra eco-friendly route. We’ve even seen some newfound gardeners take container gardening to new heights by using hanging planters and shepherds hooks to suspend their produce in the air.
Another plus? Because of the small size of container gardens, it makes perfect sense to keep the containers near your outdoor kitchen for easy access, if the conditions there are adequate for growing and maintaining your plants.
Check out our blog post on growing your own herbs if you’re dreaming of whipping up some pesto with homegrown basil, or muddling some mint for your summer mojitos, or even creating some lavender simple syrup for at-home lavender iced lattes.
Like container gardens, grow bags, or fabric pots, are another low-commitment way to introduce some homegrown produce into your life. Grow bags come in different colors to match any outdoor aesthetic and are made from thick, breathable fabric similar to reusable grocery bags.
These well-aerated bags offer superior drainage over traditional plastic pots and protect the soil quality, as the plants are never buried in the ground. Many also tout the convenience of mobility, as the fabric pots often have handles, making it a cinch to relocate plants.
Standing alone or grouped together, grow bags can create an attractive array of produce in anyone’s yard. They even come in a square shape, offering quadrants to keep each plant completely separated.
Plants that don’t produce deep roots grow especially well in grow bags, so try tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, chili peppers, aubergines, and courgettes.
For gardeners who do have some outdoor space to work with and are interested in turning heads, we offer the spiral garden. Does it get any more unique than a labyrinth of produce? Whether you choose to DIY or have a professional landscaping company design your custom garden, the spiral garden is always an interesting way to maximize space in a small area while introducing produce into your yard.
While this gardening technique might make it slightly difficult to move from one area of the garden to the other without trampling a plant, it pays off tenfold in the visual effect. Gardeners might opt for rocks, paving stones, bricks, stumps, or small wooden planks to create the spiral path, and they can choose to make the pattern incline as you travel to the spiral’s center.
Raised Garden Beds
Like container gardens and grow bags, raised garden beds control the quality of their soil, as plants aren’t growing within the ground. Custom-made, raised garden beds can be tailored to exact specifications, but out-of-the box garden beds are also available at your local home improvement store.
This method of gardening is a little more intensive, as you might be assembling your own garden bed with wooden planks and filling a larger area with soil (larger compared to those lower-commitment gardens).
What can make raised garden beds especially stylish is choosing a wood type that complements your existing landscaping, pavilion, or gazebo, to round out your polished outdoor oasis.
Enter one of the most clever gardening techniques: vertical gardening. Sometimes described as “growing things upward, rather than outward,” vertical gardening involves suspending your produce or plants from a vertical wall or plank and often incorporates hydroponics, or growing plants without soil.
While you might have seen the selfie-worthy “living green walls,” “live walls,” or “moss walls” at trendy boutiques or upscale corporation headquarters, this unique greenery has a place in and outside of residential homes as well. In fact, vertical gardening is an effective way to grow lettuces, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes.
We recommend researching before you embark on most home projects, but with hydroponics and vertical gardening, this is especially so. This method could involve complex irrigation systems necessary to properly grow certain produce. If you want the look of vertical gardening but don’t want to fully commit, try it on for size with succulents first to see if it’s something you want to build upon.
The Potager (pronounced pot-ah-zhay) is the most elaborate of our garden ideas. This “French kitchen garden” is known for its old-world charm, as its origins go back to the 15th century and the French Renaissance gardens during the reign of King Charles VIII.
The Potager’s calling card is a space that’s well-ordered, symmetrical, ornamental, and efficient, often with gravel or brick walkways meandering from one plot to the next. Plots can be any shape you like — square, rectangle, triangle, L-shaped, T-shaped, or round. Need some inspiration? Scroll through Instagram and see how gardeners from around the world have assembled their Potager gardens.
Planning and executing the layout of a large Potager garden can be a considerable undertaking, so make sure to do all your research if you’re DIYing, or enlist professional design and implementation help.
Now that you’re well-versed in the types of clever and stylish gardens you can construct this summer, make sure you know how to properly maintain your garden; read up on our advice for caring for your garden during those inevitable Oklahoma storms.