Gardening Products

Home Beekeeping

Few gardening-related hobbies are as fascinating and satisfying as raising honey bees. Contribute to the health of your area's honey bee population. Buy this guide to learning bee culture and start your own bee hives.

Garden Chickens

Raise adoring pets that pay you back with delicious and nutritious fresh eggs. This offer provides all the information you need to get started with your own backyard chickens. Click here today to get started in this rewarding hobby.

Kitchen Garden Store

Learn to preserve the produce you grow in your home kitchen garden. This home canning starter kit includes everything you need to can your first batch using the boiling water bath method for high-acid foods. Find it and other canning supplies at the Home Kitchen Garden Store.

Landscaped Home Kitchen Garden - 1

From the back patio of a creek-side home, a hill slopes steeply down to a less severe lawn. From a bridge over the creek, I’d seen new landscaping on the hillside, so I stopped to ask the owners about the project.

Early spring should find you out in your home kitchen garden setting fruit plants and cold weather vegetables. For those who are adding to their gardens—or just taking up kitchen gardening, early spring is a time for laying out a plan: building raised beds, cutting sod, or otherwise terraforming your yard.

Many wonder: what is a good vegetable garden layout? I maintain that there is no single answer. Much depends on the terrain in your yard.. If you have a flat, open lawn, you can have a traditional garden, a square foot garden, a raised bed garden, a vertical garden… you have enormous latitude for your vegetable garden layout.

If your yard features a steep hillside, or dense rock piles, or soggy depressions, or concrete or asphalt walks and patios, you might need to exercise your imagination to come up with a workable vegetable garden layout. Raised planting beds, containers, sloped or stepped beds… plants really don’t care how you lay things out; given sunlight, moisture, some warmth, and some nutritious soil, they will do their darndest to grow up and produce food for you.

Landscaped Home Kitchen Garden - 2

The owners built two stairways from the original patio down to a flagstone path. The path passes an open fire pit with bench seating, and a hot tub that blends well with other rock features. Rocks help retain soil and define planting areas. As well, logs that comprise the seat back of the bench retain soil in which plants can live happily.

Your Vegetable Garden Layout

Last summer and fall, I photographed more than a dozen kitchen gardens in central Pennsylvania. Actually… not all of them were kitchen gardens, but when they inspired thoughts of interesting ways to grow food in challenging landscaping, I took photographs.

This and several upcoming posts will present the kitchen gardens I photographed last year. I’ll include comments to provide encouragement in case you face similar challenges when planning your own vegetable garden layout.

Landscaped Home Kitchen Garden - 3

In the first year after landscaping the hillside, the owners had planted some accent ornamentals on the bank and in strategic pockets among the rocks. I’d take a different approach: blueberry bushes and raspberry brambles for large spaces, strawberry plants for ground cover, and reserved pockets for annual vegetables such as squash, climbing beans, greens, herbs, and bush beans. I might also include a grape arbor and some dwarf fruit trees within easy reach of the stairways and flagstone path. That gently sloping lawn near the creek? Sure: I’d add some vegetable beds there as well. I’d cut into the sod rather than build raised beds; the creek floods often and I wouldn’t want to have my raised beds washed away during a particularly wet spring.


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