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Raised Beds

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May 24, 2014
There's been a big increase in home vegetable gardens over the last few years. Many home owners want their gardens to provide healthy food, and fit in as an attractive component of the landscape. My friend John's vegetable garden is a perfect example of this landscape integration. The garden is defined by the decorative picket fence and surrounded by a variety tough and hardy flowering perennials. Early Sunrise coreopsis has bright and sunny yellow flowers that contrast well with the tiny blue flower heads of lollipop verbena. Adding to the colorful interest are red and white Hot Lips salvia and the wooly blue and white flowers of Mexican bush sage. This rustic old bike along the fence serves as a piece of garden art. I really like the fresh herbs that are readily available growing in containers around the outside of the fence. John's vegetable garden is a series of raised beds. The native soil amended with compost and organic matter provides excellent drainage and is a great benefit to the plants. For watering John has installed a clever and simple irrigation system. PVC pipe is set along the perimeter of the raised beds, with 1/8 inch holes drilled about six inches apart. When the valve is turned on the entire bed is watered underneath the foliage, which reduces the chances of leaf diseases. All this work has paid off with exceptional growth. Just look at how these yellow squash are producing, and the green zucchini are not far behind. John has shown us the vegetable garden can be attractive as well as productive. I hope this give you some ideas to try in your garden this year. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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