Combining flowers and vegetables

I wanted to show you an example of how crammed by vegetable garden beds are. And how I combine flowers and vegetables in the same plot.

What no chatting introduction? A tale to tell? I’m jumping right in there as it’s too hot and my brain is fried. But I have found three pictures in my folder that might (just might) cling together to make a coherent story.

I don’t dig. I mulch. And when there is a layer of home-made mulch in a vegetable garden,  you know you will get fascinating weedy combinations.

crammed1The trick is to keep an eye on the emerging seedlings and decide what to keep.

Take this little bed. It’s about two metres long by one metre wide. (Six feet by three.)

From the far left you have crocosmia Lucifer which self seeded from the cutting garden bed two rows over. A huge patch of wonderful achillea Gold Plate. Also a self seeder. I have to tie it up with string to stop it flopping and swamping the two plants in front of it (squint) – a tomato and a dahlia.

The stakes show where I have planted more tomatoes, in between tagetes (marigolds). Potatoes up the back.


Try this bed too. A dahlia, tomatoes, self seeding lettuce, self seeding Swiss chard, verbena bonariensis, rogue tomatoes which come back every year. It’s a cherry tomato and I love it for its tenacity in being able to fight for space. There are also sweet peas in here which also come back, and (glory be) self seeded coriander.

Yep, a bit of a mess.  But I like the fact I can get plenty of lettuce from just about every one of the 17 beds – they are shaded enough for me to grab some juicy leaves before they bolt, go to seed, and start all over again.

And naturally, these self seeders are tougher, earlier and so much easier to grow than sowing seeds in the potting shed, pricking out and potting on.

I do love these plants that just get on. All you have to do is be messy, neglectful and distracted. And apply plenty of mulch in autumn and spring.