Thursday, April 15, 2010

a redneck garden

After moving to Nashville I kept hearing the term ‘Redneck Garden’. This term refers to an ornamental garden that includes edible plants normally associated with a vegetable garden. [I’ve chosen to ignore other components of said ‘redneck garden’, i.e. beer can wind chimes and the like] I’ll concede the idea was a foreign one to me, having grown up with a separation of ornamental and vegetable.

However, when you think about it, it really makes sense. I don’t know many people that have the space for fully separate ornamental and vegetable gardens, at least in an urban setting. Also, I think most people forget how aesthetically pleasing some veggies can be. Not to mention, growing your own vegetables saves money! So why not grow veggies in our flower beds?

I’m totally on-board and look forward to having my very own redneck garden soon. Just think of the positive consequences this idea could have if implemented in low-income ‘food deserts.’ We could all be eating better and/or more cheaply if we grew a few tomato plants in with our holly bushes, as an example.

The attached photo shows peppers grown alongside Salvia and Black-Eyed Susans. The color combination is phenomenal. I think I’ll achieve a similar effect planting veggies next to my Butterfly Bush and Black-Eyed Susans. Aesthetic benefits aside, growing some ornamentals like Marigolds with your tomatoes will actually prevent pests.

At the garden center this week I found a variety of herbs and vegetable starters available. For $15, I picked up Italian parsley, variegated Basil, a variety of Cilantro, and a Roma Tomato plant. Those herbs, along with the thyme and mint (and Rosemary) I already have will complete my herb ‘garden’ (which will actually be a pot to ensure good drainage).

The Roma tomato plant caught my eye because my boyfriend really likes Roma’s. But I’m also trying to grow several different varieties of tomatoes to hedge my bet that some will thrive. I should be able to plant all of these this weekend, and I’m still searching for more tomatoes and peppers to add.

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