You can't have your salad and your design....

t-bird(Chicago 5/6)May 26, 2013

I love the look of veggie gardens, especially the potager or edible landscaping arrangement that are pleasing to the eye.

But then you go in and harvest some of your lettuce or chard and you lose that design element.

Am I the only one who gets bummed about this?

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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Well, veges are for eating! Nancy

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 9:47PM
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I know exactly what you are saying! As I plant my beds this year I am tending to put in a variety of different colors and textures in patterns, and when I start harvesting they will just not be the same. It is one of the reasons I put flowers in every bed - they will anchor the beds through the season.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 6:32AM
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That's why a lot of potager people put lavender, marigolds or other small flowers/herbs around the edges of the beds. This keeps your color and texture and still allows you to harvest your food :)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 8:36PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Some of the things like lettuce, chard, kale etc can still be harvested (picking the outer leaves as needed) while still keeping the plant intact (at least until they bolt or go to seed!) Nancy

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 9:23PM
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Late post, but if you plant lettuce or chards, plant them a little more thickly than is recommended. Then when harvesting harvest every week, cutting every-other plant or every third plant leaving some for additional growth. This harvesting procedure does two things, 1) it allows more room for the remaining plants to grow and 2) allows you to keep a reasonable pattern in your garden. By the time you harvest your last plant group, the group you harvested first will be ready to harvest a second time. Mixing in edible flowers such as nastritium is also helpful.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 1:31PM
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Just pick a few leaves off of each plant- you won't notice from afar.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:24AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

You don't want to introduce nasturtium or morning glory into a vege garden! They will take OVER!!!!!!
They are wonderful around the outside of a garden, but NOT in the beds!
I just had to re-do my whole herb garden (in large pots) cause the nasty took over! They're already creeping back even though I covered with weed cloth and stepping stones! Nancy

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:39PM
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There's the difference with a short summer...we're lucky if the nasturtiums bloom and fill in the border, before it gets too cold....let alone take over :)

1 Like    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 1:10PM
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Many varieties of nasturtiums. Some do quite a bit of trailing and some seem to stay in bush form. I've never had trouble in a shorter growing season. Grows quickly, seeds are cheap. You have to consider your zone and growing season. Northern gardens do not have an overgrowth problem.
All of the plant is edible. The buds are great pickled, leaves for a pesto, flowers can be pureed for a lovely sauce, (gorgeous color.)

I plant my salad mesclun thick. Then when it grows/fills out, i cut a clean strip with scissors straight across the bed. About 3-4 inches wide. Makes a huge salad. The plants left and right flop into the cut space. Next salad is cut from another spot 6-8 inches over, re-peat...I start a new section of seeds every couple weeks so i have salad all summer. The cut sections will grow another whole second set of leaves.
Head lettuce gets a grid pattern of reds and greens. I just harvest the outer leaves for a while, then let them bolt. I like the bolting form of the green and redleaf varieties.
Grow enough chard that taking just a few leaves from each plant will make a side dish. I pinch out some inner small tender leaves for adding to a fresh raw salad.

With enough different varieties, i can fill a salad basket for a party of 10 by pinching all over the garden without looking like i harvested or changed the gardens structure at all.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 1:11PM
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Ninkasi(6ish Germany)

I have a Marguerite Daisy trained as a standard planted over the salad greens. You can't really see it in this picture, but the ball shape shades the plants below, keeps the greens cooler and helps them last longer in the summer. And the flowers look great!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 11:20AM
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No one has mentioned that some ornamentals fix nitrogen and others are stinky, so can deter pests. I am working on lists of my favorites of these. I'd love to see YOUR lists. There are also some varieties of comphrey that are far prettier than others - comphrey is used as chop-and-drop mulch to pull nutrients from deep down. Also, tea herbs can be gorgeous. Many herbs are far higher in antioxidants than even veggies, so we have an excuse to grow much more.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 14, 2015 at 8:37AM
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