Cabbages can look beautiful in a flower border. Photo: Unsplash

If the last year has taught us anything, it’s how much we value our outdoor space. 

Staying at home, protecting ourselves and our loved ones for nearly a year now, many of us have appreciated our gardens and taken a more active interest in that patch of green outside the kitchen window.

Estate agents certainly have reported buyers putting a garden far higher on their wish list than in the past and developers are even including wonderful communal vegetable patches in planning proposals for inner-city living.

Many people think a vegetable patch is not an option for them but there are more ways to grow your own veg than you might first think, whether you have a paddock or a window box, and trust us, nothing tastes better than fresh tomatoes you have grown yourself!

You can grow a garden anywhere! Photo: Unsplash

In small areas, you need to box clever to maximise the space available. Consider going up – find a sunny wall and attach a trellis for beans or if your DIY mojo is strong build yourself a vertical vegetable patch by attaching a series of boxes or planters to the wall. Vegetables will thrive in a warm, sunny spot but do need regular watering.

Globe artichokes are beautiful and statuesque. Photo: Unsplash

If you just can’t bear to give up valuable flower border space, consider vegetables that are beautiful and delicious. Globe artichokes and cabbage plants, with their many shapes and colours, are actually used by some gardeners in their planting schemes as an ornamental plant. And in the winter when other plants are dormant, an architectural row of Brussels sprouts is very eye-catching.

An old pair of jeans will make an unusual planter. Photo: Bobby Twidale
Nothing tastes better than a tomato you’ve grown yourself. Photo: Unsplash

If your outdoor space is paved, a collection of pots and planters with a mix of flowering and edible plants is both beautiful and practical. Even the smallest window box is space enough for lettuce or herbs and if you have no outdoor space at all, a sunny window ledge will suffice. Don’t think you always have to spend money buying new planters. Be creative and come up with ways to repurpose items you already have – a cardboard toilet roll tube makes a perfect pot for seedlings with the added benefit that you can plant the whole thing out when the plant is ready, the cardboard will just decompose in the ground. An old tyre makes a surprisingly attractive planter and even an old pair of jeans can be upcycled  – clever and sustainable.

Vegetable gardening is for the whole family. Photo: Unsplash

Limited mobility can put off potential gardeners and anyone who has spent more than a couple of hours bent over weeding will definitely understand why. This is where the raised bed comes into its own. With vegetables and other plants raised to knee or waist height, they are more accessible to those who don’t want to or aren’t able to work at ground level. And an added benefit is they are much less prone to weeds. 

Gardening is for the whole family. Check out National Children’s Gardening Week which runs from May 29 to June 6. It celebrates the fun that gardens hold for kids, their parents, grandparents and friends. The website is packed with ideas for fun garden projects and activities to keep everyone busy outdoors.

If we’ve filled you with inspiration, now is the perfect time to start planning your summer vegetable patch – you can start planting later this month. We are blessed with many wonderful garden centres in the Rutland area. Here are our favourites:











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