The Kitchen Garden in Old School Garden- my attempt to create something productive and also pleasant to look at.

The Kitchen Garden in Old School Garden- my attempt to create something productive and also pleasant to look at.

This week’s ‘snippet on style’ looks at Productive Gardens- those where the emphasis is on growing food.

The layout of productive gardens tends to be orderly, with geometric beds separated by paths for ease of maintenance and access. Beds are often a maximum of 1.5 metres wide along two parallel sides to prevent the need for walking on the soil. Materials can vary but are often utilitarian rather than ornamental (unless the garden is intended as an ornamental kitchen garden or French ‘potager’). Concrete slabs, brick paths or even compacted earth are common  surfaces. Planting varies seasonally and may rotate to reduce the risks of pests and diseases and to avoid sapping the soil by growing the same crops each year. Other features of productive gardens include:

  • raised beds

  • wide paths

  • rustic obelisks

  • planting in rows or blocks

  • simple if any decoration and with a practical angle- e.g. ornamental bird scarers

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Here’s an example of a productive garden shared between two neighbours.Communal food growing also takes place at larger scales, for whole neighbourhoods in shared beds or in long established ‘allotments’ where each tenant gardens their own plot.

If you're a keen cook and you have the space, you may want to create a special herb garden like this- or if not just find a sunny spot for a few fragrant favourites!

If you’re a keen cook and you have the space, you may want to create a special herb garden like this – or if not just find a sunny spot for a few fragrant favourites!

Let me know what you think makes a Productive style garden, and if you have some pictures I’d love to see them!

Links/ further information:

Garden Organic

RHS Campaign for School Gardening

Food for Life- school gardening

Growing communities

Space for food growing- free guide

Vertical veg

RHS- grow your own food

Food growing case studies – pdf

Other posts in the series:

Japanese Gardens

Country Gardens

Modernist Gardens

Formal Gardens

Mediterranean Gardens

Cottage gardens

Old School Gardener

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