Edible-garden tour

Click on this photo to see it in the KHS photo note cards/prints gallery.Generally when I feature garden tours, I focus on flower gardens and the accompanying shrubs, trees and landscape architecture that frame them. But it recently dawned on me that I’ve been leaving out a significant portion of the gardens we know and love -- those of the edible variety.

Now that I have my own idjit garden at my local community garden, in which most everything is edible (even my Mammoth Russian sunflower shown above with seeds in an early stage), I’m wishing I’d taken myself on a few edible-garden tours prior to planting. How nice it would have been to learn the various design attributes of vegetable, fruit, and herb plants from the example of others in advance.

Instead, I crowded several Sun Gold tomato seedlings into opposite corners of one, four-foot by four-foot, raised bed and then threw in a few more, for good measure, so I thought. Today, two and one-half months later, those tomatoes have crowded out the sunflower and what had been a beautiful grouping of Swiss chard and sprightly bush beans. Sure, I love the tomatoes, but now I’m the proud caretaker of a small jungle, rather than a garden.

For those interested in picking up a few pointers for next season, I suggest visiting your local community gardens. I bet a number of them are loaded with edibles and populated by gardeners happy to share their insights. If you’re local to Salem, we have three community garden locations: Winter Island, Palmer Cove and Mack Park. Take a self-guided tour. Get inspired.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast