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Garden Structures For Soft Fruit

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 7 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Soft Fruit Landscape Garden Structures

Landscape gardening can encompass fruit and vegetable as well as ornamental plants and trees. With the economic climate cooling many more people are turning to producing their own food in their gardens, so if it can be blended in with the ornamental aspects of a garden then so much the better.

Small Structures for Soft Fruit

Starting from small structures and working up, there are many tall terracotta pots than look good and can be used to grow soft fruit. They tend to have scalloped access holes-cum-shelves dotted all the way up around the sides. These can then be used to provide anchor points for climbing varieties of fruit such as strawberries and other berries, not to mention tomatoes.

They can also be used to plant a different herb in each hole. If there are certain herbs that you like but you only use a small amount each time you cook then this is a good way of getting a variety of herbs and taking up the same amount of the space as one large pot.

Taking this to a logical conclusion a garden landscape plan could include a container garden close to the back door where soft fruit, herbs and vegetables can be grown and accessed easily.

Larger Frameworks for Fruit and Vegetables

For growing fruit and vegetable in sections of normal-sized urban gardens there is an advantage to using height to increase the available growing space. Trellises and pergolas can be used for soft fruit and even some vegetables just as well as an ornamental vine or rose.

When putting these structures up look at both aspects of the garden landscape, ornamental and productive. Squashes, courgettes and pumpkins have beautiful flowers (which are just as edible as the fruit) and can be trained up and over an archway as easily as any vine or soft fruit.

This makes better use of the soil because they can spread like wildfire, taking over a vegetable plot with their large leaves robbing other fruit and vegetables of precious light. Trained vertically up a pergola or similar structure the leaves, flowers and fruit can be given their headway.

The Big Guns: Greenhouses and Polytunnels

At the top end of the landscape structure league table, in size at least, are greenhouses and much-derided polytunnels. Both will lengthen the short growing seasons that the UK weather forces upon us and will greatly increase the yield of a soft fruit crop (and many vegetables too) as well as speeding up the growing process. And both need attention from the landscape point of view.

A greenhouse, particularly if it is a high quality one, needn't necessarily be hidden from view, and in fact can be a focal point of a garden. For some reason the same is not often true of a polytunnel. But when planning the landscape of a garden they both need to have space made for them in the right orientation and in such a way as to maximise their growing potential. See our separate article for details about including polytunnels in garden landscape plans.

Mix and Match

To be honest it starts to make you wonder why we differentiate so much between ornamental gardening and growing fruit and vegetables when it comes to landscape gardening.

Not only is it easy to mix them up in the garden but it's better for pollination and keeping pests away too. Research 'companion planting' to get the low-down on this trend.

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