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Published: Friday, 7/31/2009

The Pleasures Of Producing Your Own Produce

(NAPS) Here s food for thought: With grocery bills on the rise, many Americans are heading to their own backyards for fresh vegetables. Growing vegetables can be cost effective and enjoyable. There is, however, more to cultivating your own cuisine than picking a sunny spot and putting some plants in the ground. You want your vegetable garden to be productive and appealing.

A well-designed vegetable garden can be beautiful and productive, as well as being an important part of your landscape, says Bayer Advanced Garden Expert Lance Walheim, author of Landscaping for Dummies.

Here are some tips to maximize space and minimize problems with your produce.

Divide the garden. Splitting the area into square or rectangular beds makes it easier to reach each planting section and showcases the garden as attractive and functional.

Grow up. Use tepees, trellises and fences to train vining crops such as peas, beans and cucumbers to grow upward, saving space and making picking easier. Most plants will stay low to the ground, so vertical structures can give them more visual appeal.

Contain it. Plant in containers or raised beds where space is at a premium or soil is bad. There are a lot of small-space varieties to choose from, and by using pots, you can even grow produce on a porch or balcony.

Mix and match. Plant good-looking vegetables including lettuce and chard with flowers such as pansies and violas for an ornamental and edible garden.

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