The kitchen garden may serve as the central feature of an ornamental, all-season landscape, or it may be little more than a humble vegetable plot. It is a source of herbs, vegetables and fruits, but it is often also a structured garden space with a design based on repetitive geometric patterns

Apart from the advantage of cutting your food bills, there is nothing tastier or healthier than using the freshest ingredients for the kitchen table, straight from your own garden. The popularity of growing your own in a kitchen garden has led to sales of vegetable seeds overtaking those of flowers.

An open, sunny spot is preferable, ideally one that enjoys the morning sun, and around six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. To grow quickly and well, vegetables need as much light as possible, so track the sun throughout the day to see where shadows fall. If you don’t have these conditions, there are some crops that tolerate shade, such as cherries, blackberries, raspberries, rhubarb and blackcurrants.

Wind protection is also important, so a permeable barrier, such as a picket fence, hedge or windbreak can filter its effect.

Every plot is different, so work out the best design for your space and needs. There are no rules to creating a kitchen garden. You can mix vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers, including edible varieties, all jostling together in a tapestry of colors and shapes, in segregated rows or blocks, or as an ornamental potager, in a geometric pattern of your choice.

Unless crops need special protection, it can be helpful to mix the plantings, as a large area of a single crop attracts pests, and the mix of different edibles and ornamentals confuses them. It is helpful to draw the design of your vegetable garden on paper first before marking out or planting.