Sunburst Design

I’ve gone a bit ‘pattern-crazy’ this year and decided to plant up all my beds in some kind of design. This bed is mostly salads and I’ve planted it in a sunburst design. I suppose I just got bored of planting in straight lines and thought I would do something different this year.

I planted a Box hedge along the bottom and a row of pot-grown Shallots along on the right-hand side to give it some structure. Then I laid some sticks down on the ground to make a sunburst pattern. At the head I’ve planted one Perpetual Spinach plant, which will eventually get quite big. Then around that some Cauliflowers, and a row of American Cress seeds (which you can’t see in this photo) in a sort of half-moon shape. Then on the ‘rays’ of the sunburst I have planted (right to left) Carrots (Early Nantes), Spinach (Kimono), Lettuce (Tom Thumb), Mustard Greens, Lettuce (Henderson Simpson), Aubergine – yes I know it’s too early for Aubergine but I’ve got my fleece ready and waiting! Pak Choi and Red Cabbage. I have yet to plant anything in the space at the top.

This bed is only 2.6m by 3.6m and it already has some Strawberries and a Whitecurrant bush in it. As you can see I’ve packed them in quite tightly, far closer than the recommended growing distances. In a nutshell I want this bed to be completely full, with no earth showing at all. Also, as the larger plants grow so the smaller crops will be harvested. It should all work, but it’s the first time I’ve grown like this so I’m experimenting a bit.

What do you think? Anyone else trying anything similar?

16 Comments on “Sunburst Design

  1. That’s a really great idea, functional and very pretty. Do you think a spiral or similar could work? I guess geometric shapes are easier for planting and can look great.

  2. Yes – I have been planting lettuces in patterns for quite a few years. Last year I had a zig zag of beetroot down the long left hand bed and planted a different type of lettuce in each triangle. I alternated the colours and textures for interest. the whole design had a back drop of dwarf french beans and then behind that borage and soft comfrey. The year before I did a 3m x 3m pattern in the front garden. The edges were alternated red and green salad bowl lettuces and the in fill was a pattern other other sald veg. I followed that with a winter display of a variety of kales and cabbages (colour, height and texture). Lots of people stop and stare at it as they walk by and people navigate by ‘the house with the cabbages in the front garden’! I am about to clear these for the summer and need to think what to plant this year – three years of brassicas is not a good idea.

  3. Looks great! Nothing like a little variation to add a new twist to the garden. Good luck with your experiment. Can’t wait to see a picture of the same bed when it’s completely filled with different shades of greens and reds.

  4. The bed looks great with the young plants so no doubt it will look superb when fully grown. The variation certainly makes it interesting from a colour and texture perspective. Do you think that mixing things up will help to keep the bugs away? That would certainly be worth making note of.

  5. I love your lettuce design, I can’t plant in straight rows to save myself, they are usually all crooked! I’m thinking about starting in one corner and planting them on the diagonal. We’ll see how that looks.

  6. Looks beautiful, but won’t the cauliflowers need protection from the cabbage butterflies?

  7. I planted beetroot and carrots in a chequerboard last year as I was bored with straight lines. It looked like a chess board, I used various varieties. I was really pleased with how it looked but it was a bit tricky thinning the plants and of course it did not look so great when I had to start harvesting it. I think a veg plot should be fun so definatly will try your idea sometime. Great ideas!

  8. Hi Sarah
    I usually do that by hand as my garden is too small to put up too much netting. It’s a lot of work but worth it.

  9. You’ve inspired me with those plant patterns! You’re right, straight lines can get boring…

  10. Wowee I love this and can’t wait to see how it grows up! Very relieved also to hear that I am not the only one who finds it tiresome and boring to always sow in not so straight lines. Also found other comments very interesting and wondering if it’s too early to start drawing my plans for next year’s veg garden?!
    Food for thought x

  11. I am growing everything in triangles this year. My veg beds are 2.4m x 1.2m and I am sowing stuff in triangles. It looks oh so much better – it actually looks interesting, and I have managed to squeeze so much stuff in this way!! Highly recommend.

  12. I wish I’d found your website a week ago (oh, wait, you hadn’t written this blog post a week ago). I love the idea of a pattern in the veggie garden, but my seeds and seedlings are already in the garden.

    Can’t wait to see photos of the garden as it matures…

  13. I recently visited the Eden Project in Cornwall where they have the most fantastic examples of vast curved borders filled with vegetables of all types and sizes.

    Rather cleverly they’ve created them outside the food areas as well.

  14. Well you’re all lucky to get stuff. In Vancouver, we have acrap season so far. The strawberries are just flowering and theres no pollinators. Most stuff veg wise has stopped growing.

    I reused some growbag soil/compost from last year but I think its got issues, things pop-up and then get stuck at “tiny”.
    Ive bought some fresh and am starting again. I tried Su Choi – but they just wouldnt grow inside or out. Even with abit of organic feeding.

    Hope yours is going well. I take it most were installed as seedlings ….

  15. Forgot to mention – its been freezing cold for months and months. Global warming?