Can you call a vegetable plot "a vegetable bed"? Or is this usage uncommon?

For example a bed of flowers is called a flowerbed.

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    Ngram shows both as in use, with "plot" used somewhat more frequently. – Cascabel Jan 17 '19 at 12:56

Yes, you can call a vegetable plot "a vegetable bed", and this is not uncommon.

bed Merriam-Webster

: a flat or level surface: such as a : a plot of ground prepared for plants also : the plants grown in such a plot

as in:

  • “The gardener planted a bed of roses”
  • “The gardener planted a bed of flowers”
  • “The gardener planted a bed of vegetables”
  • "The gardener planted a bed of vegetables and ornamental flowers”

These are all correct, as bed means a plot of ground in which plants are growing.


  • How to Build A Vegetable Bed Biodynamically MotherEarth

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    @Happy For this American, a "yard" is a piece of land attached to a house. Usually there's a "front yard" and a "backyard" located in front of and behind the house, respectively. The yard (especially the front yard) may feature a "lawn", which is an area of trimmed grass. A "garden" is an area that is specifically cultivated for flowers or vegetables. – Deolater Jan 17 '19 at 16:57
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    @Happy You can ask another question if you want clarity about that (or search the site; I'm pretty sure it's been discussed here before) but basically, "yard" is any land around a house, and "garden" is an intentionally planted/cultivated part of the yard, of any size. – 1006a Jan 17 '19 at 16:57
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    @Happy “Plot” would be unusual in UK usage. “Bed” is the normal term. – Mike Scott Jan 17 '19 at 17:02
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    @Happy I wouldn't say plot and bed are necessarily the same thing. To me a bed is a smaller area entirely given over to cultivation. A footpath running through it wouldn't be part of a bed, and would likely split things into two beds. A plot can be larger, and could potentially include the footpaths. Also, a small field (e.g. 10x10 m) might be called a plot but wouldn't be called a bed. -- But all that might idiolect issues. – R.M. Jan 17 '19 at 17:47
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    I think "plot" and "bed" are interchangeable in US English, but "garden" is not. A garden implies a larger area that may contain multiple plots or beds. E.g. "In my garden, I have a decorative flower bed around the outside and beds for tomatoes, peppers, and carrots in the middle" – Darrel Hoffman Jan 17 '19 at 18:06

Yes, you can, at least in UK usage. The Royal Horticultural Society refer to "vegetable beds" in their campaign for school gardening, for example.

They're not completely synonymous as you'll see from this description of my own garden: I have several veg beds, one strawberry bed, and two herb beds. They're island beds separated by paths and together make up the vegetable plot. The examples I've linked (along with the more common "raised bed") demonstrate that phrases of this form are quite flexible

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  • Actually, now that I think about it, your explanation is the most clear one! – Happy Jan 17 '19 at 19:17

As a native British English speaker, I would call that a vegetable patch. Ngrams shows its more common than 'plot' or 'bed'.

'Vegetable bed' sounds wrong to me, despite published usages. I would know what you meant but I wouldn't use it myself.

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  • But vegetable patch is not always the same as vegetable bed, e.g. you would not call a patch comprised of 5 beds a bed. What you're referring to is like saying, "I just compared the words "head" and "leg" on google ngram and "leg" is more popular, so I will use that". :D – Happy Jan 18 '19 at 12:29
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    'patch' is a synonym of 'plot': a small piece of ground marked out for gardening, and you've already accepted that 'plot' is fine. Your head/leg example is not the same. – Michael Jan 18 '19 at 13:59
  • When I was asking this question I thought that plot is the same as bed. But it turns out it is not. – Happy Jan 18 '19 at 14:03
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    You've accepted an answer which says "you can call a vegetable plot a vegetable bed" – Michael Jan 18 '19 at 14:14
  • In the question I call a vegetable plot a rectangular shaped, cultivated patch of soil that has no footpaths. Sorry, I should have been more clear. – Happy Jan 18 '19 at 14:21

My impression, right or wrong, is that 'bed' is used only for small plots. A large plot of a vegetable would be called a crop. For animals; chickens for example; if small, a chicken coop. If large, a chicken farm.

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  • Hi Scott, welcome to EL&U. Note that this site is a bit different from other Q&A sites: an answer is expected to be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct - preferably by quoting a reference (e.g. a dictionary definition) hyperlinked to the source. You can edit your post to add this detail; for further guidance, see How to Answer. Make sure you also take the EL&U Tour :-) – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Jan 19 '19 at 0:08

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