One of the things I love most about spring is getting back to gardening. When we moved into our house 9 years ago, the people who owned the house before us planted lots of shrubs, trees and grass,. Personally, I don’t really care for landscaping that requires a lot of maintenance without giving me back a little something for my efforts! Edible gardening is the perfect way to create and attractive yet functional collection of plants. Nothing says that your yard can’t look pretty AND be edible, right? So, if you are interested in edible gardening, here are a few tips to get you started:
Edible Gardening Tips
1. Plant fruiting shrubs like blueberry bushes. Some varieties can get quite tall to provide a bit of privacy for your yard while still providing you with a nice harvest of fruit.
2. Make use of existing fences. Many variety of blackberries and raspberries will grow as vines. If you have a fence in a sunny location, plant a few of them right along it and let them use the fence as a support.
3. Go up, not out. If you have a small yard, consider growing your cucumbers on a trellis or your tomatoes from a hanging pot. There are lots of creative ways to maximize space. You can often harvest quite a nice crop from edible gardening in a small space.
4. Don’t forget edible flowers. Pansies, geraniums, nasturtiums, and many other pretty flowers are actually edible. Use them for attractive landscaping and pick as needed to garnish salads or side dishes.
5. Make sure you choose the right soil, supplements, and gardening aids. Ideally, everything you use in your edible gardening project should be organic, natural, and completely safe for consumption. Choose organic soils, natural fertilizers, and use only food safe pesticides. Personally, I prefer to use no pesticides at all or choose something natural like neem oil, diatomaceous earth, or the old fashion method of picking bugs off by hand.
If you are looking for a good organic soil for your edible gardening project, consider Organic Choice. They have organic soils for both container gardening and growing plants directly in the ground. (yes, it does matter which type of soil you choose for this project!) They are appropriate for vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs. The organic soil and time released natural fertilizers will feed your plants for months.
Why Choose Edible Gardening?
Growing your own food is a great way to save money on your grocery bill. Your first year of edible gardening will have some startup costs involved but after that, you should be able to plant quite a bit of food for very little cost. I like to add perennials like rosemary, rhubarb, chives, mint, lemonbalm, blackberries, and a few others so that I know they will come back year after year with just a bit of fertilizer. I also enjoy growing things like lettuce, parsley, cilantro and basil. These are things I use often in small amounts and when I purchase at the grocery store I end up throwing alot of it away when it goes bad before I can finish it. Being able to grow your own food reduces your carbon footprint quite a bit and edible gardening is definitely a good workout. Those bags of cow manure are not light and spending a few hours tilling soil is quite a workout. You can make your edible gardening project as small as a few pots on the patio or as large as completely eradicating your grass and planting multiple garden beds. Every little step counts!
This year I am going to be ambitious and try my hand at growing beets. I have tried previously without a lot of success but fingers crossed that this is the year it works! I have several different types of lettuce already in the garden but once the beets start coming in I can make this Beet and Arugala salad with Goat Cheese! Looks delicious, doesn’t it?
Are you considering edible gardening this year? Do you have tips you would like to share?