So you’ve decided to grow an edible garden. There’s no better time than now, especially if you want to start reaping the benefits (and vegetables) of your effort this summer. But, before you dig your first hole or plant your first seed, consider these four tips for first-time garden success.
What Is Edible Landscaping?
Edible landscaping refers to planting lawns and other ornamental areas with food-bearing plants. It’s a trend that’s been gaining momentum in recent years. An edible landscape features plantings designed to look like they’re ornamental, but they’re actually edibles.
Consider these things before you get started:
How much sun does your yard receive? Are there any natural boundaries that might restrict the size of your garden?
The best way to get to know your yard is to take some time to explore its attributes. Walk the perimeter and look at the depth and shape of your yard and its boundaries. Walk to the back of your yard and take a look at how much sun it gets and how much shade it casts.
If you’ve already done a little exploring, you’ll have an idea of what you’re dealing with, but you might want to spend some time looking at a satellite view of your property to get a better idea of the lay of the land.
Once you have a good idea of your yard’s potential, you’ll be ready to sketch out your design.
Given the space and sunlight available for your garden, it’s time to start thinking about the design.
A good design is essential to any landscape, but it’s even more important for edible landscaping. An ugly landscape will not only take away from the beauty of your home but also from the garden’s overall productivity.
A well-designed edible landscape will:
- Be aesthetically pleasing
- Be easy to maintain
- Maximize the available sunlight
- Make good use of the soil
- Be well-suited to the plants you have chosen
Edible plants should be carefully coordinated with other plants to create a pleasing visual effect.
Plants need good, healthy soil to grow a full and productive garden.
The first thing to consider is your soil’s pH level.
The pH level indicates how acidic or alkaline the soil is. Ideally, your soil should be somewhere within the range of 6.0 to 7.0 on the pH scale.
If your soil is too acidic, you can add materials with a higher pH to adjust it to the right level. Most plants prefer slightly acidic soil, but blueberries thrive in slightly alkaline soil.
A soil test will give you an accurate reading of your soil’s pH level. You can find instructions for taking a soil test on the website of your local county extension service agency.
Once you know your pH level, you can begin working to adjust it.
To increase the pH level of your soil, add ground limestone.
To decrease the pH level, add sulfur.
If you need to adjust your soil’s pH level dramatically, you’ll probably have to remove some of the existing soil and replace it.
However, it’s usually easier just to adjust the pH level rather than adding a significant amount of new soil.
4. Your Diet
Before deciding which plants to add to your edible landscape, it’s a good idea to think about what you like to eat.
It’s hard to get excited about a bunch of fennel when you know you don’t like fennel.
It’s also a good idea to think about what you’re trying to grow.
It’s almost impossible to get a good crop of lettuce from your garden if you live in a hot climate. The key is to grow only the plants you like to eat, and to stay within the plants you can grow well.
If you don’t have much space in your yard to grow vegetables, try growing them in containers.
Edible landscaping is an excellent way to create a beautiful addition to your home and expand your food supply simultaneously.
By thinking about what you like to eat and what foods grow well in your area, you can create a beautiful and productive landscape.
Blossom and Broom is a home and gardening blog that offers valuable tips and other information that can help you start your journey in growing your own food and keeping your home in its best shape! Check out our other helpful posts today!