Foodscaping or Edible Gardening is a technique that can prove to be quite beneficial to you and the environment. It is especially practical if you live in suburban areas where edible gardening has risen to be the most popular gardening trend in recent years.
The best thing about foodscaping is that anyone can grow an abundance of food in their backyard, even if you only have a small garden.
So, are you someone who wants to get into Foodscaping and Edible Gardening? Well, here are some ways to get you started!
What Exactly Is Edible Gardening?
Foodscaping or Edible Gardening is a modern term that refers to the act of modifying your garden in such a way that edible fruits, plants, and herbs can be grown in it. There are countless benefits that can help you out in the short-term and the long run. Note that it doesn’t just refer to planting a few crops like tomatoes or potatoes in your lawn. It’s a way of integration, that is both self-sufficient and low-upkeep.
How to start Foodscaping – aka Edible Gardening?
Here are the steps to get you started if you are a beginner:
- Start little
It’s not the best idea to just convert all of your free garden space all at once. You should try to experiment. Raise one bed when you’re just starting out. See how things go from there, and then add more vegetable beds as time goes by. Eventually when you have the gist of things, you can modify your garden any way you want it to be and grow until your hearts content.
A helping hand is always beneficial, you get more work done and its a great way to build relationships with friends and family alike.
- Observe and Organize
Its always good to get started with a good plan, or at least a starting point. There are a few things to consider before you get going, this will help to avoid any disappointment when it comes to your crop. Here are some factors you may want to consider:
● The direction of sunlight.
● The spare time you have for gardening in your routine.
● The foods that you really require and want to grow first.
● The budget you have for your tiny, convenient garden.
● The appropriate space in your lawn
- Find an Alternative Method
If you don’t have a huge backyard, alternatives like patios and decks work just fine. Since these areas are usually placed get more sun light, they can often prove to be better than the original beds or your lawn.
- Acquire Good Soil!
Soil is the most crucial factor when it comes to Edible gardening in Suburban areas. Its not a good idea to just gather cheap bags of random soil as it will likely lack in nutrients.
Get compost-rich organic soil for your Foodscaping project; it’s beneficial for your plants in the long run and therefore beneficial to you – we are what we eat!
Do your research and buy good quality soil from a reputable source.
- Properties of A Good Soil
You might be wondering what properties make up ‘good soil’, there are a few factors to consider when choosing your vegetable patches soil/medium.
● Free-draining, but moisture-retaining
● Organic matter-rich
● pH 6-7 (neutral to slightly acidic)
● Rich in soil life, such as earthworms.
- Choose the Right Plants/Crops
Select plants that are easy to grow where you live and that are useful to you.
8 easy edible plants to grow:
● Snap Peas: Its seeds can be sowed before 4-6 weeks before the average last frost date in spring and in fall. They require full sun to partial shade in hot climates.
● Radishes: Can be sown 2-3 weeks before the average last frost date in spring and late summer. They require full sun to partial shade.
● Mint: Plant seedlings in early spring or fall, and warm winters. It spreads quickly and requires full sun to partial shade.
● Chives: Plant seedlings before 8-10 weeks before the average last frost date. They take several years to reach their full size, so snip off wisely. They require full sun.
● Mesclun Mix: It is a combination of seeds, planted together to make a salad, like mustard greens and lettuce. They should be planted in 1-2 weeks in early spring and summer. They require full to partial shade.
● Kale: Sow seeds in early midsummer to harvest in winter. They require full sun to partial shades in hot climates.
● Tomatoes: Plant anytime the soil is warm, and there is no danger of frost. They require full sun.
● Courgette/Zucchini: Sow seeds after the last frost date when the temperature reaches 21 degrees Celsius. It requires full sun.
Also, being new to this, you may want to choose crops that are quick to grow. Crops that take way too long may make you lose hope in your skills in growing!
Should You Go for Seeds or Seedlings?
You may quickly want to plant seedlings instead of seeds, but remember that planting seeds is preferred, since they are cheaper, provide healthier vegetables and more variety of them. But you may want to get seedlings for a few plants like mint.
Get Yourself Some Gardening Tools
Tools like gloves, trowel, and weeder save you a lot of mess and help you out a lot. So consider investing some of your money in buying them! However, fortunately, vegetable gardens do not require many tools.
Go for Square Feet
Long, skinny rows of plants are outdated. Growing your veggies and fruits in raised beds with a square-foot method will help them grow more and acquire less space. This technique was introduced in Mel Bartholomew’s book, ‘All new square footing gardening.’ This technique divides crops using a grid.
Look Out for Weeds
Square foot method results in a surprisingly less amount of weeds. Try pulling them out when they’re small, once a week is sufficient. Don’t waste time on straining large dandelions.
Let the Birds and Bees’ In
These pretty animals can help your garden flourish. They act as an essential service in pollinating your garden and surrounding areas. They don’t just increase the beauty of your little heaven, but help plants set fruits. Allowing pollinators into your edible garden will help increase the yield from your crops. They are sensitive creatures, and colorful flowers attract them.
Never forget to label it!
Labeling your crops and spaces will save you from the blunder of sowing an already sown field. Remember to make labels with the crops’ names on them, along with the date of when you planted them. You can make labels with paper, wood or plastic labels, we do not recommend the use of plastic however.
Don’t Give Up Just Yet.
Remember that your crops may fail, this is normal! It’s a learning curve and important to learn from your mistakes. You mustn’t lose hope; you should keep in mind that it is an experiment and that your garden will flourish after some practice.
Successful gardeners spend years making the perfect edible garden, and their effort surely pays off in the end!
Appropriate containers for Foodscaping and Edible Gardening
If you live in suburban areas, you may find a lot of things you can use as alternatives to flower beds/pots around your house. There are many types of containers we use for a lot of thing that are then discarded. Well, the good thing is you can use these for your Foodscaping project!
Some items that double up as great flower bed alternatives are:
● Old bathtubs
● Laundry tubs with holes for drainage
● Old wheelbarrows
● Plastic and terracotta pots
● Large pots, barrels
● Raised garden beds
7 highly Successful Tips For Edible Gardening
When you’re about to start edible gardening, you have likely been looking for some tips and tricks to help you start out. Some nice tricks up your sleeve can help any gardener out! Knowledge will make your work more efficient and improve the quality of it too. Here are a few tips that can improve and enhance your foodscaping project:
- Grow vines on a north-facing wall
- Remove weeds regularly
- Compost most garden materials from your kitchen
- Use organic fertilizers if necessary
- Mulch to conserve water
- Rotate crops every season or every year to retain the soil’s nutrients and prevent diseases
- Use natural remedies / No Chemicals
Perks of Edible Gardening!
You’ll be amazed at the benefits you can reap from this modern technique. Here are the pros of Foodscaping and edible gardening in suburban areas:
- Edible Gardening to Promote Self-Sufficiency
This is the biggest benefit. You won’t have to go to grocery stores again and again for just the basics of veggies and fruits. You can pluck them right off your lawn!
- Edible Gardening Is Economical
Fresh organic vegetables and fruits are costly. Why buy them when they can be quickly grown in your edible garden. Doing this can save yourself some money, it maybe pence at first but it all adds up. For example, chives can be quite expensive, but very economical when grown in your own backyard.
- Edible Gardening Is Key to Healthy Lifestyle
Nothing can beat the healthiness of home-grown crops in the right soil. They will be nutritious for you and your family, and you won’t have to worry about any preservatives or artificial chemicals!
- Edible Gardening Can Uplift Your Mental Health
Working among plants can really soothe your nerves and lift off stress. You will feel a lot better while Foodscaping in your suburban home!
- Edible Gardening can instill Sense of Achievement
Oh, the happiness of plucking your own veggies, that you grew yourself. You will be so happy when you cook your first self-grown crop.
- You Can Enjoy Organic Taste
Crops grown through edible gardening are delicious; they can add flavor to your daily meals.
- Edible Gardens look great
It is one of the biggest perks of edible gardening. Food is not only tasty it will add scenic beauty to your home and your backyard. The pretty birds, butterflies, and bees will enhance the beauty of your lawn. You can add vines or artificial objects too. However, you like it. It’s your garden, your choice!
You’re good to go!
Knowing all these tips and tricks, you’re ready to make an edible garden in your backyard. Its benefits will surely bring a good change in your daily life! It makes things economical, beneficial, healthy, and fun.
If you still have some questions or troubles, please feel free to drop your questions and concerns in the comments section below. I am here to help you.
Written by Fred (The Backyard Farmer)
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