Planting an edible garden has many benefits, including providing fresh, organic food, while at the same time creating a beautiful, functional environment for your family and friends to enjoy. Edible gardens can also be great educational tools for kids providing an understanding of food and its origins along with enjoyment and exercise. Growing your fruit and vegetables not only saves you money, but freshly grown food is healthier and better for the environment as well! Edible landscaping does not necessarily have to be rows of crops hidden away in your backyard. Edible plants can be incorporated into an aesthetically pleasing landscape, combining trees, fruit, hedges, herbs and ground covers. There is no space too small; edible plants can be grown in small pots or window boxes also. When planning your edible garden, it is essential to consider the usual gardening essentials; how much space you have, how much sunshine the area receives, the condition of the soil and local climate. The exciting part is deciding what you would like to grow and eat! Think about your favourite fruits, vegetables and herbs, consider how much of any given plant you will need, and plan accordingly.
To make the most out of limited space, you can squeeze faster-growing crops around slower growing ones. For example, tomato plants will eventually need a large amount of soil. However, Asian greens and lettuce can grow and be harvested before the tomatoes even know what’s happening! The ideal soil for growing edible plants is very rich in soil life and organic matter or compost, allowing it to drain freely but still retain some moisture and nutrients. If you’re using a free-standing pot, raised bed or container then your drainage is already sorted. When planting hungry plants such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage or kale feel free to add some manure. Root crops such as onions and carrots, however, prefer less fertile soil.
As with most plants edibles generally require 6-8 hours of sun per day, regular watering is essential to make sure not to flood your plants water them consistently.
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