The best time to start preparing for your edible garden is winter.
You can look around and decide where you want to plant new flowers, vegetables, trees and shrubs when spring arrive. Planning will definitely help you to decide on how to design your edible landscape. Here are a few pointers to planning effective edible landscaping.
Plotting Out the Yard
You can plot out your yard on paper. This means that you can have a simple drawing of where your house, driveways, walkways, rock walls, sheds, fences or any other structures are located. Look at the location of your property so as to identify the amount of sun each area gets.
This will assist you in deciding where to place your garden and specific plants. Be mindful however that the position of the sun changes all through the growing season, as this too will affect your growing plants.
Edible Trees for Energy Conservation
Edible landscaping should be done to conserve on energy. The sun and the wind are the most effective way to control energy. You need to find out the direction the wind is blowing from. Winds from the north and west are usually the coldest. So if your yard is open on the northern and western side, you need to plant edible trees and shrubs as windbreaks.
As these plants break the wind your yard will become warmer resulting in your home using less energy. It may be that you don’t have enough room for planting trees as windbreak, but you can plant vines including grape and kiwi.
Planted along the southern side of the house, they’ll provide shade for walls facing south during summer thus minimizing air conditioning needs.
You can have edible landscaping even if your yard is small and space is limited. You can plant blueberries, bush cherries, hazelnuts, rosemary, natal plums, gooseberries – click here to view many more healthy foods you can choose from. However, you should purchase the variety that is best suited to your climatic conditions.
You will also need to provide the plants with an environment that has suitable light and soil if your plants are to grow well.
As time passes, your plants will provide you with food and will help you to conserve on energy. Edible shrubs can be planted a few inches away from the drip line of your roof to keep out the full strength of winter winds. During summer the breeze will circulate and cool the house.
The Yearly Edible Garden
In plotting out your yard for your edible landscape, select the section that is the sunniest with an open space to plant your fruits, herbs like oregano, and vegetables. Many of these plants require a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight each day to maximize their production.
There are some plants though, that will thrive well in 3-4 hours of sun each day and these include spinach, lettuce, greens, rhubarb and leafy herbs.
Furthermore, your vegetable garden can be in different location as you seek to maximize on the different soil conditions and sunlight. You can grow raspberries along a sunny fence, grow raspberries among the flowers in the front of your yard or place a raised bed in a sunny spot beside the house.
If you don’t have enough space, you can plant in containers. With containers you can have a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Small fruits and vegetables like strawberries, eggplants, peppers, carrots, beans and beets can grow in 3-5 gallon size containers. The larger vegetables like squash and tomatoes can be grown in bigger containers but choose varieties that remain small.
Here are a few plants suitable for small spaces.
- Butternut winter squash (Butter bush)- grows to only 20 inches in length, and will yield 1-2 pounds fruits 75 days after seeding.
- Apple (Scarlet Spire Colonnade) grows to a height of 8 feet is 2 feet wide and yields regular-sized apples. Grow two for pollination purposes.
- Golden Bantam, sweet corn- a sweet corn variety that grows 5 feet tall and yields 2 ears on each stalk after 80 days of stalking. Grow in raised beds or large containers.
- Gold Rush, summer squash – a yellow zucchini that yields many fruits 45 days after seeding.
- Tomato (Husky Gold) – remains small at a little over 3 feet, yielding fruits weighing 7 ounces all through the growing season beginning 70 days after transplanting.
- Blueberry (North Country) will grow 20- inches tall and yields small sweet fruits. It needs to be protected during cold winters.
- Little Leaf Cucumber- unlike cucumbers that require pollination this variety is different. The fruits are ready 57 days after seeding. Not susceptible to stress like other varieties.
- Tomato (Window Box Roma) – is a very tiny tomato yielding 2 ounce fruits after 70 days of transplanting.
If you fail at edible landscaping, don’t give up. It is through experimenting that you will know the conditions best suited for optimal plant growth.
So tackle your edible landscaping with enthusiasm as you will be providing yourself with food and conserve on energy.