Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Tips to Get Started with Edible Landscaping

Does the alarming effects of global warming scare you? Do you want to play your part in conserving the environment and negate the effects of global warming? If your answer is ‘Yes’ for these questions, you should consider edible landscaping.

Edible Landscaping – Way to Go Green

You can plant fruit trees, vegetables and berry bushes to create a balanced and aesthetic landscape that lets you enjoy a bountiful harvest. The design layouts for an edible landscape use common landscape design principles, while keeping the aesthetic standards of the particular residential neighborhood in mind. Edible landscapes conserve soil, energy, and water, thus helping you go green.

Getting Started

According to landscaping experts, several factors need to be considered to create edible landscapes successfully.
  • Examine the Landscape: The first step is to take stock of your landscape and decide which existing features would be done away with or preserved. For example, you can remove a decaying hedge while preserving a beautiful flagstone path or a shade tree. To determine the suitable location of edibles to grow, you should also note the areas receiving a shade or full/half day of sun.
  • Make a Blueprint: To assess different choices for your edible landscape design, you can draw a scaled map of your property. Usually, it’s advisable to plant annual vegetables closer to the house in areas that receive the maximum sunlight. Fruit trees should be planted where sunlight is available in plenty and should not get blocked by tall buildings or big trees. Areas receiving half day of sun can be used for herbs and berries, while shades can be earmarked for seating areas, ornamental plants and water features.
  • Choosing the Edibles: Peas, carrots, spinach, potatoes, broccoli, lettuce and carrots are ideal vegetables to plant for the cold season while tomatoes, cucumber, squash-pumpkins, beans, melons, sweet corn and peppers are fit for the warm season. For herbs and perennials, you can take your pick from oregano, thyme, parsley, rosemary, chives, sage and artichokes – just to name a few. For vines and berries, you can choose from blueberries (Misty, Berkeley, Bluecrop etc), kiwi (Vincent Female, Tomuri Male), berries (raspberry, blackberry etc) and grapes (Delight Seedless, Black Monukka Seedless, Suffolk Red Seedless etc). You should choose the edibles based on how the specific climate of the region/different areas of the property affect their growing requirements. In case you plan to attend to your garden only on the weekends, it’s better to stay away from the annual vegetables that require daily attention.
  • Have an Aesthetic Plan: Edible landscapes need not be boring or sport a monotonous color palette. You can mix and match different elements to make it visually appealing. For example, you can use ornamental edibles in the foreground (such as the colored varieties of lettuce), while opting for tomatoes with a coarse look in the background. Planting annual flowers and annual vegetables with similar growth habits and a varied color palette, or using a row of perennial flowers as a border in the foreground of a row of fruit trees are other ideas worth considering.
Landscape experts suggest that for any edible landscape, the ideal way is to start small. If you opt for a small and simple edible landscape, you can easily maintain it. Once you are comfortable in maintaining and preserving this small patch of edible landscape, you can plan to extend it to other areas of your garden.

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