Whether you have ten acres or just a small plot of land, you can make your property work for you through foodscaping. It’s a sustainable approach to gardening without space-consuming rows and a dedicated garden area. Edible landscapes replace things like shrubs, flowers, and bushes with produce growing alongside your ornamental plants to make better use of your space. Not only do you enjoy a delicious harvest of fruits and vegetables, but you also support wildlife and practice sustainability. Here’s a beginner’s guide to foodscaping!
A Deeper Look at Edible Landscapes
Despite a recent resurgence to meet the rising price of produce and the growing demand for sustainability and eco-friendly growing solutions, foodscaping isn’t a new concept. In fact, it had its roots (no pun intended) throughout both World Wars. Called Victory Gardens, they were used to boost rations and reduce the strain on the public food supply. From New York to San Francisco, Victory Gardens were a part of nearly every American’s home.
Edible gardens are once again popping up in many backyards as an answer to rising food prices. Organically grown yard-to-table vegetables and fruits are as beautiful as they are economical and delicious, and perennial varieties will continue to grow year after year with minimal effort.
Choosing Plants for Your Foodscape
Think of the top five or six vegetables, fruits, or herbs that you purchase regularly at the store, and research growing conditions to make sure you can provide them the best opportunity to thrive. A little more research will help you narrow down your plant selection by desired aesthetics, such as the color of the plants, or their height and width. These considerations are the key to planning and arranging your landscape.
Consider planting varieties you find in the wild, like berries and mint. A fruit tree would be a good investment as well; while it may take a few years to bear fruit, it will be well worth the wait.
Now that you’ve chosen your fruits and vegetables, it’s time to plant! Here are a few tips for getting started.
Make a plan for where your plants will fit into your existing landscape. You can organize according to size or color, shade and sun factors, and level of maintenance. Some vegetables and herbs will grow wide and low, making them a great groundcover for sparse areas in your yard while others, such as berries, may grow taller and make an excellent living wall or border.
Compost Your Soil
Give your plants a boost by mixing compost into the soil. You can create your own compost or purchase a mixture, such as Leafgro & Leafgro Gold Compost or Mushroom Soil Compost. This is a great solution if you don’t have the space or time to maintain your own compost pile, and can be bought in bulk or by the bag.
Your foodscape will only be as good as the soil you’re planting it in, so invest in quality screened (fine) topsoil to ensure plants take root and thrive.
This is an attractive addition to any landscape, but it also acts as a form of weed control and moisture retainer. Choose one style and color of mulch and use it throughout your gardens for an aesthetically pleasing, unified look.
Your foodscape doesn’t have to be bland. Add decorative elements, such as sculptures, fountains, benches, and walkways throughout the garden. Add areas of decorative stone for even more dramatic accents.