Edible landscaping is one of the best ways to be sustainable, providing food for family and even friends, if you grow enough. And often, it is a feast or famine, when it comes to growing certain types of vegetables. Cucumbers, pumpkins, tomatoes and many other delicious garden vegetables produce lots per plant. Just remember to grow what you like most and you’ll never feel your hard work has been in vain.
An edible landscape can be as simple as growing a fruit tree. Pick your favourite fruit, but make sure it suits your climate. Citrus trees are popular because they have two harvests per year instead of the one found with other fruits such as apples. Plus, lemons and oranges can be used in any number of delicious ways.
However, if you have room and the energy, growing a vegetable garden can result in any number of yummy delights and the kids will find eating them raw as delicious as having them cooked. Packed with all kinds of nutrients, vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet.
While raised garden beds have become popular, they do have a few drawbacks; –
- They dry out quickly because the water drains down and out, so you’ll be using more water than a flat bed would take.
- They are difficult to get up on and dig, when the soil needs a good going over.
- Soil often becomes hard in raised bed, especially a small one that dries out quickly.
- If you allow kikuyu or couch grass to grow up into them from the bottom it’s almost impossible to get rid of it.
- The nutrients in the soil wear out quickly and it needs to be replaced, unless you can organise yourself to grow plants that replace the nutrients. These plants may not be edible and sometimes need to be dug into the soil.
However, it is not that difficult to dig up a corner of the back yard to plant some vegetables in. In fact, you don’t have to dig if you lay down thick layers of paper or cardboard, cover it with extra thick layers of grass clippings and top with cow or horse manure. Leave it until it has all been eaten by garden worms, then push vegetable seeds into the damp soil. This works best with larger seeds such as corn, tomatoes, beans and peas.
Encourage the children to help out with the gardening. They’ll be excited to see the plants pop up with beans and peas germinating quite quickly in their season. They will also love to pick the produce and eat it raw, after washing it under the tap. It’s a great way to get them eating healthy foods, ensure they exercise and have plenty of fresh air and sunshine, something that all kids need.