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Creating An Edible Garden In Your Back Yard

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Creating an edible garden in your home back yard in the city or in the suburbs can give you both natural beauty and a renewable food supply. Most people when they think of back yard gardening think of a vegitable garden. That is just one possibility but it is also possible to go beyond that with a no till edible landscape. No need for raised beds and no need for irregation / watering after you have established quality perrenial plants suitable for your climate. Different plants make sense in different climates. In Western Oregon Plants will grow that might not do as well in Southern California and vice versa. In Southern California you can grow semi tropical and sub tropical plants including Avocados and Lemons right in your back yard. In Most of Oregon you would need a green house to do that properly. Plant selection is local and based on what you find out can be grown in your area.

Things You Will Need

You need basic garden tools and some research in what will grow in your area. For a no till easier to care for set up it is important to select plants for your area that might not require a lot of extra watering in the dry seasons and plants that only require that you break the soil once to establish them instead of needing to till the soil annually or semi annually. No till farms are probably the most sustainable that there are if that is an objective. Sustainability is over rated as a concept because no till agriculture is an extremely ancient practice. It helps to get a garden book for your area or at least look up plants that are suitable for your area on the internet. The next thing you need is space. It is a mistake not to give your plants the space they need from the beginning. If you buy too many plants and plant them too close together they will not produce the kind of edible landscape you are hoping for. If you have limited space in your back yard, side yard ,front yard , think of specializing with just a few types of edible plants you will most enjoy eating in season and don't try to have everything grow in the same small place. Plant guides and nursery staff people can look up how much space is required between each plant you buy so you can concentrate on planting the best stock you can buy even if it is a bit more expensive than cheaper planting stock. The yields you will get will pay for the more expensive nursery stock quickly although it might take up to 5 years to establish some plants.

In Southern California , as one example you can get plants that include edible cactus and citrus plants , avocados and then also more traditional fruits that include peaches, pears, apples, almonds, asperigus, macadamia nuts, and more. Depending on how much irregation you have or a sprinkler system you can consider growing more water demanding plants. It is also possible to plant various kinds of grapes suitable to the climate.

In Oregon you can consider growing persimmons, chestnuts, walnuts, pears, apples, cherries ,blue berries, strawberries, herbs, grapes, wine grapes, rasberries, black berries plums and a lot more choices. When it comes to having a persimmon tree you might need more than one for them to pollinate. Again check the internet or a garden book. With Chestnut trees it definately takes more than one for pollination. Chestnut trees require extra space as do walnut trees. They may need at least 40 ft between each tree unless you want to create a forest likek grove but this will reduce yield. Yield is the thing you really want with an edible garden. Blue berry plants are beautiful shrubs but they require direct sunlight so you dont want to plant them too close to treest that eventually will grow over them and cast a shadow. Taking all aspects present and future into consideration can make your edible garden design not only as beautiful as a purely ornimental garden but productive in food value production. Edible gardnes are different in different climates. In Oregon you can consider growing kiwi and thesed might not grow in Southern California but there you can actually grow some kinds of dates, pestashios, and you can get grafted trees that bear oranges, lemons , limes, grapefuits all from the same tree trunk. Those grafted trees can save you garden space. In More inland climates that are both hotter and colder than the west coast there are other considerations and different plants to get. People on the east coast used to enjoy planting concord grapes, apples, pears and more. Be aware that growing fruit trees might require that they be regularly pruned. If you don't want to prune in the future too often don't buy the wrong kind of trees. Do your research in advance or you can actually hire a consultant with experience or ask too many questions at your local nursery. I have experimented with edible gardening/ and edible garden design for a great many years learning tricks and mistakes not to repeat and I could write volumes on how to do it. The simple advice I can give is to do your research in advance for each kind of plant you want based on what you like to eat most that will grow in your area with the least possible work and maintenance. To get odd plants you might have to go to catalogs most of which are not accessible online. Googling edible gardening might give you some leads or in your local area or nearby, you may find farm / feed stores where you can find out where farmers might be able to get starts for special no spray trees suitable for your area or rare harder to find plants like commerical grade almond trees or pastashio trees. If you have room to plant than calculate how many different things you can grow given the space and then work on making a design that is as good looking as a totally ornimental garden.

Researcg is the best place to start. It pays to grow things you like to eat and food that is expensive to buy. It also pays to buy the best starts you can that cost more than others because of quality. Buying no spray fruit trees saves a hassle of dealing with noxious pests later and the fruit is better. Research what happens to plants over the winter to help you design the garden. Blueberries loose their leaves and can turn brilliant red in fall as one example. Mixing in some ornimental plants can help you screen out neighbors and the wind. It is possible to grow grapes and other edible fruit producing vines instead of hedges or over ugly fences between the your yard and the neighboring houses. All are considerations and don't forget the mess trees make. An example is Ginko Trees. Part of the fruit is edible but come autumn they are a tree that makes a horrible mess and the fruit is surprisingly bad smelling. Chestnut trees make a horrible mess. Research in advance can help you make a plan you are ready for. Dont just go shopping and find out what happens ten years later. Think your edible garden out in advance to make it an asset to the property and not a laibility or a future monster that takes over. know what you will need to prune, water, fertilize in advance and how to do it and then limit your selections to the amount of suitable space you have and how much water for irregation you want to use. Chestnut trees are an example of a tree that can be perfect for no till gardening because they have deep tap roots that find underground water so in the right location no irregation will be required except for the first few years to get the trees established. Dont plant anything that needs to be brought inside in the winter or covered over with straw in your climate to survive a winter. Don't buy plants that won't survive the hot summer months in your area either. Specializing in just a few types of favorite food plants in your home garden makes more sense than growing everything. You can trade better foods you growo for foods your neighbors grow and then all the plants have better spacing in the neighborhood. You can also mix and match and have something that produces fruit for each month's harvest or sometimes you can grow something like a lemon tree that is ever bearing. A nursery can point you out to the ever bearing plants in your area.

Tips & Warnings

Just do the research in advance before doing any impulsive planting. After you research what you want to plant research how to plant those plants and now to maintain them. Planting plants is just the beginning . You need to know in advance how much future work will need to be done both to establish the plant in your yard and then to maintain it in it's maturity as a big plant that may start taking over with out care and possible pruning. The key thing is garden design from the beginning. having an edible garden can be just a good looking as a designed landscape as a completely useless ornimental garden. It helps to look at some garden design books in advance to see what is possible before getting started. Make a picture of your lot and use it to map out your gaden in advance taking consideration of the space, the spacing and the types of plants at each location. A good quality no till edible landscape will not only add value to your home it will provide a long term food source. Be careful to consider how you will need to harvest the fruit and nuts in advance. you dont want to be climbing ladders to get apples which is why you research dwarf trees and how to prune taller ones in advance before ever planting.


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