Friday, June 17, 2011

Edible Gardens

Re-thinking your garden landscape to harbour plants that produce food vs. ornamentals, is a great way to cut down on grocery costs and support diversity right in your backyard!
Many plants that supply a bounty of edible leaves, berries, fruits, vegetables and flowers can grow successfully in our climate by utilizing containers, raised beds, arbor, and/or planting directly in to the ground soil.

Raised beds are great when dealing with restricted space, also, they allow you to work with less soil and stimulate quick germination/growth through there capacity to warm up faster.

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Containers can be a good way to start your edible garden with easy to grow, smaller plants such as:
chives, lettuce, rosemary, sage, cilantro, thyme, basil, parsley etc.  For larger pots, tomatoes and peppers can be grown successfully.

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When planting in larger raised beds and directly in the soil, keep in mind that by mixing different plant specimens, you can enhance nutrient cycling.  Beans are great nitrogen fixers and help to build and support a healthy garden and nutrient-rich soil. Other plants such as various herbs and marigolds act as natural pest deterents. 
When mixing plants, consider the physiology of the plant. Lettuce, onion, and carrots are different sizes and have different light requirements and thus, grow well together.  The three sisters (corn, squash and beans) is another great plant combination that you may have heard of.

Here is a list of a few of the many edible flowers: clover, carnation, nasturtuim, calendula, basil, lavender, borage, ginger, rosemary, sage, thyme, pansy, and roses.

Different methods of gardening require soil with different properties - ensure that you're using approrpriate soil mixtures or contact Swick's for a garden that fits your needs and home.

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