How to Create an Edible Garden
For several years there has been a growing trend for people to grow their own food within their gardens or allotments.
If you are considering joining the many gardeners up and down the country who are already growing their own, then you’ve come to the right place.
In today’s article we are going to be looking at the benefits of edible gardening and also supplying plenty of tips to help you create your very own edible garden.
Fortunately, you don’t need loads of space to create an edible garden.
Whether you’ve got acres of land, a small inner-city garden or even just a balcony, you’ll still be able to grow your own fruit and veg.
In fact, even if you don’t have a garden at all, it’s still possible to create an edible garden. All you really need is a windowsill that will receive some sunlight throughout the day, that you can put plants on.
Let’s start by taking a look at some of the benefits you can enjoy when you have your very own edible garden.
What are the Benefits of Edible Gardening?
There are many fantastic reasons why you should start your edible gardening journey today.
For many people, growing their own food is an extremely rewarding experience. Nurturing edible plants, all the way from sowing the first seeds to harvesting the first crop, is very fulfilling. As a bonus, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour by having lots of delicious organic food to tuck in to.
It is also good for your health, and in more ways than one.
Getting outside in the fresh air and undertaking gardening tasks is a good way to get more active and exercise more.
Gardening can be a very therapeutic experience and is a great way of helping you to relax and reduce stress levels.
Eating lots of fresh, organic fruit, vegetables and herbs is also terrific way to increase the amount of vital nutrients you put into your body.
How to Design Your Own Edible Garden
When designing an edible garden, there are several considerations you’ll need to make to help you get the best results.
How much space do you have?
We’ve already mentioned that you don’t even need a garden at all to get involved with edible gardening – all you really need is a window that gets some sunlight. You can place pots on the windowsill or even attach a planter to the outside of the window.
This will give you enough space to grow herbs and leafy greens. This type of edible garden is great to have in your kitchen, as you can easily access your fresh organic herbs whilst cooking.
If you have a garden, then you can dedicate an area specifically for creating your edible garden. Having more space will, of course, mean that you have far more options when it comes to choosing the edible plants that you can grow.
Edible gardens can be raised off the ground using sleepers or bricks, making them easier to access. This is especially useful if you have trouble bending down.
Choose the best place for your edible garden
It’s important that your edible garden will receive plenty of sunlight, as your plants will need it to help them grow, via photosynthesis.
This means that you should choose a sunny part of the garden.
South-facing gardens receive lots of sunlight all year round, whereas north-facing gardens will receive very little – you might need to situate your garden further away from the house in order to find the sunshine.
We’d recommend keeping an eye on the position of the sun throughout the day and noting which areas of your garden receive the most sunlight.
What do you want to grow?
Of course, the most important thing to decide upon is exactly what you want to grow.
Choosing the fruits and vegetables that both you and your family like the most would be the best place to start.
You’ll also want to consider how much time you can dedicate to maintaining your edible garden, as some plants require more of your attention than others.
Skill levels are important, too. If you are new to gardening, we’d recommend starting with something like salad leaves or green beans, which are both easy to grow and require little maintenance.
Lettuces are great because they are fast-growing and can provide a continuous supply of salad leaves for a large part of the summer.
Once you have the basic skills you could try more complicated fruits and vegetables, such as carrots or cauliflowers.
For other types of types of vegetables to grow in your edible garden, click here.
Don’t forget about other types of edible plant, too. It’s not just fruit and veg that can be eaten. Other types of plant, such as dandelions, nettles or chickweed, are also edible and make great additions to your edible garden.
Consider the nature of your soil
Some types of soil are better suited to growing certain types of edible plant than others.
The ideal soil type would be free draining, but still able to retain moisture and nutrients, and be rich in organic matter.
It’s a good idea to test the pH level of your soil, too. This can be done by purchasing a simple pH testing kit. The ideal pH level would be neutral to slightly acidic (pH 6 to 7).
Once you know your soil type, you can choose plants that will thrive in those conditions.
Of course, you can improve your soil by adding in additional organic matter or importing new soil altogether.
What will you use to contain your garden?
When it comes to creating your edible garden, consider dedicating a specific part of your garden solely to growing fruits and vegetables.
You could create a sectioned off area using railway sleepers or bricks. That also allows you to create a raised area, which will be easier to access and prevent you from having to bend down too low.
You could even use an old wheelbarrow or a bath tub to create a quirky planter.
You could then plant out beds to contain edible plants that will give your garden some colour, as well as providing food.
Creating your own edible garden is a very rewarding experience. Being able to grow your own food and use it in your cooking is very fulfilling.
The health benefits of eating fresh fruit and veg cannot be underestimated, and growing them is also a great way of getting some exercise.
Fortunately, creating your own edible garden needn’t be difficult, and you don’t even need much space. A single plant pot on a windowsill can be used to grow fresh herbs.
If are fortunate enough to have a garden, then you may just find that you can grow enough fruit and veg throughout the year to drastically reduce the need to buy from your local supermarket. That’s a triple win – as well as enjoying delicious organic food, you save money and reduce your carbon footprint!
Do you have any tips for creating an edible garden? Then why not leave us a comment below and share your knowledge with the world.