Edible Landscapes: Beautiful Gardens and Bountiful Harvests
One of the things we love about the Pacific Northwest is the ideal growing conditions that allow for a wide variety of plants to thrive in gardens here. The other thing we love is the ingenuity and creativity in landscape and garden design we see from yard to yard and neighborhood to neighborhood throughout the communities we serve. Over the years our crews and designers at Landscape East & West have seen trends come and go, but one trend we are always happy to see is foodscaping.
Foodscaping, also known as edible landscaping, is more than just building a raised bed or adding a vegetable garden in a corner of your yard. It is a type of landscaping that integrates edible plants, fruits, and vegetables within and throughout an overall design. Just like any other landscape design, a foodscape may include raised beds and containers, trellises and arbors, pathways, and other hardscapes, as well as shrubs, trees, vines, grasses, and ground covers. And while edible plants are the key component to a foodscape, plant selection is still driven by interest, color, and texture, but with the added caveat of taste and potential harvest.
If you are thinking about turning your yard into a foodscape, or even if you are simply wanting to convert a portion of your yard to an edible garden or raised vegetable bed, there are key elements to address to ensure a thriving garden.
Soil Quality – We cannot overstress the importance soil has on plant health – especially fruits and vegetables. You want nutrient-rich soil that will feed your plants and allow them to flourish. The prevailing soil type in most yards locally, however, is dense heavy clay, which is not ideal for growing edibles. The good news is soil can easily be amended with compost, lime, manure, and other additives. Not sure what your soil needs? We have experts on staff who can test your soil and advise you on the amendments your soil needs for the garden you want to grow.
Plant Size – When planning your foodscape, as with any landscape, you need to consider all the requirements a specific plant has in order to grow and thrive. Size is a major consideration. How much space will your mature plantings need when they are full-grown? It is often more than you think!
Sunlight – A minimum of six hours of sunlight is a good rule of thumb for full-sun plants, which is also typical for many types of fruits and vegetables. But not all fruits and vegetables need full sun, and some will actually thrive better in partial sun. So be mindful of plant selection and placement and don’t feel limited to just the sunniest patches of your yard.
Water – The amount of water you give your fruits and vegetables will not only affect the bounty of harvest but can drastically affect the taste. Not all edibles have the same requirements, so be aware of the specific needs of each plant and water accordingly. How you water can make a difference too. We especially like incorporating drip lines to deliver water exactly where it is needed to minimize waste and promote better overall plant health. Irrigation is one of our specialties, so give us a call if you need help with installing a new or expanding an existing system.
Pest Control – The bane of any gardener is unwanted pests. Luckily, there are plenty of products and solutions to help ward off unwelcome guests in your yard. Organic pesticides, horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, iron phosphate (for slugs and snails!), and neem oil are natural solutions that are also safe for pets. Keep in mind the type of pest and the plant itself as each product works differently.
Our crews are well versed in pest control options, as well as proper fertilization, and can help answer your questions. We even offer landscape maintenance programs with seasonal fertilizer and pesticide applications, pruning, and irrigation tune-ups.
Need a little inspiration? We can help you plan and design your garden. Here are some of the foodscapes and edible gardens we’ve helped install and maintain over the years:
You can also check out our tips for creating an edible garden paradise.
Summer is just around the corner, so now is the perfect time to get started on your edible garden or foodscape. Contact us today and let us help you get started with a design that is best suited for your yard and tastes!