Edible Landscaping: The Artistic Way to Grow Crops

How to start edible landscaping in your own lawn.

Here’s why you should start learning edible landscaping.

Nowadays, many people suffer from lifestyle diseases due to the food they ate. While others have the access to fresh vegetables like those people in rural areas, people in urban areas seldom have these opportunities. One author wrote;

To many of those living in the cities who have not a spot of green grass to set their feet upon, who year after year have looked out upon filthy courts and narrow alleys, brick walls and pavements and skies clouded with dust and smoke- if these could be taken to some farming district, surrounded with green fields, the woods and hills and brooks, the clear skies and the fresh, pure air of the country, it would seem almost like heaven. – The Ministry of Healing, 191, 192 (1905).

This article I want to share with you is how to grow your own crops even if you don’t have enough land area. This idea of planting and growing crops is becoming a need especially to those who are health conscious.

We can’t just rely on the vegetables we buy in the market since we do not know how it were produced.

According to Ellen G. White

The Lord desires His people to move into the country, where they can settle on the land, and raise their own fruit and vegetables, and where their children can be brought in direct contact with the works of God in nature. Take you families away from the cities, is my message. Selected Messages 2:357, 358(1902)

Healthy is Wealth!

For health conscious people, I am pretty sure that you wanted to get away with those chemicals in their food. That is why organic and natural farming is becoming the trend in farming today.

But again, for people who have no large area to grow there crops, is the answer.

This is one of the ways where we can have a sustainable lifestyle. A lot of sustainable living practitioners are focused on solar energy to have an eco-friendly house, which is also very good idea. But in this article, I would like to focus on edible landscaping for sustainable urban development.

By the way, this post is inspired by the two training’s I attended about edible landscaping. First in Cagayan de Oro City, and in Babatngon, Leyte.

Both of the training’s were organized and facilitated by Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Agriculture Research. The photos in here are taken from the presentations and also from actual field demonstration.

Glad to say that I was blessed by this activity and it gave me more knowledge on how to have a sustainable lifestyle.

It is what we really need in today’s overly populated world.

What is edible landscaping?

Photo: EL-UPLB Taken from powerpoint presentation (Sanchez 2013)
Photo: EL-UPLB
Taken from powerpoint presentation (Sanchez 2013)

Edible Landscaping is a new approach that merges science and creativity together to form a revolutionary crop production technology. It gives a twist in the conventional crop production as the basic tenets of landscape designing become its guiding principle (Powerpoint presentation- Sanchez et al 2013)

This is just among the few simple ideas to make our society sustainable as you may read in here.

To start your edible landscaping;

Survey the area.

edible landscape survey area
Photo taken during the actual survey demonstration of participants of Edible Landscaping Seminar, EVIARC, Babatngon Leyte

Get a pen and paper and go outside.

Look at the area (your lawn) where you plan to have your edible landscaping.

Draw the area or location and put landmarks in your paper such as what currently exists.

This is needed so that in the design phase, you know already what needs to be done.

You don’t need to be a professional architect or landscaper.

Just get yourself a measuring equipment to know the perimeter of the area.

Edible landscaping gives primacy to the use of vegetables and herbs as major softscape materials as substitute for the ornamental plants that are normally used in conventional landscaping (Powerpoint presentation- Sanchez et al 2013) .

With this, you need to know some of the elements and principles of design which you may have learned already in your school.

Don’t worry about how to go about it because there are many tutorials and free ebook that you can download about the principles of design.

You might want to look this slideshow below to know what I mean.

[slideshare id=30520900&doc=principlesofdesign-140128005836-phpapp01]

Now that you know the principles of design, you can proceed with the next step.

Three major phases in Edible Landscaping.

Design Phase

In designing your landscape, please make sure that it is really what you wanted because once it is set up, this will be your final output and if you plan to change it later on, you will then need more time and effort to do it again.

Remember that whatever you plant in that area could be final and its permanent. So, make sure your decision is right in planting those, as this will be forever or else you will be wasting your time in removing again what you planted.

This will cost you more time and money.

So, as a piece of advice. Make your design the way what you really want.

After that, get an ice cold juice to relax your mind and body and get ready for your next job.

By this time, you may have the idea of what plants you will plant.

Do you?

But don’t be in a hurry, the plants that you will need in edible landscaping depends on your location.

You need to know what are the appropriate plants that is suited in your area. Don’t forget where the sun rises or sun sets, because this is important for plants (very self explanatory) which is why you had a survey first.

Draw a bubble diagram showing which part of the area you wanted to grow your crops.

bubble diagram EL

If you have done that, its time to play with your drawing.

Go back to your principles of design and make your planning.

First, draw your design in a piece of paper using  colored papers and cut it out to suit your style.

Just like the picture below.

desiging EL


Having done this, get ready to do the hard work.


Implementation Phase

No pain, no gain.

This phase includes the following steps such as site clearing, laying out, hardscape construction and planting.

It time to put your drawing into reality. Gather your friends and family to help you with this. If you want, you can also hire laborer to work with you.

Don’t forget to bring your sandwich if you are hungry.

Photo from powerpoint presentation of Sanchez et al 2013
Photo from powerpoint presentation of Sanchez et al 2013

You can now build your landscape in your house perimeter with all the hardscapes and softscapes that you want.

Implementing this one needs money, so take time to find old and recyclable materials for your edible landscaping.

Recycled materials is perfect in this type of activity to help save environment.

The picture in your life shows how to use recycled materials in your landscaping design.

Edible landscaping needs time management and patience. Its not like the usual gardening that you can let it grow on its own.

So, the last phase is

Maintenance Phase

In edible landscaping, you need to prune plants to maintain the beauty of the landscape. Its the essence of it.

Photo: Agustin Coquilla, EVIARC
Photo: Lloyd Celeste, EVIARC, Babatngon, Leyte

Water management

Based on our seminar, you need to select for relatively drought tolerant varieties. Use mulching with plastic, leaves, wood chips or old newspaper can conserve moisture. Water in the morning and water long enough to soak roots.

Plants on containers can sit over plates with water.

Pest Management

As an advocate in environmental management and , I agree that we need to reduce the use of synthetic chemical pesticides in your edible landscape.

Because we are doing edible landscaping, we need to be organic as much as possible. Avoid harmful insecticides and pesticides.

Do you know that there are plants that are insect repellents, this is what you will plant together with other plants to minimize the use of insecticides.

To know about the this one, please subscribe to my newsletter for updates.

With this, you can use botanical pesticides. Intercropped onion, garlic and marigold (Tagetes) to repel some types of insects.

Spray a mixture of chili and soap (Perla) solution to control some insect infestation.


When you harvest, have it in staggered so that your landscape maintains its beauty.

Also, prepare in advance seedlings to replace the harvested crops.

Lastly, when you venture into edible landscaping you need to consider also the following.

Things to consider in Edible Landscaping:

  • Time
  • Budget
  • Site Characteristics
  • Sun and shade
  • Maintenance
  • Style

To have a successful and beautiful and nutritious edible landscape, define when you plan to finish your EL, how long will the landscape be appreciated. Define also the cost of your softscapes, hardscapes and the maintenance of your design.

In your EL, it is important to know what is the climate, soil type, buildings and fences, and materials within the site.

The most useful & efficient landscape design is one that overcomes or modifies the restrictions or limitations of the site and/or enhances & protects the good points or character of the area. (Powerpoint presentation Sanchez et al 2013).

Another important aspect in EL is to know whether you have a high or low maintenance type of EL according to your budget.

When it comes to the presentation of the design. Choosing whether formal (straight lines, near-perfect symmetry, usually high maintenance) or informal gardens (gentle curves, less rigid or no balance, less maintenance) is also necessary. (Powerpoint presentation Sanchez et al 2013).

Do you have questions about edible landscaping?

Post your comment and subscribe to our Newsletter. See you and enjoy landscaping!

To a  better  world!



Edible Landscaping: The Artistic Technique of Food Crop Production: Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., Bryan V. Apacionado, Maria Charito E. Balladares, and Norma G. Medina, Ryan Rodrigo P. Tayobong Crop Science Cluster, College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), College, Laguna 4031 Philippines.

Paper presented in NOMIARC and EVIARC during Edible Landscaping Seminar Workshop 2013.

Photos were also taken from the presentation.


Best Practices on How to achieve SDGs from a developing world: PAEPI International Conference Experience 2016

With the onset of Goals (SDGs), Philippines adheres the four dimensions of sustainable development to achieve the basic needs of the present without destroying the future. These are the economic, social, environment and good governance. By 2030, all participating countries should have ended poverty in all its forms.

In connection to this, the Philippine Association of Extension Program Implementers, Inc. (PAEPI- Global) recently hosted 3rd International convention and annual convention themed:

“Literacy Programs: Approaches, Strategies and Practices toward Holistic and Sustainable Community Engagements”

This was held at Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman, Quezon City with participants from different schools across the Philippines shared there best practices in implementing extension programs through different approaches. The convention was also attended by its partner agency Tennessee Renewable Energy Council (TREEDC).

PAEPI International Convention
3rd International PAEPI participants with guest and visitors from TREEDC.

Some of the participants includes University of Rizal System, Northwest Samar State University, San Beda College, Philippine Normal University, Central Mindanao University, and Romblon State University. (Sorry if I forgot to mention other SUCs).

The conference had two plenary speakers who both successfully  shared insights on literacy and how it affects sustainable development and people empowerment.

Nowadays, its is very important that people should be literate not just through reading and writing but also on how to comprehend and deal with other people.

Prof. Brent Jones shared that teachers should encourage students to internalize the lessons in the class. What I learned from his presentation was, “to be an effective teacher: we should know the level of understanding or comprehension of the students, and provide the necessary intervention to it.”

From a Flow Theory, if a teachers fails to know the level of understanding (IQ level) the student will either be bored with the topic because they are fast learners or students may have a problem on digesting the topic because they are below average.

Please follow the presentation below to know more about the flow theory he was referring to.


The international conference continues with parallel sessions with four categories: Livelihood and Business, Education, Technology and Health and Environment.

Papers presented were scrutinized to have a best paper in each category based on the following criteria:

  • How the project considered the relevant context of its target beneficiaries? (needs assessments, community resources and social milieu)
  • How the project empower its beneficiaries be it transfer of skills and valuable knowledge,  capacity building and long-term personal and social development? (project interventions, strategies and methods)
  • How innovative, effective and relevant the concepts, models and paradigms applied in the project?          
  • How the project improved the quality of life to its target beneficiaries?       (Impact and indicators of success)
  • How sustainable is the program and how it contributes to the attainment of self-reliance for its beneficiaries  (How sustainable is the project and are there Sustainability plans)

According to the PAEPI- Global, Vice President “Everybody wins,” through sharing their best practices in reaching out the communities. As an academician and educators; it was noted that its not about competition, its about extension – extending our help to the communities. But to  have a more fruitful intellectual discourse, still best paper presenters were chosen.

Some of the best practices includes

PAEPI best paper presenter awardee
NwSSU extension coordinators receives certificate for best paper presenter.

Sustainable community development through Participatory Rural Appraisal

Digital Literacy for Barangay Secretaries

Kapit Bisig Tayo : Mess to Riches

Business Management Training-Seminar for Basey Tikog Workers Federation Leaders in Basey, Samar

Community Based Eco-tourism

Strengthening Resiliency of Romblon Rainfed and Upland Rice Farming Communities to

Restoration of Mt. Asog through rainforestation and agrosilvipasture approach in Iriga City

School Based and Holistic approach in fighting against malnutrition in Odiongan Southcentral School

Empowering Calamity Stricken Communities Through I.T. Training programs


The conference ended with big hopes that through sharing of the best practices, planning for publication in journals and linkage, the organization will reach more and achieve more of its goals in the near future.

Well, now that we have 17 Sustainable Development Goals, let us continue to support and extend our best efforts to achieve it through research and extension.

God bless PAEPI- Global!!!

God bless extension implementers!!!

Socioeconomic Indicators of Development in Philippines

What are socioeconomic ?

Okay, I know you are eager to know indicators of development i Philippines.

First, let us define what is an indicator.

Indicators are sets of data, or any mixed and gathered and analyzed for policy making, monitoring and evaluation. It is helpful in making assessments in local and national level.

While socioeconomics (also known as socio-economics or social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity directly or indirectly determines and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how societies progress, stagnate, or regress because of their localor regional economy, or the global economy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socioeconomics

There are different sets of socioeconomic indicators. Every country has different indicators depending on their social condition and to the needs and purpose of use. For example in fishery sector, estimation of socio-economic indicators are different compared to non-fishery sector.

On the other hand, some socioeconomic indicators on development are based in Millennium Development Goals (MDG) which is formulated and signed in 2000  by UN and its 189 member countries for the upliftment of the country’s economic and social well being and to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations.

Photo: UNDP http://www.ph.undp.org/
Photo: UNDP

You can download the UN declaration and the MDGs here.

Indicators can help us classify countries according to their development whether they are Most Economically Developed Country or Less Economically Developed Country.

In the Philippines, there is a socioeconomic tool called Community-Based Monitoring System () which is being utilized by LGUs for monitoring poverty. This monitoring tool is updated every three years in the local level and is also in congruent to the MDGs.

The Community–Based Monitoring System (CBMS) Network is part of the Poverty and Economic Policy (PEP) Network supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada through its Globalization, Growth and Poverty (GGP) Initiative, and by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Please read the full article of CBMS here.

Some of the helpful data that we can extract from this tool are the following.

1. Poverty maps (provinces, cities, municipalities, barangays and sitios/puroks)
2. Tables and graphs of Core Local Poverty Indicators (CLPIs) such as below poverty and food threshold, no access on sanitary toilet facilities, no access to safe water, not attending school, maternal health, who are squatters and others which are disaggregated by gender, household, purok and Barangay.

Based on the CBMS monitory tool, we have the following indicators

  1. Demography

  2. Health and Nutrition

  3. Housing

  4. Water and Sanitation

  5. Basic Education

  6. Income and Livelihood

  7. Peace and Order

Socioeconomic Indicators of Development in the Philippines

Generally, socioeconomic indicators for includes the following.

GDP per capita

GDP per capita is the total value of (final i.e. not intermediate) goods and services produced within a country divided by the total population. 5.2% gdp growth for the 1st quarter

GDP estimates from WB $284.6 billion as 2014. (http://data.worldbank.org/country/philippines)

GNP per capita

Life Expectancy

The life expectancy at birth for females born in the Philippines from the year 2005 to 2010 is 71.64 years. Derived from the 2000 Census-based projections, this projected life expectancy at birth for females is longer by 5.53 than the life expectancy at birth for males which is estimated at 66.11 years.

According to UNICEF, life expectancy at birth (years) 2012 is 68.5 years.

Literacy Rates

Philippine Statistics Authority classified literacy into two:

Basic Literacy refer to the ability of a person 10 years old and over to read and write with understanding a simple message in any language or dialect.

Functional literacy refers to the ability of a person 10 to 64 years old who can read, write, compute and comprehend.

Other socioeconomic indicators of development.

Infant mortality
People per doctor
Capital Investments
Real Wage
Disease Indicators
Stress Levels

Meanwhile, the Philippine Minimum National Social Data Set (PMNSDS) also has a set of indicators based MNSDS endorsed by UN Statistical Commission to all member countries and is updated quarterly by National Statistical Coordination Board.

1. Population estimates, by five year age group and sex
2. Life expectancy at birth by sex
3. Infant mortality per 1000 live births
4. Child mortality per 1000 live births
5. Maternal mortality per 100000 live births
6. Contraceptive prevalence rate
7. Average number of years of schooling completed by sex
8. Persons per sleeping room
9. Access to safe water
10. Access to sanitation
11. Monetary value of the basket of food needed for minimum nutritional requirement
12. GDP per capita in pesos
13. Average income per capita of families by decile group
14. Unemployment rate by sex
15. Employment- population ratio by sex

Below is a presentation of indicators of development.

Reliability of Indicators

Like many of data gathered from national and local level, realibility of such data depends heavily on the enumerators skills and the implementers of survey. While data may speak of what is going in the community level, it is useless if data gathering is carried on haphazardly and with a vested interest of the data user.