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.

Harvesting

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!

 

Reference:

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.