Nearly a decade ago in the UK Alys Fowler released The Edible Garden book accompanied by a fascinating series about making the perfect edible garden. At the time, it was a quirky gardening programme for enthusiasts of ‘growing your own’ but now, the idea of an edible garden has more relevance than ever before.
Firstly, there are many more plant-based people in the world than there were. There has been a 600% increase in vegans in the US, and 3.5 million UK citizens identify as vegan too. So naturally, that kind of lifestyle along with the huge health fad that also shows no sign of stopping, lean towards a grow your own type attitude to gardening.
Secondly, consumers are more ethically aware than ever before and caring about the planet leans towards growing your own and producing fruit and vegetables that haven’t taken intensive farming, pesticides and flights/shipping to get on your plate.
Last but not least, there is a real appetite for real life experiences that don’t involve a screen. Technology can bring us social interactions, confidence boosts, information, work applications and benefits, and a way to stay up to date on all the latest entertainment and news. But technology can also make us unhappy. So many people are reverting to real life experiences like gardening and growing their own vegetables, to make things simple and to be much more mindful. Not to mention that spending time outdoors is literally endorsed by doctors worldwide as a way to make us feel better.
Are you sold?
Hopefully, you’re considering making your garden at least a little bit edible because there are endless benefits including:
- A sense of satisfaction
- A distraction from everyday life
- Making you spend time outdoors
- Getting you moving
- No fruit or vegetable tastes as delicious as the ones you grow yourself
- Creating more habitats and support for wildlife
- Creating more ways to get essential nutrients into your diet
Already reaching for your gardening gloves? Hold on a second, let us inspire you even further with these amazing edible garden tips:
Create A Blank Canvas
You need to know what you are dealing with first and that involves a little bit of groundwork (literally). You’ll need to clear any spaces with rubble, weeds and plants you don’t want. If you have a large garden you may need to buy equipment such as a diesel generator from Able Sales to power wood chippers and larger power tools. You might even need diggers and trucks to get the job done and should budget accordingly. Alternatively, you could hire somebody to clear it if you need it done quickly. You may also want to do the job in stages and only clear the area you want to use to grow.
Keep Anything Useful
In Australia, gardening has become incredibly trendy with young people seeing how great it can be because of fresh-faced horticultural star Mr Bean. Enthusiasm is great, but it can mean we overlook the basics of what we have because we are too busy looking at what we want. Quickly browsing rare tomato seeds and cool looking fruits, ripping away plants that could actually already provide plenty of great produce, or help to work alongside the produce we want to produce. Have an expert tell you about the types of plants you already have and if any part of them is edible. If it isn’t, perhaps the plant provides shade for veggies you could plant underneath it, or maybe it attracts insects that pollinate the flowers of your fruits. Gardens can take a long time to become established so don’t get rid of anything that could give you a headstart if you can help it.
Replace Your Favourites
Although it might be tempting to grow certain types of fruit and vegetables because they are beautiful or rare, there is no point if you actually don’t consume them much. The best way to plan what you should grow is to look at the most popular veggies and fruits in your trolley, and try and grow that at home. Then you are saving the most money.
Work To Your Ability
If one thing is going to put you off sticking to your edible garden it is trying to go too complex too soon, getting your crops eaten by insects or damaged by the weather, failing and deciding it is too hard. Work to your ability and start simple. Choose fruits and vegetables that are easy to grow such as:
- Green beans
- Bell peppers
Even if you grow one thing well, the experience will inspire you to try more if you enjoy yourself.
Work To Your Climate
Climate has a huge impact on what you can grow and what you can’t. The amount of sunshine you get, not to mention how cold it gets for you, and how much water you are allowed to use will all affect how you can grow. Take a look at these seasonal growing guides to check out what works when in your country:
If You Don’t Have A Garden….
Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. You can grow all kinds in your kitchen, from herbs to full fruit trees and more. Take a look at these resources for more tips on growing your own without an outdoor space:
- How to grow your own veg without a garden (article)
- No backyard, no problem (article)
- 8 vegetables you can grow again and again inside or outside (video)
This cabbage, these carrots, these potatoes, these onions … will soon become me. Such a tasty fact! – Mike Garofalo
Whether you grow one herb or create an entire edible garden, gardening will take on an entirely new level of pleasure for you once you make your own produce. At the very least you’ll be saving yourself a bit of money, and at most, you will carve out an entirely new, productive hobby for yourself that provides delicious food for you and your family.