Large Growth in Small Spaces

by | Jun 7, 2021 | Associations, Horticulture, Plants

Maximize beauty and bounty without taking up extra space.

Its a trend spreading through the landscaping industry: Foodscaping.

The concept is simple: combine ornamental and edible plants together to make the most of the accessible square footage.

Gardening expert and author Brie Arthur, and The National Garden Bureau,

shared some advice to anyone growing foodscape combinations.


Full sun is best for traditional vegetables. 6-8 hours if direct light will ensure that you will have ample harvests through the season. However, some plants will perform in less exposure, particularly leafy greens such as kale, lettuce, and spinach.

Be sure to locate your container near a water source because you will have to keep your foodscape moist! Through the heat of the summer, container combinations get thirsty. Also, be sure to locate your pot in a convenient spot for harvesting. One of my favorite areas to display foodscape containers is right outside my kitchen door. This is a spot that I walk past regularly, have a hose adjacent, and is easy to harvest from.

Types of Containers

There are so many different types of containers and any pot will work. I love using 5–10-gallon plastic pots because they are large enough to fit 4-7 different plants for dynamic combinations. are the easiest to create combinations.  Plastic containers are also less expensive and lighter to move compared to large glazed and terra cotta pots.

Grow bags are another wonderful option and are inexpensive and easy to plant. These fabric bags are permeable, meaning they drain well and will require regular watering. They come in all different sizes from small 1-gallon bags to 100 Gallon bags.

Soil & Mulch

Traditional potting soil works well for foodscape containers. My recommendation is to use the soil you are experienced with.  After planting be sure to mulch your pot with your choice of top dressing.  This will help maintain moisture and eliminate any soil splash during heavy rainstorms.  I use triple shred hardwood mulch most often, but also recommend pea gravel, and even well-washed shells. Ultimately mulch just makes your foodscape containers look more professional.


As an organic gardening, I recommend natural fertilizers which will lead you to long-term success. One of the main things to avoid with fertilizer is using a ratio that is too strong.  That can lead to the plants growing excessively and then succumbing to insect infestations.

I apply fish emulsion or liquid kelp to all my containers once a month May – September to ensure all the plants get the nutrient they need to thrive.

Brie offers tips about insect control, foodscaping through the seasons, types of food, and many more! Visit the NGB website.


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