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.
Brie Arthur, gardening expert and author, shares advice on growing foodscape combinations.
Full sun is best for traditional vegetables.
6-8 hours of direct light will ensure that you will have ample harvests through the season.
Some plants will perform in less exposure, particularly leafy greens such as kale, lettuce, and spinach.
Locate your container near a water source. Foodscapes should be moist!
Container combinations get thirsty in summer heat. Pots should also have a convenient spot for harvesting.
One of my favorite areas to display foodscape containers is right outside my kitchen door. I walk past them regularly, have a hose adjacent, and can easily harvest them.
Types of Containers
There are so many different types of containers. Any pot will work!
I love using 5–10-gallon plastic pots. They are large enough to fit 4-7 different plants for dynamic combinations.
Plastic containers are also lighter and less expensive than large glazed and terra cotta pots.
Grow bags are inexpensive and easy to plant.
These fabric bags are permeable, so 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!
Use the soil you are experienced with.
Always mulch your pot with your choice of top dressing. This maintains moisture and eliminates soil splash during heavy rainstorms.
I often use triple shred hardwood mulch, but also recommend pea gravel or well-washed shells.
Ultimately mulch makes foodscape containers look more professional.
Natural fertilizers will lead you to long-term success.
Avoid using a fertilizer ratio that is too strong. It can lead to the plants growing excessively and then succumbing to insect infestations.
Apply fish emulsion or liquid kelp to all containers.
I do this once a month, May – September. It ensures all the plants get the nutrients they need to thrive.
Brie, and The National Garden Bureau, offers tips about insect control, foodscaping through the seasons, types of food, and many more! Visit the NGB website.