Information About Edible Gardens

There is nothing better than growing edible gardens and enjoying the “fruits” of our labor. Here you will find a range of growing tips for edible plants, everything from classic herbs to your favorite fruits and vegetables. Whether you are just starting out or an experienced gardener, you are certain to find just what you’re looking for when it comes to edible gardening. Discover how to grow edible plants from beginning to end with gardening information that covers it all including design, preparation, planting, care, harvest and more.

Designer Jamie Durie’s Tips on Growing an Edible Garden

Growing your own edible garden will benefit your body, your mind, your spirit, your tastebuds, your kids, your wallet and the environment.

Jamie Durie talks us through some great tips and ideas to get you inspired.

Jamie’s book Edible Garden Design is one of Jamie’s 11 best-selling books and was published in both Australian & US editions. Other favourite books by Jamie include: 100 Gardens, Jamie Durie’s The Outdoor Room, Outside with Jamie Durie, The Source Book Editions 1 & 2, Inspired, Outdoor Kids, The Outdoor Room and Patio—Garden Design). Jamie has recently launched his 12th book title, and his first one on interior design, LIVING DESIGN published in Australia by Penguin Lantern Books.

For the few who are not familiar with Jamie, he began his design business in 1998 and has since won 33 international design awards including a gold medal at the Chelsea flower show in London.

In 2001, the Sydney-born designer made his debut into furniture design when he and his team were asked to design various pieces of custom furniture for several upmarket hotels and resorts first in Spain, with several more in Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

After launching several design collaborations in Europe his furniture his furniture is now retailed worldwide. The Bungalow Armchair in hand woven leather was among many pieces which won awards.

Jamie enjoys creating seamless transitions between the indoors and out. He stands behind this philosophy and having a greater connection to nature in a sophisticated and carefully considered design environment where the furniture takes inspiration from nature.

Edible Landscaping - Edible of the Month: Nasturtium

Bright yellow nasturtium flowers rise above the foliage for a cheery display in the garden.

In the world of edible annual flowers, nasturtiums are one of the tastiest and easiest to grow. Nasturtiums grow quickly from seed and, depending on the variety, can be grown as climbers on fences and trellises or as bushy plants in a window boxes and containers. Although treated as annuals, these fast growing plants are technically herbaceous perennials. In frost-free areas of the South and West they grow so vigorously that many people consider them weeds.

The biggest surprise with nasturtiums is the taste. In Latin nasturtium literally means "nose twist." While most edible flowers have a subtle flavor, nasturtiums knock your socks off with their peppery taste. Plus, it's not just the flowers and buds that are packed with a zippy flavor the young leaves are tender and edible as well. Nasturtiums are popular with chefs and home gardeners because their colorful flowers not only dress up a plate, they're high in vitamins A, C (10 times as much as lettuce), and D.

While there are several species of nasturtiums, most popular varieties are one of two common species. Tropaeolum majus is a trailing type that can be trained to climb. Tropaeolum minus is a bush type. Nasturtium flowers range from pastels, such as pale yellow, to vibrant oranges and reds, and are available in single or double flowers. You can purchase seed mixes that produce plants in a variety of flower colors, or single-color packets. Most modern varieties have been bred so the flowers stand above the foliage, making them especially striking in the garden.

Here are some of the best selections:

  • 'Apricot Twist'. The vines of this trailing variety grow 3 to 4 feet long and the camellia-like double flowers are apricot-orange splashed with raspberry red.
  • 'Empress of India'. This semi-bush selection produces 1- to 2-foot vines and features large, bright scarlet flowers that contrast well with the blue-green leaves.
  • 'Hermine Grashoff'. The vines of this trailer grow 3 to 4 feet long and produce red-orange, camellia-like double flowers.
  • Jewel of Africa mix. This 4- to 6-foot-long trailing mix includes yellow, red, cream, and pink flowers with unique variegated leaves.
  • 'Moonlight'. The vines of this trailer grow up to 7 feet long and produce unusual, pale yellow flowers.
  • 'Night and Day'. This mix produces compact plants with 12-inch vines and flowers in both white and deep red.
  • 'Peach Melba'. This bush variety has cream flowers with a raspberry red throat.
  • 'Salmon Baby'. The flowers on this bush variety are a striking shade of salmon.
  • 'Strawberries & Cream'. This bush variety features flowers in pale yellow with splashes of strawberry red.
  • Tall Trailing mix. The vines of this vigorous trailer grow 8 to 10 feet long. Flower colors include rose, yellow, and orange.
  • Tip Top Alaska mix. The vines of this bush-type mix grow just 10 inches long. Flower colors include yellow, crimson, orange, cherry, and salmon, held above variegated foliage.
  • Whirlybird mix . This bush variety is available as a mix of flower colors, or in separate colors, including cream, salmon, gold, and cherry rose. The flowers are semi-double.

The mounded shape of nasturtiums makes them a nice border plant, and the water lily-like leaves are as edible as the bright flowers.

Nasturtiums flower best in full sun, but still grow well in partly shaded locations, especially in hot-summer areas. They love cool, damp, well-drained soil. If plants begin to flag in the heat of summer, cut them back and they'll regrow and flower again when cooler weather arrives in fall.

Nasturtiums thrive on neglect and don't require rich soil. In fact, if you amend soil with too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer or manure, you'll get lots of dark green foliage and few flowers. In all but the richest soils, amend the planting area by mixing in a 1-inch layer of compost. Plants shouldn't need supplemental fertilizing during the growing season.

Nasturtiums are available in flower colors ranging from the palest yellow to the deepest red.

Nasturtium seeds are large and easy to handle. Sow seeds 10 to 12 inches apart in the garden about a week before the last frost date for your area. Seedlings can also be started indoors, but their taproots make them difficult to transplant. If you do grow them indoors, start them in peat pots. When roots show through the pots' drainage holes, transplant the seedlings, peat pot and all, into the garden.

After sowing, keep the bed well watered and weed-free, and within two months you'll see vigorous growth and abundant flowers. Nasturtiums are relatively trouble-free. Aphids may feed on the new leaves and flowers. Wash these soft-bodied insects off the plant with frequent sprays of water or use insecticidal soap.

Beautiful 'Peach Melba' nasturtium flowers are a delight in any garden or salad.

For salads, harvest nasturtium flower buds, flowers, and young leaves in the cool of the morning when flowers have just opened. The more heat-stressed the plant, the more pungent the leaves and flowers will taste. Gently wash and dry the flowers and leaves and use immediately or store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Although you can eat the whole flower, if the flavor is too strong use only the milder-tasting petals.

You can also use nasturtiums in stir-fries, cook them with pasta, and stuff the flowers. More ambitious cooks can try grinding the seeds to use as a pepper substitute and in flavored oils, and pickling the flower buds or immature seedpods to use as a substitute for capers.

Other great nasturtium stories:

Charlie Nardozzi is an award winning, nationally recognized garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert gardening information to home gardeners through radio, television, talks, tours, on-line, and the printed page. Charlie delights in making gardening information simple, easy, fun and accessible to everyone. He's the author of 6 books, has three radio shows in New England and a TV show. He leads Garden Tours around the world and consults with organizations and companies about gardening programs. See more about him at Gardening With Charlie.

Edible gardening for beginners: Tips to get you started growing your own food

  • Start by observing. Greg Peterson, founder of Urban Farm U (a site that helps people grow their own food) says the first step to help ensure the success of your garden is to get outside and observe. He suggests looking for where the sun and shade fall each day, thinking about where your water comes from, and investigating your soil. Fertile soil needs plenty of organic material, and your garden needs 4 to 8 hours of morning to midafternoon sun.

  • Make a plan. Before you start, do some research and decide what fruits, veggies, and herbs grow best in your area. Plus, do a search for your local planting calendar to make sure you plant the right plants at the right time.
  • Then start small. Begin with a small area, raised beds, or a few pots — and just a handful of crops, and then expand as you have success. Even if your goal is an entire edible yard, starting small will help you learn how to garden and, this way, you won’t get overwhelmed.
  • Grow a beautiful garden. Particularly if you decide to garden in your front yard, other people will see your garden, so you want to be sure to make it appealing, thus building community interaction and reducing the possibility of complaints. It really is simple to mix edible plants with flowering plants to make your space more beautiful and to attract bees and butterflies.
  • Get creative. Think outside fences and rows. Don’t be afraid to experiment as that is how we learn best. If something doesn’t work, try something else. Gardening is a process, so have fun with it.

Also, there are many organizations in the U.S. and around the world that help to inspire people to turn yards into gardens. Here are a few you might be interested in:

  • Food Not Lawns has been around since 1999, with more than 50 local chapters, which you can get involved in or you can start your own near you. These gardeners and activists share food, seeds, tools, land, skills, and other resources with each other in neighborhood-based, friendship-driven communities.
  • Fleet Farming is a project that converts unused lawns, donated by homeowners, to grow food crops. The goal is to reduce the environmental impact of food production through a pedal-powered, hyperlocal urban farming model that creates a culture of health and vibrant ecosystems. People travel on bicycles to seed, harvest, and keep up the crops, and then the food is sold at a local market. Homeowners can also keep a percentage of the vegetable crops. The group has also constructed raised cedar beds for people who want to grow and maintain gardens themselves, including at schools and communities in the Orlando area.

Watch this inspiring short video to see how Fleet Farming works:

  • Farm My Yard is a movement to create easy ways for homeowners to offer their yards for people who want to farm them or grow gardens on them. This could be a good idea if you have land, but you don’t want to grow food yourself. You can print signs from the website, put them up in a visible place in your yard, sign an agreement with the people who want to farm your yard, and then your yard becomes a source of delicious and healthy food.
  • The Food Is Free Project is a community building and gardening project that launched in 2012. The nonprofit teaches people how to connect with their neighbors and line their street with front yard community gardens, which provide free harvests to anyone. Gardens are built using resources that would otherwise go to landfills, and they are built to be low-maintenance. More than 300 cities around the world have started Food Is Free Projects. They have also installed gardens at elementary schools, community arts spaces, churches, and small businesses. You can find or start one in your own community. Here’s a free project guide , if you want to join the #foodisfree movement.

And here’s another great resource to check out : A free collection of top 10 gardening podcasts from Urban Farm U called Master Gardening Made Easy . These are powerful presentations with gardening experts, including Jason Mraz! — all personally conducted by Urban Farm U founder Greg Peterson. You’ll get healthy, sustainable, eco-friendly ways to cut down on your food costs, pointers on every step of your home garden, and much more useful, actionable information. Click here to get access to this offer now .

Finally, the most important thing you need to know about growing your own food is this: Begin.

You don’t have to grow all your own food, or even 10% of it, to plant a tomato or a zucchini or a kale plant, and to reap the benefits of your harvest. The simple act of growing food can be revolutionary for you, and can make a powerful difference for your family’s health, and for our planet.

If this article has inspired you, we hope you’ll share it with your friends and your network. And if you have any inspiring projects, ideas, or tips for growing your own food, please share them in the comments, so we can all learn from each other and work to create better food systems.

Do you have any tips or resources about edible gardening for beginners to add to this list?

Watch the video: Edible Landscaping - How to Create a Foodscape

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