Create a Visual Garden Treat in Your Landscape with an Edible Garden
It is no longer the rule that edible plants have to be separated in your landscape. Fruits, vegetables, and herbs can now be incorporated into your other plants and shrubs to create a visual garden treat in your yard. There are few principles to follow so you have a beautiful landscape with gorgeous edibles.
The Landscape Expert can provide you with information on plants that will grow well in your area. We also have access to numerous varieties that will grow in different soils and sunlight to fill any type of landscape. Here are examples of how you can create an edible garden on your property.
What is an Edible Garden?
Southern California provides you with a unique area to grow an edible garden. A garden that offers you fresh fruits and vegetables ready to be placed on your table. These are fruits and vegetables you grow right in your backyard, mixed into the beauty of your landscape that go from the vine to the table with the help of your green thumb.
The climate in Southern California ranges from desert-like conditions to those found in the Mediterranean with summers that are warm and dry. Rain is infrequent so it can be challenging to grow an edible garden during the warm days. Overall; however, the climate in Southern California is fantastic for producing a large variety of vegetables and fruits for your edible garden.
Edible gardens can range from containers filled with your favorite table vegetable such as a tomato to large patches included in your flower beds. You can even disguise your edibles within your other gardens if you don't want others to think of it as a vegetable garden. Basil and Fennel are great tasting herbs you can blend right into front yard garden, and no one can tell they are edible plants.
Other edible plants that will beautifully blend into other foliage are the artichoke and sage. The artichoke is a beautiful vegetable, and even if you don't want to eat it, you will love the ornamental feature it will give your garden. Sage grows in mounds with gray leaves and is a Mediterranean perennial, so it works well in Southern California.
Why is an Edible Garden Important?
People are rediscovering the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables. While the Farmer's Market idea has taken off across the country, it is still an advantage to have your own garden on your property where you are able to harvest your own ripe, organic produce. With an edible garden, you eliminate the unknown of purchasing supermarket produce. You remove the exchange of countless hands touching the items you eat, along with the uncertain refrigeration times and if they've been done properly. You also avoid eating something that has gone through numerous transportation exchanges.
Adding Edibles to Existing Plants
If you already have a selection of plants on your property, you can easily add edible plants to those in your flower beds. There may be some in your current garden that don't have the luster you were looking for, and edible plants would be an excellent choice to replace those. Your landscape expert will be able to provide advice on which would make a good change for you.
To spruce up the hedges in your landscape, you should consider blueberry bushes. They have beautiful spring flowers, will give you delicious fruit in the summer, and then provide an exceptional fall color at the end of the season. Other choices for edging your flower beds would include radishes, spinach, or lettuce. These plants can tolerate some shade as they are a cool season plant. Most other edibles do better when receiving six to eight hours of full sun.
Blueberries have become a popular fruit for gardens. There is a bit of a challenge to succeeding with this fruit, but the end result is you have a beautiful, delicious, edible fruit in your landscape.
Check with your local landscape expert to discover the type of soil you have in your area. Blueberries prefer an acidic soil with a ph between 4 and 5. Your local landscape expert may also have advice for you on other products to add to your ground to make it more habitable for blueberries to flourish.
Lettuce is fairly easy to grow. It can be produced in a window box, a container, and looks fantastic tucked in with your flowers. Lettuce is also a fast-growing edible that will provide you with a crop in the spring and again in the fall.
In Southern California, the summer lettuce will taste more bitter than the winter variety. If you still want to have lettuce available to eat from your garden during the summer, choose a heat-tolerant variety and make sure to keep it watered.
In Southern California, you can grow beets during the spring of the year, as well as carrots, and spinach. These plants like level growing areas so they will work well in your flower beds. You can plant them next to your flowers. When planting small vegetable plants, you need to place them next to small growing flowers.
Once you have added the vegetable plants you want, contact your local landscape expert to talk about different mulching ideas to go around your plants. Laying a layer of mulch around all the plants will help blend everything and aid the plants in growing.
You don't have to put your edible plants in the standard straight rows. Most people picture edible gardens being planted in row upon row of plants with all varieties grouped together in those rows. Today you can be much more creative and incorporate your edibles with your other flowering plants and shrubs.
Trees Suited to Southern California and Your Landscape
Nut and Fruit Trees: Nut and fruit trees are also good choices, but you do not want them near your driveway or walkways as the falling fruit will make a mess. It is also best to avoid planting them near your patio or deck as well as their falling fruit can be a problem for foot traffic.
When you select the fruit trees you want, you'll find they will be either balled, bare root or burlapped in a container.
Balled and Burlapped
When you set out to purchase trees, you may find fruit trees balled or burlapped. This method of wrapping is usually done on the larger specimens that are more mature. These trees have most likely been grown in the ground and then dug in the late winter or spring and shipped to your landscaper.
The balled and burlapped trees will be larger and therefore more difficult to handle but have a higher success rate when transplanted. You may also notice the branches have been tied back. The branches are usually tied to prevent damage during the shipping process.
When you are ready to plant your new tree or shrub, your first priority will be to establish its root growth. Check with your local landscape expert about which growth product they would suggest helping new shrubs and trees grow better in new soil.
Bare-Root Trees and Shrubs
A lot of trees and shrubs that are mailed in late winter are still dormant. Their leaves will more than likely have dropped off. The evergreen tree will still be green but are also in their dormant period. These trees will have had their roots cleaned of dirt and soil and will then be wrapped in moist, shredded paper or moss.
Before you are ready to plant, unwrap the roots, and place the plant in a container of warm water. Keep the roots immersed in the water, being careful not to damage them. You want to keep a close eye on the tiny root hairs as they will spearhead the growth in the soil. After the bare-root plant has been planted, you will not have to water as often until you see the leaves begin to show.
Fruit Trees: Fruit trees will make a great addition to an edible garden. You will not only benefit from their shade, but you will also enjoy great tasting fruits. There are several fruit trees you can choose from living in Southern California that will provide an attractive growth and produce showy, beautiful flowers in the spring and bear delicious fruit in the fall. These are some of the varieties that will do best in your climate.
The Avocado is a favorite tree in Southern California as they are attractive and hardy trees. They will provide you with a thick canopy as well as a delicious fruit, privacy, and shade. There are two avocado varieties which exhibit different flowering patterns. Having both of these will give you the best possible fruit set.
The Fig Tree grows well in Southern California, but you will have the most success with the Brown Turkey variety. These trees grow from fifteen to thirty feet tall when you plant them in full sun with well-drained soil. The form of the Fig Tree is attractive and will add visual interest to your edible garden.
In Southern California, the Persimmon will grow twenty to forty feet tall. This is a handsome tree with beautiful bark that will provide you with large quantities of fleshy fruits. If you want a tasty fruit, you will want to plant the Fuyu Persimmon as it will produce delicious fruit without the many tannins.
The Meyer Lemon is a beautiful choice of fruit tree for Southern California. This tree is part mandarin orange and part lemon, giving you fruit that tastes like a low-acid lemon. You are actually able to eat this fruit with the peeling, and it will give your landscape a pretty bushy growth.
Another citrus fruit that grows well in Southern California is the Grapefruit. These trees are especially suited for coastal areas like Long Beach, Santa Monica, and Malibu. Grapefruits can be a bit challenging to grow, you should check with a local landscape expert for advice on which variety will work best for your area.
How Can a Landscape Expert Help You Maintain Your Edible Garden?
Another citrus fruit that grows well in Southern California is the Grapefruit. These trees are especially suited for coastal areas like Long Beach, Santa Monica, and Malibu. Grapefruits can be a bit challenging to grow, you should check with a local landscape expert for advice on which variety will work best for your area. How Can a Landscape Expert Help You Maintain Your Edible Garden? Landscaping experts are here to provide you with tips on planting, beautifying your landscape, trimming and gardening, and more. They have the experience and knowledge of the area and know which plants and trees work best in your soil type and sunlight exposure. They are able to help you with edging your flowers and trees with edible gardens to enhance your landscaping.
Consider creating a cluster of pots around your pool, or deck area with edible plants inside them. Mixing herbs and vegetables with flowers for colors will set off your selections wonderfully. Tomatoes are one of the top picks by Southern Californians according to the giant seed catalog. Others that follow in the favorites list are the cucumber, squash, and peppers.
Squash is a vine vegetable so where you plant this will have to be selected carefully. You do not want vines growing in your traffic areas as they could cause people to fall. Squash could also choke out other plants so it will have to be planted with care. Contact a landscape expert for advice on whether squash will work for your edible garden.