Edible Gardening

Planning

edibleFirst, what do you hope to grow? If you just want a simple herb garden, you may be able to do that in a small container garden indoors, on a windowsill or another brightly lit space.

If you’re planning something a little larger, you could try an outdoor container garden. Or if you’re thinking really grand, you may want to dedicate some of your lawn space.

Preparing

Once you’ve selected your location, it’s time to prep your garden. Once you’ve selected a container or built the bed, you simply fill it with a high-quality garden soil or mix in some soil amendments.

If you select an in-ground garden, be sure to work soil amendments into the soil. You may choose to create your own soil additive by creating a compost. Providing additional living micro-organisms is a very healthy recipe for your garden soil. A compost starter can help increase micro-organisms in the compost to speed up the composting. To maintain a healthy growing environment year-round, mix compost into your soil every spring and fall.

Planting

Your edible garden will benefit tremendously from fertilizers. When planting, mix granular fertilizer into the planting holes or work it into the soil in your entire bed. For an extra boost, especially when your plants are young and growing quickly, apply a liquid fertilizer every 1 to 2 weeks.

Using landscape fabrics at planting will reduce weeding and allows nutrients and water through to the soil to enhance root growth.

Tending

As your plants grow and produce fruits and vegetables, they will consume a good deal of nutrients from the soil. Over the course of the growing season, you should replenish those lost nutrients with fertilizers. During periods of rapid growth, while the plants are young, liquid or water-soluble fertilizers work great because the nutrients penetrate the soil immediately for rapid uptake through the roots. These fertilizers should be applied every 1 to 2 weeks. As your plants mature, switch to either organic granular fertilizer, organic fertilizer spikes, or traditional fertilizer spikes. Both of these provide time-release food for your plants and don’t require application as frequently as liquid fertilizers.

Regardless of fertilizer type, be sure to follow package instructions for application dosage and frequency. Over-fertilizing can do more harm than good.