Foodscaping: Grow Edible and Ornamental Plants

What you’ll learn:

  • Learn what foodscaping is and how you can create spaces that allow you to enjoy your home garden with virtually all five senses, sight, smell, and taste included.
  • The best approach to properly preparing the soil for foodscaping. 
  • How foodscaping can help discourage garden pests
  • How to find the “perfect” set-up of edible and ornamental plants for your space

A beautiful garden can truly be a feast for the eyes – and with foodscaping, it can satisfy your appetite for homegrown produce as well! With this gardening method, you can enjoy your home garden with virtually all five senses, sight, smell, and taste included.

In this guide to foodscaping, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about this gardening method as practically as it is pretty. You’ll learn exactly which supplies you need to get started, how to encourage a robust crop of edible plants, and handy tips such as:

What is Foodscaping, and Why You Should Try It?

Foodscaping is exactly what it sounds like: incorporating food (in the form of edible plants) into your landscaping. But unlike traditional fruit and vegetable gardens, a foodscape mixes ornamental and edible plants into a single space. 

The key characteristic of a fabulously foodscape garden is about as simple and straightforward as it gets:

An outdoor space that combines both edible and ornamental plants in the same planting area

There are really no limitations on the size and style of a foodscape garden, and you don’t have to have a large amount of free space to get started. Perhaps most importantly, you can start foodscaping simply by mixing edible plant varieties into the ornamental landscaping already in your outdoor area. That could be an expansive front yard, small planters in your backyard, or even a rooftop or balcony area with garden beds or pots – there’s no right or wrong way to go about it.

Foodscaping doesn’t necessarily mean growing every fruit and vegetable you regularly eat; it is all based on enhancing a visually pleasing landscape with healthy produce. There are plenty of benefits to foodscaping, for both the gardener and the garden itself:

  • The option to have multiple produce harvests in a year
  • Less of a need for weed killer or pulling weeds
  • Natural pest deterrent (for example, easy-to-grow garlic discourages pests, including rodents)
  • The ability to make the most of the outdoor space you have

Whether you’re a novice gardener or have had years of successful harvests, foodscaping is a fun new way to keep the experience fresh.

How to Get Started as a Foodscaping First-Timer

Even though foodscaping is a fairly flexible method of gardening, there are still some guidelines that will be useful in setting yourself up for success. With some thoughtful planning and preparation, you’ll be a foodscaping pro in next to no time.

Here are the easy steps to foodscaping:

Put together a plan to get on the right track. 

Spend some time researching and visualizing.  You can even sketch a plan to help with measurements and inventory before you start purchasing plants and supplies.

As any experienced gardener will tell you, crafting a happy and healthy garden largely depends on what you do before a single seed is planted. Planning out the landscape, including considering the factors of your specific space, is key. It’s easy to get caught up in your vision of a “perfect garden” without ever determining whether it would survive and flourish in your space.

  • First, take a look at the space you’re planning to work with: how large is the available space, and where exactly do you envision adding plants?
  • If you live in a community that’s governed by a homeowner’s association, make sure you double-check the rules and regulations before beginning any work. 
  • Determine the levels of sun exposure, which will help you choose the right plants (usually, food crops require more sun than they do shade).
  • Don’t forget that you can try foodscaping by adding edible plants in between existing shrubs, the edge of a flowerbed, or just about anywhere else you have ground space. 
  • Think about how you want your garden to look: do you like a neatly-kept, minimalist style, or are you aiming for a garden overflowing with flowering plants, vegetables, and other eye-catching varieties?
  • For inexperienced gardeners, a landscaping professional might be a smart investment. Not only can they help you create a design you love, but they can also be an expert source for specifics such as scale, exposure, and more.

Plant things that you actually like eating.

Check out your plant hardiness zone to find out what you should be growing and when.  Farmer Almanacs are great sources for deciding which of your favorite foods to grow as well.  You can find these Almanacs in any grocery line while you wait for checkout.

One of the biggest rookie gardening mistakes is growing food that you don’t eat regularly. Take stock of your favorite produce and think about working some of those plants into your foodscape:

  • Make a quick list of five to seven vegetables, herbs, or fruits that you regularly find yourself reaching for on a weekly basis. 
  • After completing your list, research each of the plants and start narrowing down your options. Are there certain ones that aesthetically appeal to you more than others? Or perhaps you can rule out a few options simply based on your available space or climate.
  • Don’t be afraid to be adventurous (in moderation) and try something new! You may just discover that you absolutely love a certain herb or veggie, and end up bringing it back into your garden year after year.

Get your soil in shape.

Your soil health is a key factor for success.  Save time and money in the long run by spending time researching and applying nutritional soils to your garden before planting.

For most of us, our native soil isn’t necessarily in prime condition for planting. Depending on where you live, you might be working with soil that’s too rocky, devoid of nutrients, or far too acidic. But there’s good news: with a bit of effort and the right products, you can prepare your soil for foodscaping success:

  • Use a soil test kit to evaluate the native soil to know exactly where the soil is lacking. A good testing kit and a moisture meter will be your go-to tools for measuring pH, moisture, and nutrient ratios. 
  • Get rid of any debris, like old plant roots, dried leaves, and weeds. If you need to trim back existing plants to make enough room, now’s the time.
  • Prepare the soil to be the ideal foundation for a thriving foodscape by boosting it with a high-quality soil additive. Harvest Gold Organics® Premium Soil Conditioner is specifically formulated to provide excellent nutrition for all plants, support balanced water absorption, and fight pests and diseases. Our eco-friendly soil additive is completely chemical-free, giving you an all-natural option for more flavorful – and beautiful – plants. 

Start planting!

Finally, it’s time to begin planting. It’s typically ideal to direct-sow small seeds, though you can opt for seedlings or plants if you prefer. 

Finish off the job with mulch.

Mulching is should be a huge part of your home foodscaping.  Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it discourages weed growth and insect infestations. 
About a ½ inch of mulch is the sweet spot for most landscapes, hitting the sweet spot between moisture retention and weed prevention without attracting pests that like an ultra-deep, cushioned garden bed.

About a ½ inch of mulch is the sweet spot for most landscapes, hitting the sweet spot between moisture retention and weed prevention without attracting pests that like an ultra-deep, cushioned garden bed.

Create a Garden that Feeds Your Soul and Stomach with Help from Harvest Gold Organics®

Once you get into foodscaping, don’t be surprised if you never return to more “conventional” gardening methods – after all, it’s the perfect approach to grow beautiful and delicious plants!Make sure you start your foodscape garden on the right foot by ordering Harvest Gold Organics® Premium Soil Conditioner today!

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