Eat your garden: A guide to edibles

Phantom Screens / July 5, 2016

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Start enjoying nature’s bounty by planting your very own edible garden. There are a number of different tips and tricks for getting the best yield come harvest time: Certain plants are easier to grow than others, thus making them ideal starting points for beginners. Consider adding a beehive to your property to help with pollination and to enjoy your own homemade honey. Even backyard gardens can benefit from the addition of an edible plant through the proper use of containers. A little time and effort can produce a wonderful assortment of fruits and vegetables for the patient gardener.

Easy beginner plants

Some edible plants require far less tending than others. For example, salad greens are notoriously easy to grow. Make sure to plant them in partial shade, as direct hot sunlight can result in a bitter-tasting crop. Grow your very own personalized assortment of spinach, chervil, arugula and lettuce, and start enjoying a garden-fresh salad in no time.

Herbs are another type of edible plant that will grow with minimal gardener interference. In fact, certain herbs, like mint, are such quick growers that you should cultivate them in their own separate boxes to avoid a takeover in your garden. The notable exception is thyme, which is traditionally used as a ground cover as well as an edible plant.

One of the most popular garden edibles is the tomato plant. In fact, they have become so common that there is now an incredibly large list of different varietals available to purchase. You should do your research to choose a tomato seed that is well-adapted to the climate in which you live. In doing so, you will minimize the risk of your plant contracting a disease or becoming a victim to whitefly infestation. Consider introducing predatory bugs such as mantids for effective insect control.

Being able to eat delicious strawberries fresh from your garden will seem like a dream come true to some. Indeed, the taste of a freshly-picked fruit trumps that of those bought in a supermarket any day. Luckily, strawberry plants are fairly easy to grow – the most trouble you may have is trying to keep the birds away.

No fields, no problem

Many people think that growing an edible garden requires large expanses of land to be successful. The fact is that many edible plants can be grown suitably well in smaller pots and containers. Covered outdoor spaces such as patios and decks look great adorned with pots of cherry tomatoes or even a small Meyer lemon plant. When growing edibles such as tomatoes, peppers or even strawberries in pots, there are a few things to keep in mind: First, be on the lookout for proper irrigation. Pots are prone to drying out very quickly so be sure to maintain damp soil. You will also want to ensure your soil is nutrient rich and quick draining to prevent root rot and fungus growth. Be sure to throw a couple live worms into the mix for extra nutrient recycling.

Don’t forget the honey

Incorporating a honeybee colony into your garden may be just the thing to give your edible plants that extra boost. Honeybees are nature’s greatest pollinators so having a few around certainly can’t hurt. In addition, given the decline of bee populations, maintaining a beehive may be one of the best things you can do for the environment. The bees will pollinate plants for miles around and turn that pollen into honey and beeswax, which you can then go and harvest. While the benefits of backyard beekeeping are numerous, be sure you are prepared for the work that beekeeping involves. Hives require attentive care from beekeepers so don’t rush into anything you aren’t ready for.

Following these easy steps will result in enjoying your own freshly-grown produce in no time.