Recently I was invited to write a guest post at Fiftyisthenewforty.com about edible gardening and how to easily grow organic produce. The benefits of eating organic vegetables are immeasurable, it makes sense that more and more people are interested in eating healthy and having a direct hand in the food’s growing process. Trucking to the farmer’s market each week can be taxing on many folks schedules; with organic strategies and shortcuts we can make growing vegetables and herbs at home accessible, easy and oh-so affordable.
I often encourage my clients to use a raised bed when we’re planning an edible garden, as this can potentially eliminate every issue imaginable, when combined with other organic methods. In raised beds we get absolute control over our soil content. We can add organic soils, decomposed manures and compost; when organic vegetable starts are plugged into this rich, nutrient dense strata they blow up like the proverbial Beanstalk.
Vertical gardening and companion planting are two other methods that facilitate successful raised bed edible gardening. When plants are allowed to grow up- to climb a trellis, ladder, soccer goal, wooden pallet or any strata that will house vertical growth- we get a larger net harvest. Because most annual vegetables just want to keep growing up. Companion planting is the quintessential piece of organic garden planting strategy that makes edible gardening much easier. Time tested companion planting wisdom often prevents garden problems before they even surface; by attracting predator and pollinator insects that assist in vegetable plant’s safety and pollination. Many pungent herbs are a turn off for pest insects, for example, I find Borage and Nasturtium to be necessary in companion planting. Both attract “good” insects and stave off pesty ones. There are other successful coupling models, like Tomatoes and Basil to name one couple. When planted in close proximity to each other, Basil protects Tomato plants from the dreaded Tomato Hornworm. The two plants also improve each other’s flavor. There are hundreds of similar relationships, learning about companion planting is traditionally beautiful.