Do you live in Severna Park and like gardening? Do you like eating healthy fruits and vegetables? If that’s the case then you should combine your hobby with your tastes and start an edible garden. An edible garden is a great way to distress, get in touch with nature, and practice healthy living. Evergreen Gene’s is here with a guide on starting an edible garden on your property.
1. Keep On The Sunny Side
The first step in starting an edible garden in Severna Park is to find where you get the most sun on your property. Most vegetables and fruit require the maximum amount of sunlight they can get. If you don’t know where you get the most light, start by checking on the south side of your property. Due to the tilt of the earth the south side of your property should get the most direct sunlight year round. If it’s shaded there, you will need to plant somewhere else, preferably on the east and west sides. Unfortunately, it’s normally easier to add shade then to remove it. So if you have shade and want sun you might need professional landscaping help.
2. Dig in The Dirt
Next to the amount of sun your plants get, the most important thing is the soil they’re planted in. There are three different soil options you can use for planting your fruit and vegetable garden. You can grow you fruits and vegetables in pots or containers. You can grow your fruit and vegetables in the ground of your property using your soil. Or you can construct a raised bed to plant your edible garden in.
Potted or Container Edible Garden
Growing your fruits and vegetables in pots or containers is a great if you’re new to edible gardening and want to small. Pots and containers are also good for starting an edible when you don’t have a lot of space, as in a city, or when your access to sunlight is limited and need to be creative about your plants placement. They have an additional advantage in that you can bring containers inside during the fall and winter if you want to keep the plant year round. The problem with using pots and containers is that using them your plants can only get so big and you can only plant so many.
In the Ground Edible Garden
If you want a larger edible garden then you’ll probably want to plant your fruits and vegetables directly into the soil of your property. After having found the spot in your yard where you get the most sunlight you’ll need to test the soil conditions to make sure they’re good for planting.
Addressing Soil’s Physical Properties
Begin by checking the soil’s physical conditions. Dig into the soil and check its consistency. Your soil should be dark and loamy, rich in organic matter, neither too dense nor too loose. If your soil’s dense and thick, like clay, it can be hard for toots to dig in and it doesn’t drain well. Dense soil can be addressed by tilling in gypsum that you can get from a garden supply store. The gypsum should cause the clay to become looser. If the soil is too loose and sandy, the roots can have trouble finding adequate purchase to hold onto, and water and nutrients can drain too quickly, in a process called leeching. In the case of loose sandy soil mixing in compost and fertilizer can help, but its effectiveness is normally short term as the nutrients can still be quickly leeched out of the soil. A long kept gardening secret to fix the problem of nutrients leaching in sandy soil is to add charcoal and ash into the soil. The charcoal and absorb nutrients so they don’t wash away and remain readily accessible to plants. If you mix in an inch of ash or charcoal into the top layer of your soil you will see immediate improvements. And by adding more every year, you can gradually increase the depth of your viable soil, and ensure long lasting benefits.
Addressing the Soil’s Chemical Properties
After having testing and addressing the physical properties you need to check the chemical properties of your soil. You can get a kit to test the chemical properties of your soil from most garden supply stores. The main chemical properties you’re concerned with are the pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels. Many vegetables and fruits prefer a pH in the range of 6-7. If your pH is lower, it can be raised with lime and wood ash. If your pH is higher then 7 it can be lowered by adding organic matter, sulfur, or sulfates. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (abbreviated as N-P-K respectively) are important macronutrients for your edible garden. You can adjust the soil levels of N-P-K depending on the types of vegetables and fruits you’re trying to grow, though, in general all vegetables and fruits can benefit from each of the nutrients.
Once you’ve finished testing the soil and know its physical and chemical properties and have adjusted them accordingly, you can prepare the garden plot. Remove any grass sod. Till and aerate the soil. And plan where you’ll plant things. The advantages of using your own soil is that you can make the garden as large as you want, the disadvantage is all the work you need to put into preparing and maintaining the soil conditions.
Raised Edible Garden Bed
If you don’t want to worry too much about the soil conditions, or want an edible garden with convenient access, you might build a raised garden bed. For a raised garden bed you may either build your own from scratch, buy a kit, or have professional landscapers install them. To build a bed a raised garden bed, all you need to do is essentially make four solid wooden walls, as high as you desire, anchor them in the ground, line the bottom and inside of the walls with landscaping fabric, and then fill the inside with gardening soil. A raised garden bed means a little extra work in the beginning, but adds convenience later on when you don’t need to bend over or kneel as much when you tend to the plants. A raised garden also helps prevent weeds, protect against some animals, and adds depth to your landscaping. The primary disadvantages are the initial extra work and expenses, and that to expand the garden your garden you need to add on or build more raised garden beds.
Picking the plants for your first edible garden can be a little bit daunting. If you’re not sure about what you want to plant, there are some easy to grow, but still delicious, vegetables and fruits you can try your green thumb out on. Lettuce, radishes, and snap peas all prefer the cooler temperatures of spring and fall and so are perfect to plant now. Tomatoes, beans, basil and squash all prefer the summer heat and sun, but they still need plenty of water. If none of these catch your eye then you can use USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map to find out what plants are good to grow in your area, and pick your favorites to grow.
Need Help with your Edible Garden?
Don’t just make your garden beautiful this year, make it delicious! Evergreen Gene’s offers professional landscape maintenance services in Pasadena and throughout the rest of Maryland. Our services include mowing, raking, sodding, fertilizing, mulching, pruning, and so much more. With our help, your landscape will look its best year-round.
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Evergreen Gene’s landscaping services are also available for commercial properties.
Want to learn more about the benefits of Professional Landscape Maintenance in Pasadena, Maryland? Visit Evergreen Gene’s at our Glen Burnie location on Crain Highway. Can’t make it out but still have a question? Not to worry; call us at 410.766.6877 or click here today.