From the town councils are enabled lots for neighbourhood associations or other civic entities to make use of them in order to create plots with gardens, and in particular both new people in the world of horticulture and others with more references, either because in childhood saw their parents or grandparents cultivate the land, or because they have always had a special sensitivity to plants, point with incipient interest to these new forms of cultivation designed to integrate into our busy lives.
Everything that is reborn tends to be reborn with more energy and in this particular case by doing it in a different environment than was usual, new ways and techniques are being created to understand and carry out horticulture. Within the new concepts and definitions of modern horticulture there is a definition that by itself seduces, are edible gardens.
Edible gardens can be said to be a new trend in urban landscaping where organic cultivation of all types of vegetables, fruits, aromatic herbs and flowers are combined with elements to encourage biodiversity. Everything with an aesthetic order that adapts to the conditions and spaces where the edible garden is going to be cultivated.
There are three fundamental steps to follow for the good beginning of the accomplishment of an edible garden that next, we will summarize, but before, a good first advice would be that you let yourself be advised by some friend, familiar or known that is cultivating a garden in the zone, is important all the information that you get from them, especially the one that refers to which types of cultures are given well in the zone and their calendar. If you are going to cultivate in a terrace or balcony it is perfect to have a neighbour who is already put in the matter, to let you suggest by him and to fix as he has organized his urban garden, it will be very inspiring to you at the time of organizing your space of culture. If none of the two previous conditions is fulfilled there are very good books of ecological horticulture and on the Internet is more and more numerous the information on the matter.
Step 1. The environmental and space conditions where you are going to cultivate the edible garden
We have to check the possibilities of the place where we are going to install the edible garden. Dimensions, solar orientation and hours of light would be the first thing that we have to fix, these three factors will determine the optimal location of our space of culture.
Water, fundamental, the more accessible and closer the better, the fewer facilities. It can be water from the urban network but if there is the possibility of getting it from a well or being able to install a rainwater tank much better, we will have quality water that has not been treated with chemical agents, in addition to saving on the water bill and the benefit to the environment.
In this initial step of planning just add that, no matter how much space we have, we make a garden to our measure and knowledge. Think that to cultivate an edible garden requires time, dedication and a lot of observation, better to begin with little and to go progressing, you already know that “who much includes….”.
Step 2. What we need to get a healthy and beautiful edible garden
The needs and care required for a healthy and beautiful edible garden are many and varied, and these result in different tasks and demands to which we must respond with appropriate products and materials.
We’ll start with the basics, the land where we’ll grow our plants. Here we have to differentiate between if we are going to cultivate directly on the ground or in flowerpots, flowerpots or other utensils for cultivation in terraces and balconies.
If the edible garden is located on a terrace or balcony then we only have to choose a good substrate 100% suitable for organic agriculture of balanced composition, stable and enriched with high organic matter content.
If, on the other hand, our crop is in direct contact with the soil we must balance the soil if necessary, if it is sandy or there is gravel we will add clayey soil, if the soil is heavy and clayey we will provide sand or perlite. Here are incorporated the tasks of tilling the soil, these can be manual or mechanical with a power tiller. It will also be necessary to enrich the soil with solid organic fertilizers ensuring at least 30 cm depth of fertile soil and worked, always leaving the surface well levelled and free of weeds and weeds.
Water is the essential good for any crop and much will depend on it the health of our urban garden, among the main functions of water, the most important is that it dissolves nutrients from the soil so that the roots of plants can absorb them. It has to provide enough, no more and no less can be as bad the excess of water as the lack of it. For it, different systems in the market will help us in its dosage as the irrigation by drip or the hoses of exudation.
Other multiple compliments will be needed to assemble the watering of our edible garden like taps, reductions, connections for distribution, elbows, clamps, plugs, etc. The practical irrigation programmers are also a good option to have the irrigation controlled, especially in summer since it will allow us to escape a few days without suffering for our plants.
In the culture in flowerpots and flowerpots, the options of irrigation mentioned are valid although always we can resort to some classic of the gardening as they are the watering machine and the hose.
They are essential for the soil in your garden to be rich in nutrients and indispensable for plants to develop their full potential. We must regularly fertilize the soil with 100% organic fertilizers, there are solids and liquids, the latter ideal for growing in pots and gardeners.
If we have a composter we can recycle the organic waste we generate at home and produce a quality compost for use in our edible garden.
The seeds or seeds when germinating produce the genesis of the new plant, they contain an embryo that when developed in the appropriate conditions will lead to the growth and maturation of the plant. Within the edible garden configuration, the types of plants that we choose will be decisive, we must take into account the space that they will occupy and the time that their cultivation will last, and of course their acclimatization to the environmental conditions plus the necessary irrigation.
In the edible garden fit all kinds of vegetables, fruits, flowers, aromatic plants, medicinal herbs, shrubs, etc.. The association of compatible cultures can finish making us decide between some or others, by systems of rotation of cultures also the plantation can be organized, these are very recommendable for the good regeneration of the earth of culture, although to be able to develop them will depend a lot on the dimensions of the space of culture.
Speaking of seeds, we must also bear in mind that most seeds do not germinate directly in the orchard, but we must germinate them previously in a seedbed or in a flowerpot if we want to accelerate the process we have the option of using mini-greenhouses.
On the other hand, if the germination process seems too complex, we always have the option of buying the ecological seedling ready for use, although in this case, we reduce a little the options to choose.
The tools we need for the maintenance of an edible garden are quite simple, apart from the tillage tasks for those who have the edible garden in direct contact with the soil the other tools we will need are small.
To plough the land we can use a power tiller, it will always facilitate this tiring task with an optimal result, if we do have no need to buy it, you can ask if we know someone who has one or rent it. For manual tillage with a big hoe and a small one, a rake, a gallows and a shovel should be enough, our back will also appreciate a wheelbarrow for the transport of sacks and earth.
For sowing and pruning, we will need a sowing meter that you can make yourselves, a weed, a trowel, a transplanter and pruning shears. For maintenance tasks such as weeding and soil removal, a small three-tooth rake is ideal. A watering machine, a sprayer, gloves, string and tutors or a good carrycot can also be very useful.
For plant pollination and ecological pest control nothing like good biodiversity in your edible garden. If we attract fauna to our crop will help us in these two fundamental tasks for the good progress of it. Hotels for insects or nest boxes for birds are a good aesthetic solution that will end up giving a nice and original look to our edible garden, but the most important thing is that there is a good variety of plants and flowers.
The biodiversity in our edible garden is essential for its natural functioning, so we have to pay special attention to urban gardens because their situation often lacks the flora and fauna that spontaneously occurs in the countryside.
Step 3. Design and planning of our edible garden
These are some of the questions that arise when we think of how to make an edible garden. Everything has a beginning and behind that beginning planning is necessary, therefore the first thing that we must have is our notebook of culture, where we will design our edible garden and we will write down all the steps, data and dates of the culture. Along with it, we can put in the same drawer a sowing calendar, if possible specific to your geographical area, and a lunar calendar that will help us to be more precise when sowing or transplanting and will tell us when it is more convenient to perform maintenance tasks.
A first question we would have to ask ourselves is, what is it that we like to eat at home and can be grown in our edible garden, with that premise we can already choose the part of the crop. Once we have verified that the chosen plants adapt to our geographical area, we have to find out the area that each plant will occupy when it becomes an adult and how long it will be in the soil from sowing to harvesting. With these two variables and knowing our crop area, we can begin to visualize how to distribute the crop and calculate the sowing cycle.
If the crop is on a terrace or balcony now will be the time to choose the planters, pots or cultivation tables where we will cultivate our edible garden. Nowadays there are different solutions to cultivate in terraces and balconies, the growing bags are especially suitable to adapt to a reduced space, and the innovative proposals in vertical gardens are an irresistible opportunity to be original and make the most of the space.
Another factor that can help us organize the edible garden is the botanical families to which each plant belongs, this factor is essential to take into account if we are going to develop a crop rotation system.
The association of compatible crops in both large and small growing spaces is an excellent option for configuring our edible garden while making the plants complement each other. Also combining crops with different growth rates can be very practical as we make good use of the space. Associating our vegetables with flowers, aromatic herbs and medicinal herbs will help in biological control, keeping pests away and attracting beneficial insects for our crop. They will also give colour and variety to our edible garden and make it look like an orchard.
When we have combined all these factors and installed irrigation we will have our edible garden up and running, the same optimization of our crop will give shape, the details and leave it to your imagination and creativity.
In the adventure of cultivating an edible garden, we will discover a whole culture and a way of living a healthy, sustainable and ecological life together with an infinity of sensations and dimensions that will surprise us and, in the best of the cases, will catch us.