Edible Gardens

A forum for problem solving and exchanging ideas and knowledge related to the edible garden. Now includes sub-forum for sharing recipes and other ideas for using produce.

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Edible Gardens

Postby Modesty » Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:41 pm

Has anyone seen the shows on tv where all the garden is edible? Anyone actually doing it?

i have tried putting veg in with other plants, but have trouble with different watering regimes. However I have a perennial onion bed, some self sowing red spinach and radish and garlic everywhere as a start.

Some of the tv gardens look suspiciously like they have just been crammed in the ground, so would be interested if anyone is doing it.

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Postby Luzy » Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:49 pm

I don't think that many of those 'television' shows would know how to do it! - a totally edible garden, I mean. That lasts for more than 30 minutes. :roll:
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Postby staceyjoans » Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:25 pm

My garden is mostly fragrant or edible or both! there is such an enormous variety to chose from that ive now ran out of room :?

I dont have a typical vegie garden or flower bed (apart from a small plot where my carrots and spring onions go to avoid getting lost).
I grow tomatoes in amongst my annuals and herbs amongst everything else!
snow peas look fantastic covering the fruit trees and dont do any damage.
My brocolli, rainbow silverbeet & brussel sprouts also seem to grow better and produce more when 'lumped in' together!
lots of self seeding goes on like this too and tomatoes end up everywhere! The best part about an edible garden though, i think, is the appeal that it has on my kids. they will eat any vegie if its fresh from the garden, with no blackmail required! :lol:
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Postby kitkat » Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:36 pm

Edible gardens are not a new phenomena but the media are just now catching on I think. In the "old days" most gardening ewas for food only, and we are just beginning to take notice that they did know what they were about aren't we?
I mix edible gardening with soul food , flowers and vegies go together , a lot of the flowers can be added to salads too , like nasturtiums, calendulas, borage etc.
With the big dry biting hard this year I am going to alter my gardening methods somewhat and only plant dry garden plants out fronyt instead of a vegie. shrub mix.Eventually it will have to survive without watering even in Summer.
Out back I'll have vegies, flowers and fruit all confined in an area around the pond to increase the humidity a little in our dry Summers.Atleast that is the plan. All gardens are food , for body or soul IMHO :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Ann » Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:49 am

Is it Heronswood :?: That's where Diggers have theirs and I've seen it before, but the most recent show with Clive Blazely had even more emphasis on the edible side.
I'm a bit like Bruce's spider; try, try, try again. Sonas, Ann
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Postby kitkat » Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:18 pm

Yes Anne Clive Blazey had a topic on his new edible gardens at Heronswood in his new Diggers catalogue. He is ripping out water hungry plants and planting an edible garden with fruits, bushfoods and vegies as borders,hedges and full beds.
Italian parsley makes a great border for the vegie garden , hardier and easier to grow than curled parsley and self seeds for next year too.
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Postby Modesty » Mon Jun 26, 2006 10:05 am

yes, i was keen on the parsley border, but bought some curled as that always self seeds for me. I find the other gets a bit strong and grassy tasting.

i just have trouble with veg needing a lot more water than other things. I was keen on those coloured kale- has anyone eaten them?

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Postby Ann » Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:44 am

Like Peter Cundall said about turnips, kale tastes far better when it's been frosted. :D My father left it till frosts in Scotland. :D
I'm a bit like Bruce's spider; try, try, try again. Sonas, Ann
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Postby cordelia » Tue Jun 27, 2006 3:50 am

I have had a mainly edible garden, but have learned to NOT put bulbs of any sort in with veges or edible flowers....so I have a small dedicated bulb bed, and the rest muddle in with the bird/bee food native nectar bushes or under fruit trees....and the ones that do best are under the blackberries, which doesn't give a very easy view of them.
My brother in Eden managed to have enough fruit for himself and four energetic children every day of the year....which I found very impressive!
Are you familiar with Permaculture? It is a concept made popular and manageable by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison, and is definitely worth a bit of study.
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Postby Ann » Tue Jun 27, 2006 11:55 am

I remember when Bill Mollison started permaculture. In some ways, the "English" garden was something the same where fruits, flowers and herbs were grown together. :D Experience is always the best teacher :lol: Josh Byrne is the permaculrure expert here in the waes in Fremantle :D
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Postby Luzy » Tue Jun 27, 2006 7:45 pm

I've often wondered about 'Permaculture', cordelia, as it seems to be touted as a separate kind of gardening these days, and often along with a big soapbox. My opinion only, as to how it's perceived.

When I first heard the word, I thought that that's how gardening was done in the country, many years ago - with lots of recycling and reusing, placement of herbs, vegies and flowers for the best use and enjoyment, and utilising the resources without abusing them. I would imagine that most gardens these days are far removed from that idea - and that it would take a lot to change things.

But there's also a lot to be said for the principles of permaculture - your brother is a great example! I reckon that we can all learn a lot from it, so I'll probably be starting a bit of a study... I am sure that there's lots to learn. :D :D
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Postby cordelia » Tue Jun 27, 2006 11:14 pm

Good idea, Luzy, to have a look. One of the amazing things about permaculture is that you can create different micro-climates, as one does a bit in the garden anyway...like creating damp spots and using sunny spots, but esp in a large bit of land you can manipulate not only sun and shade, but also how the winds and breezes flow, and you can create warmer areas by making "cubbies" with trees and shrubs that will protect to a degree from frost, or ditto with humidity, etc. And of course you can make areas of different soil types. Quite magic, when you see an established permaculture garden.
Let us know what inspires you!
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Postby Luzy » Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:41 pm

Thanks, coredlia - so far what has inspired me is your easy-going attitude toward it! I'll still be heading for a bit of research.

I did also mean to ask why you don't put bulbs of any sort in with vegies or edible flowers? (And is that bulbs, as in daffodils and the like, or bulbs in general like garlic as well?)
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Postby Modesty » Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:00 am

I have just finished reading one of Bill Mollisons early books, and some things are interesting, I was a bit concerned by the number of introduced plants which if people followed the book, would have taken over the gardens by now.

I plant garlic everywhere, I think bulbs are better in certain places just because it stops you digging them back up once they are forgotten, or confused with something edible. Hard to believe, but a few people have eaten daffodils thinking they are onions and ended up pretty sick.

It certainly seems full on doing the whole permaculture bit, a big investment not to mention a lifestyle change with the house surrounded by hothouses, fish ponds etc.

I remember reading about Inca gardens- someone studying peasant agriculture, and it was pretty similar, all sorts of veg growing together. such as beans up corn stalks etc.

sounds like I have left it too late for kale, maybe next year I'll be geared up for it.

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Postby cordelia » Fri Jun 30, 2006 2:43 am

Dear Luzy,
Nothing cosmic about keeping bulbs separate, but (as modesty mentioned) it is easy to eat them by mistake, and some of them are very toxic. I'm happy to have garlic almost everywhere except with peas and beans (they hate it, and don't grow as well).

Companion planting is very useful...used in pemaculture but a bit easier to get your head around. The basic principle is to grow together things that like to grow together, and don't the things that don't like each other.
There are a few different reasons for the'like' or 'dislike'. Putting legumes with heavy nitrogen feeders such as green leafy things, or corn, is good. Some things shade other things, such as pumpkin vines on the ground sheltering the surface roots of corn..which is why the corn/beans/pumpkin trio is good.

Some things such as calendula or garlic exude chemicals into the soil that deter bugs such as viruse, fungi, bacteria, aphis, nematodes, etc., hence calendula with carrots, garlic around roses, tansy(which is far too feral for me) around apple trees. Some things have complementary feeding needs, such as surface feeders and deep feeders, so you can put them together. Other things juat like the same sort of specialist soils, such as limey or acidic.

Modesty... yes, it can be a whole lifestyle system and all-anveloping, though once established takes surprisingly littl brain to maintain, but for the less ambitious (or, like me, the more haphazard) there are still lots of odds and ends that can be done to make things more productive for less input.

I find it quite fun to just read other people,s efforts, and when I come across something useful or exciting that feels within my power to do, I do it, and see how it goes. I personally want my garden to be a pleasure at least most of the time, so I don't stress about always doing the best perfectly.

When I was on 2 acres, and started from paddock and road I did a lot of the permaculture stuff, before the book was written. It was a great joy to plan and do things, and see the benefit really quickly, because (even though of course it was a lot of work) everything we did had about 10 different good functions...felt as though we got a lot for nothing.

I think I work far harder for less produce and flower in my suburban garden than I did on my little farm, which constantly fed at least a dozen people.
Anyway, enough rave...I just love all the different things people do with a similar array of soils and seeds!
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Postby Modesty » Fri Jun 30, 2006 10:44 am

cordelia,
I agree, I think a suburban garden can be more work than a small acreage, with far less eating results! I too liked the idea of one thing performing different functions. This summer I am going to plant an area under the fruit trees with insect attracting perennial plants (umbelliferous like dill and queen annes lace, sweet alice and a few others) and see how that goes.

There are some older books written by people that have done the total self supporting thing for a few years, some I found in the library from the fifties and older were interesting and a window into a strange and vanished world. I found them in the self sufficient section.

Companion gardening is interesting, maybe a new thread?

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Postby kitkat » Sat Jul 01, 2006 3:15 pm

This thread and the whole permaculture subject fits well into the Sustainable gardening forum ,Will anyone mind if I move it to there? Just trying to keep subjects where they fit best but it's not earth shattering to leave it here of course.
Companion planting would fit well there too.
Permaculture has been going strong for many years now and in Australia Grass Roots and Earth Garden magazines have a lot of info if anyone want to study it in more depth , a bit easier to understand for the gardener themselves than from Holmgren who is very technical, Bill Mollison's first book is a great start but has to be changed to suit your own garden and lifestyle of course.
The basic idea is that nothing is planted unless it has more than one use (eg food, shade, mulch, fodder, honey for bees etc) and nothing is added that hasn't lived and eventually the cycle would be closed so that what you take out of the garden is replaced by it, Chooks are a fundamental part of permaculture as they add the manure, food, and also some weed control.

That doesn't mean that everything should be edible but most is , for food, Fodder for animals, chooks etc,and sometimes for wild birds too.Controlled Water usage and mulching are foundation stones that the whole garden is built around. It's a great way to garden and even dry areas like mine can benefit in a few years, Bill Mollison has done a lot of work in desert communities with some good results.
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