What’s more flavorful than a fresh-from-the-garden organic tomato, plucked directly from the plant?
This summer, more than 43% of U.S. households will feast on the fruits, vegetables and herbs they’ve planted at home, according to a National Gardening Association survey.
Even if space is limited, you can design an edible garden. Many gardeners grow food in containers or mixed among flowers, shrubs and other ornamental plantings. All it takes is a little creativity.
Horticulturist Melinda Myers, author of Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening, mixes veggies with flowers in a container garden.
“One of my favorite combinations is ornamental corn, eggplant, tricolor sage, purple ruffle basil and trailing verbena,” she says. “For a quick burst of spring beauty and produce, I use Swiss chard as a vertical accent, add a few pansies—they are edible—colorful leaf lettuce or ornamental mustard, and a trailing ivy or two for aesthetics, not eating.”
While full sun provides the best results, you can grow edibles where sunshine is limited. Save the sunniest spot for plants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants or cucumbers, which produce well when grown in 8–12 hours of sunlight per day. Root crops like beets, radishes and carrots can get by with about half a day of direct sun, while leafy crops like lettuce and spinach can produce in a shady location with only 4 hours of sunlight.
Check seed packets and plant tags for details on how and when to plant each seed or transplant.
Photo courtesy of ARA