When it comes to starting an edible garden, one question that we always ask ourselves: where in your house do you start?
For most people, the answer is usually at the back of the home, often using old tin cans, paint containers or biscuit containers – whatever we can find lying around.
While creating an edible garden isn’t really for aesthetic purposes, it doesn’t have to be hidden from view at the back of the house. Instead, it can and should be up in the front lawn and given the prominence it deserves.
Though most herbs and vegetables are not ornamental in appearance, there is a natural beauty in food being grown. With some good planning and structure, you can have an orderly vegetable plot with its own unique charms. A little creativity and decoration can also enhance your plot.
In addition, the saying goes “out of sight, out of mind”. Placing your little plot up front and centre will likely motivate you to maintain it well, even if it’s just to keep up appearances to your neighbours.
At the end of the day, if it’s something you’d have to put in the effort for, you might as well proudly display it. Who knows, it may just spark a new trend in your area! And If suddenly you find yourself lost in planning your edible garden, of course you can always engage us to help with the planning and set up. Otherwise, we’re not stingy to share some tips on how to get started with your edible garden!😉
Getting down to it
First things first, to ensure that your garden plot grows well, a good location is key. Select an area that is exposed to the sun for most parts of the day, as most vegetables, fruits and herbs require a sunny spot.
Once you’ve identified the best area to start, the next step is to decide whether to plant directly into the ground or use a container. There are also a few types of containers to consider. For example, special tall planters (waist height) are good for the elderly or those with back problems. It is also convenient and tidy, allowing you to stand while you tend to the plants.
Whatever your choice is, consider also the aesthetic appearance. A good presentation adds to the sense of satisfaction and value to your edible garden.
3. Choosing your plants
Focus on a few choice plants to begin with rather than ambitiously planting everything at once. The risk of failure then is higher as different plants have different temperament and needs.
As mentioned before, start with hardy plants that you can use often and in multiples areas such as cooking, drinks, salad or desserts. In general, Pandan, curry leaf, lemongrass and Aloe Vera are great to start with.
After that you can move on to chili plants and leafy vegetables. If you have the space and are more experienced, plants such as Chili Padi and lady’s fingers are very suitable for our local palette.
When it comes to planting in small quantities at home, it is easier to use seedling plants rather than seeds, which are faster-growing and more guaranteed of growth.
Just like how the foundation of a house has to be strong, good soil is needed to succeed. Use organic natural compost, which can be bought from the nursery. Try to avoid using chemical fertilizers and opt for the organic ones. For the adventurous, you can also try making your own compost and fertilizers.
When it comes to pests and insects, the internet provides lots of recommended natural methods for getting rid of them. There are also natural products on the market that you can use. The main rule of thumb is to never use chemical pesticides in your home. It brings toxins into your house, affecting loved ones and even your neighbours!
Benefits that go beyond harvest
The last tip to keep in mind is to always make it fun! Having your own edible garden is a great way to involve children, to share the process of how food is grown and develop a renewed lifestyle habit.
In the bigger picture, you are creating a new legacy in your own small way. Our country’s food bill comes up to billions of ringgit as we import vegetables from overseas. As a nation, we are not self sustainable and that is a dangerous position. Having an edible garden at home is a good start in turning things around.
However, you don’t need such selfless motivations in order to start an edible plot. Just consider the extra pocket money which will come from saving in supermarkets.