The term ‘edible gardens’ has always seemed some farfetched unpractical notion of garden planting, however the scope of choice of unusual edibles always surprises clients. Most of the time it is an educational journey into discovering new uses for existing plants and the discovery of new tastes and textures within the garden flower borders.
Some of the statistics on global food shortages are rarely conceived by world populations. The growths of human populations are rising at a rate unrivalled at any point in history which is dependent on a delicate system of fossil fuel energy, biodiversity destruction and soil degradation. A general model for a sustainable human existence on earth is; one man farming an acre of land organically and eating a vegetarian diet. This can sustain himself and a family of four that is with all the knowledge of preserving, storing, crop rotations and organic principles annually.
By Eating meat depending on what animals the less sustainable being beef and better sources coming from pigeons, rabbit and chicken eating meat is far less sustainable requiring on average five times as much land to produce a reoccurring food source.
The question is can the suburban and rural gardens of Buckinghamshire and surrounding counties put a local end to local food insecurity, possibly depending how much time you have and land you have access to. One thing is for sure learning about the issues of feeding the planet and the amazement of how much food can be grown in a small area introduces edible planting as a new, exciting, interactive garden element.
Perennial vegetables are quite underused in many gardens in my opinion. Some of our common perennial vegetables (come up every year) are very beautiful and can be used in planting schemes such as rhubarb, globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus and strawberries. Many herbs are also perennial and can easily incorporate into many landscaping projects. Mediterranean herbs such as Oregano, Thyme, Fennel, Sage and rosemary can be planted into dry gardens of rockeries and dry stone walled raised beds.
There are many shrubs that can be grown across the UK that may surprise you such as the Sichuan pepper and the American Paw Paw. There are many beautiful of these many from Russia and China. There are literally hundreds of edible shrubs with varying fruits and uses a full list can be accessed at Agro forestry UK or a planting design consultation from Buckinghamshire landscape gardeners with expert Paulo.
Fruit and nut trees can add a larder of extra food stuffs for the edible garden especially nut trees which are a good source of omega 3 and carbohydrate which store very well. Some of the species include; sweet chestnut, bladdernut, walnuts, pistachios and almonds the latter of which need more sheltered positions. Fruit trees can be grown in orchards or incorporated into forest gardens in each case try to allow and open canopy so edibles can be grown at ground level. This forest type of edible forest garden can create beautiful gardens which increase wildlife. If you are interested on food systems which integrate with natural ecology you can research Permaculture at length on the internet and there are many books on the subject.
If you are thinking of planning a edible planting scheme or forest garden into your landscaped garden scheme please do not hesitate to contact Buckinghamshire landscape gardens for consultation or a detailed planting design plan.