Edible landscaping is when you replace or add plants to your garden that only serve the purpose of being ornamental with food-producing plants such as fruits and berries. Doing so will create a multi-purpose garden that not only provides you with food but will also return your investment of water, fertilizer, and time.
Why should I add edible ornamental plants to my landscape?
Nutrition: With home-grown produce, you know exactly what you're getting. You're always guaranteed healthy and tasty produce and you never have to wonder whether your food was genetically altered or what toxic chemicals were used to grow it.
Reduced Food Cost: With gas prices skyrocketing and the cost of shipping fresh produce to the grocery store, it is becoming more and more economical to grow your own food at home.
Convenience: What could be more convenient than having fresh produce right outside your door? Not to mention, its a healthy and easy to access snack, which could encourage you and your family to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Fun and Exercise: Growing your own crops can be a fun and rewarding task! It gives you a reason to exercise and stay fit.
Now that you know the great benefits of edible landscaping, how do you even go about building one? Well, with a little hard work, commitment, and TLC, you can have your edible landscape producing in no time!
Variety: The first key to success in growing blueberries is choosing the right varieties. Blueberries produce bigger and better fruit when they can cross-pollinate with other varieties. At Country Junction, we have selected two choice blueberries perfect for the blueberry hedge: Blueray and Bluecrop. These two varieties grow 4-5 feet tall and are a favorite among many.
Soil: The second key to success is soil. For blueberries to thrive, the soil must be well aerated, moist, very high in humus, and—most important of all—very acidic. Measure the pH in advance and spread two pounds of elemental sulfur per hundred square feet of planting area for every point over five on the pH scale and till this into the bed with the compost. To finish it off, spread six inches of mulch over the planting area. It may seem crazy to you, but cool, moist, highly organic soil is what makes blueberries thrive.
Pruning: Pruning is optional. However, blueberry bushes that have not been pruned on an annual basis may become overgrown and less fruitful. Besides, its no more difficult than pruning a typical hedge. In fact, it may even be easier. To prune blueberries, remove any diseased or broken wood, plus crossing branches. You want the bush to have a narrow base and a wide, open top that allows sunlight and air in. If you desire to, you can even shear them into a normal hedge. The best time to prune blueberry bushes is late winter while they're still dorant.
If you do all this, you will likely be rich in blueberries for the rest of your life. However, if you just pop them in the ground and nurse them with fertilizers, acidifying agents, and pesticides every time they show distress, you're better off starting over. Blueberries are very picky about their soil and its very hard to bring them back once they've gone downhill. Also, you can count on birds taking a part of your harvest, so the best strategy is to plant twice of what you need and consider it a delicious, ornamental, wildlife hedge.