Food is healthier, tastier and more satisfying when picked from your own farm or grown in your own garden. You get to eat food at freshest and choose the ones you exactly like too. Imagine growing some of your vegetables and sharing these with family or friends. The best reward is the pleasure of knowing they were grown in rich soil without chemicals or pesticides. But since not everyone can have the luxury of having their own little farm, here are some tips on starting your own Edible Garden.
1. Decide where you want to grow your vegetables. Whether you live in the lowlands or highlands will determine the kind of vegetables you can grow.
2. Ideally, a kitchen garden would be the best. It should be close to your kitchen door so it’s easy to just get what you need when you need it. If you don’t have enough space, you can grow your vegetables or herbs in between gaps in your flower beds or plant them in containers and grow them in bags. You can even use hanging baskets.
8. In the beginning, it would be good to plant several varieties of vegetables. Keep a journal and plan what seeds/plants go where. Note down what plants were resistant to pests, grew well with minimum organic fertilizer, or other aspects like taste, and storage. Take note of what worked so you know what varieties are best for you.
Lowland Vegetables you can plant (easy to take care of): Malunggay, squash, pechay, papaya, string beans, kangkong, camote tops, okra and leaf type lettuce,
Highland Vegetables you can plant (easy to take care of): cauliflower, mustard, brocolli, salad greens, chinese cabbage, radish, carrot, peas, beans, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper and the like.
9. Some vegetables can be bought from a garden center, already started. For example, you can buy herbs in pots.
10. Practice multiple cropping so you do not exhaust your soil. Multiple cropping allows for different plants with different needs to use the soil. Some plants may house beneficial insects, which the other plant needs to control pest. Multiple cropping also produces higher yields than monoculture.
Beans grow well with cucumber, early potato, lettuce and carrots.
Carrot grows well with peas, leaf lettuce, and chives. Sage, rosemary, onion and wormwood repel carrot fly.
Cucumbers grow well with corn, lettuce and celery. Radish and tansy repel cucumber beetle.
Lettuce grows well with carrots.
Peas grow well with radish, carrots, cucumbers, spinach, turnips and lettuce.
Potatoes grow well with beans and peas. You can repel potato bugs by putting a border of malunggay. Garlic and marigold also helps prevent blight in potatoes.
Tomatoes like basil and parsley. Garlic can combat tomato blight. Fava beans repel tomato wilt causing organisms.
11. Practice crop rotation. This means that you do not plant the same crop in the same area between two planting cycles. For example, you can start with Chinese Cabbage, Carrots and Baguio Beans. The next planting, rotate where you planted them. Note that leaf vegetables usually do well after a legume crop. Fruit vegetables often perform well after a leafy crop. Root vegetables grow well after a fruit crop.
12. Water when the top inch of soil is dry. For in ground crops you might have to water once or twice a week. Raised beds are faster and may require watering every day. Just make sure you don’t water too much so that the soil is lumpy when you hold it.
13. Remove weeds when you have them with a hoe or a fork to lightly stir the top inch of soil. Mulching is also good.
14. Fertilizing your crops through composting is best. (See How to Make Biodynamic Compost.) You do this every cropping cycle. We also hasten the decomposition of our compost by applying Biodynamic Preparation to the compost pit.
14. Harvest your produce when they are ready. Leaf lettuce can be picked as young as you like; snip some leaves and it will continue to grow and produce. The general rule: if it looks good enough to eat, it probably is. Give it a try. With some vegetables, the more you pick, the more the plant will produce.
15. Now, EAT.