DIY





Edible Landscaping: Grow $700 of Food in 100 Square Feet!

Americans would realize astonishing savings on their grocery bill if they set aside a small amount of land for edible landscaping instead of growing so much grass.

| December 2009/January 2010

In 2007, I began to get lots of questions about growing food to help save money. Then, while working on my new book, Edible Landscaping, I had an aha! moment. As I was assembling statistics to show the wastefulness of the American obsession with turf, I wondered what the productivity of just a small part of American lawns would be if they were planted with edibles instead of grass.

I wanted to pull together some figures to share with everyone, but calls to seed companies and online searches didn’t turn up any data for home harvest amounts — only figures for commercial agriculture. From experience, I knew those commercial numbers were much too low compared with what home gardeners can get. For example, home gardeners don’t toss out misshapen cucumbers and sunburned tomatoes. They pick greens by the leaf rather than the head, and harvests aren’t limited to two or three times a season.

For years, I’ve known that my California garden produces a lot. By late summer, my kitchen table overflows with tomatoes, peppers and squash; in spring and fall, it’s broccoli, lettuces and beets. But I’d never thought to quantify it. So I decided to grow a trial garden and tally up the harvests to get a rough idea of what some popular vegetables can produce.

The Objective

I took a 5-by-20-foot section of garden bed by my tiny lawn to see how much I could grow in just that 100 square feet. I wanted to produce a lot of food, and because it was part of my edible landscape, it had to look good, too.



The Plants

I wanted to make this garden simple — something anyone in the United States could grow. I didn’t include fancy vegetable varieties; I chose those available at my local nursery as transplants. I also selected vegetables that are expensive to buy at the supermarket, as well as varieties that my experience has told me produce high yields.

The first season (spring/summer 2008), I grew the following:

Elvis
1/5/2018 1:40:10 PM

I have a fresh juice shop and have started a garden on my terraces I have about 1000 sq ft of space and am planning on growing upwards also.. I want to produce as much as a can for the juice shop.. I have mango, avacado and pineapple started which will take me some years still to produce.. but what I am really excited about is the stuff I can produce now. I have cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, turmeric, parsley, coriander, mint, red bell pepper, strawberrys, celery, collards, broccoli, all started so far I have been using the plastic fruit trays that my fruit supplier delivers the produce to the shop in last summer I just threw them away cause he never wanted them back and I thought there must be some use for these. So yeah the idea was born. I have a utube channel "organic roof top farming algarve if anyone want to check out the progress so far. The shop is kind of slow now all the tourists are gone so I have time to build this amazing dream and hopefully drive my profits at the juice bar right up


Elvis
1/5/2018 1:40:08 PM

I have a fresh juice shop and have started a garden on my terraces I have about 1000 sq ft of space and am planning on growing upwards also.. I want to produce as much as a can for the juice shop.. I have mango, avacado and pineapple started which will take me some years still to produce.. but what I am really excited about is the stuff I can produce now. I have cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, turmeric, parsley, coriander, mint, red bell pepper, strawberrys, celery, collards, broccoli, all started so far I have been using the plastic fruit trays that my fruit supplier delivers the produce to the shop in last summer I just threw them away cause he never wanted them back and I thought there must be some use for these. So yeah the idea was born. I have a utube channel "organic roof top farming algarve if anyone want to check out the progress so far. The shop is kind of slow now all the tourists are gone so I have time to build this amazing dream and hopefully drive my profits at the juice bar right up


Lucia
2/4/2016 9:53:24 PM

What a great article, it'd be interesting to try and calculate how much I save too! I try and grow as much as possible. My husband made me a greenhouse out of old house windows which is great for starting all my seedlings. I currently have growing; cucumbers, capsicums, zucchini, spring onions, red onions, peas, corn, silver beet, rhubarb, chilies, basil, sage, parsley, tomatoes, and have started planting for winter now too! I love my garden, it helps me unwind and relax, everyone should have a garden even if its just a pot of herbs on the kitchen windowsill







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